A couple years back, when I saw my first post from eLearning Heroes about making your own symbols and pictures using shapes in PowerPoint, I was fairly unimpressed. I figured I could just use clipart or if I really needed, check for paid stock imagery that would get the job done. Then I worked out that a) I didn’t have a budget for stock imagery, and b) there were plenty of symbols and icons on clipart, but not necessarily collected nicely together, and in the style I wanted. So I started building them myself.
Start by getting yourself sorted with the ‘combine shapes’ tool on your ribbon (find out about that here) and then take some time to play around with the tool and see the difference between shape union and shape combine. Shape subtract is great, but if it goes awry on you, just Control+Z!
Here’s a few things I find helpful when I’m making custom shapes and icons:
GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND Sometimes, I find it helps to google image search for what I’m trying to make and deconstruct the shape from there.
DUPE, DUPE, DUPE Duplicate your shapes before combining. This way, if the combine doesn’t quite look right, you still have your original shapes to rejig then dupe and combine again – you can compare different combined custom shapes until you get it right.
BUILD BIG Make your icons in a large form, then group and minimise using your shift key to constrain the shape. Boom.
I recently made a series of lunch food icons for a resource I was making for a client. I reckon they’re pretty great – and all made in PowerPoint!