Create a Set of Web Buttons

In this Graphic tutorial we will create a set of web buttons. Using the techniques in this tutorial you can quickly create a large variety of button styles and change their appearance easily.

Step 1 - Create a New Document

For this tutorial we'll create a new 890 x 500 pixel document. Choose File > New (Command + N) to bring up the 'New Document' panel. Set the document units to pixels, and the document dimensions to 890 pixels wide by 500 pixels high.

Step 2 - Customize the Grid

To easily create and position uniform button shapes we can first set up our document's grid. Switch to the Grid pane in theProperties panel. Change the X Spacing and Y Spacing to 10 px and enable Snap to Grid (Shift + Command + ').

Step 3 - Draw the Button Shape

Select the Rounded Rect Tool (Shift-M) from the toolbar. The corner radius used when creating rounded rectangles can be set from the tool options bar directly above the canvas area. Set the corner radius to 6pt and draw a rounded rectangle with awidth of 210 px and a height of 40 px.

Step 4 - Set the Fill and Stroke Styles

With the rounded rectangle shape selected, switch to the Effects pane in the Appearance panel to customize its stroke and fill settings. Click on the color well of the Fill item to change the button's fill color. From the RGB color picker, choose R: 0 G: 144 B: 255 A: 100%.
Click on the Stroke color well and change the stroke color to 50% transparent black, R: 0 G: 0 B: 0 A: 50%. Next, click on the Stroke item to view and edit the stroke settings. Set the stroke width to 1 pt and the position setting to Outside.

Step 5 - Add a Second Fill

To give the button some depth we're going to add a second fill with a semi-transparent gradient. Click on the '+' button at the bottom of the panel and choose 'Fill' from the popup menu to add another fill on the button shape.
Items in the Effects pane can be re-ordered using drag and drop. Click and drag the new fill item to place it directly under the first fill. This new order will cause the second fill to draw directly after the first fill, rather than after the stroke.
Note: in this case the visual appearance doesn't change since the stroke is positioned outside of the path, however if the stroke was positioned inside or centered the second fill would now appear under the stroke rather than on top of it.

Step 6 - Set the Gradient Fill

To change the second fill to a gradient click on the item in the Effects pane to view its settings and choose Linear Gradient from the Type popup. Change the gradient angle to 90˚ to rotate the gradient to draw from the bottom to the top of the button. Click on the left gradient bar color and set the bottom color to R: 0 G: 0 B: 0 A: 20%. Click on the right gradient bar color and set the top color to R: 255 G: 255 B: 255 A: 20%.

Step 7 - Set a Drop Shadow

Next, we'll add a slight drop shadow to the button. Click on the check box next to the Drop Shadow item in Effects pane to enable the effect. Click on the drop shadow's color well and change the shadow color to 35% transparent black, R: 0 G: 0 B: 0 A: 35%. Click on the Drop Shadow item to view and edit its settings. Set the offset to X: 0 pt and Y: 1 pt to position the shadow slightly below the button. Set the blur size to 2 pt and turn off the 'Clip shadow…' setting.

Step 8 - Set the Top Inner Border

To add a highlight at the top of button we're going to use the inner shadow effect. Click on the check box next to the Inner Shadow item in Effects pane to enable the effect. Click on the inner shadow's color well and change the color to 50% transparent white, R: 255 G: 255 B: 255 A: 50%. From the inner shadow's settings pane, set the offset to X: 0 pt and Y: 2 pt and set the blur size to 0 pt. Also, set the blend mode to Overlay. This will create a solid light-colored line bordering the top of the button.

Step 9 - Set the Bottom Inner Border

To create a dark highlight at the bottom of the button we're going to add another Inner Shadow effect and repeat the steps from before. Click on the '+' button at the bottom of the panel and choose 'Inner Shadow' from the popup menu to add another inner shadow to the button shape.
Click on the inner shadow's color well and change the color to 15% transparent black, R: 0 G: 0 B: 0 A: 15%. From the inner shadow's settings pane, set the offset to X: 0 pt and Y: -2 pt and set the blur size to 0 pt. This time we'll keep the blend modeset to Normal. This will create a solid dark-colored line bordering the bottom of the button. The screenshot below shows the full effects stack applied to the button.

Step 10 - Add the Text Label

Select the Text Tool (T) from the toolbar and click and drag a text area centered on top of the button. From the text options bar, choose the font Helvetica, style Bold, and font size of 16 pt. Set the text color to white and change the text alignment tocentered. Type the button's text in the text area.

Step 11 - Set the Text Shadow

With the text object selected, enable the drop shadow effect by clicking on the checkbox next to it in the Effects pane. Click on the drop shadow's color well and change the shadow color to black, R: 0 G: 0 B: 0 A: 100%. Click on the Drop Shadow item to view and edit its settings. Set the offset to X: 0 pt and Y: -1 pt and set the blur size to 0 pt.

Step 12 - Create the Pressed State Button

Next, we'll create a copy of the button for a pressed state version. Switch to the Move Tool (V) and select both the button and text label using the shift key, or by dragging a selection area. You can duplicate the button by using the copy and paste commands or by option-dragging the selection.
After duplicating, move the second button next to first. To create the pressed state, now select only the second button's shape (without the text label) and view the gradient fill settings in the Effects pane. Click on the reverse gradient button and voila, a pressed button… it's that easy.

Step 13 - Change Button Colors

Creating alternate versions of our button in different colors is just as easy as creating the pressed state... all we need to do is change one setting, the first fill color. Since all of the other effects are applied on top of this base color, this is the only setting we need to change to create a variety of different colored buttons.

Step 14 - More Button Shapes

Using the effects stack we've created as a base style, you can create many different types of buttons. For example, using a larger corner radius with the Rounded Rect Tool you can create capsule shaped buttons. To apply a style from one shape to another shape you can use the Copy Style (Option-Shift-C) / Paste Style (Option-Shift-V) commands.

Finished Design

Congratulations, you've finished the tutorial!

Graphic File: WebButtons.idraw