Creating an Icon inspired by Instagram in Inkscape

If you are active on social media, then you should be no stranger to Instagram, one of the most popular photo and video-sharing social networking services. Recently, Instagram has updated their icon design, incorporating a simple outline of a camera and a rainbow background in gradient form.

In this tutorial, you will create something similar using simple shapes and the Gradient tool, but with an envelope instead of a camera.

In this tutorial, the Inkscape version used is 0.91



Let’s start by using the Rectangle tool to create a rectangle for the outline for the envelope. The rectangle should only have a stroke and no fill, and the width should be around 1.25 times of the height.

Creating a Rectangle


Once done, take a look at the Tool Controls bar located near the top of the interface. Besides the height and width, there are 2 more parameters: Rx and Ry. Adjusting these values allows you to control roundedness of the corners of the rectangle. Experiment with the values until you get something similar to this:

Adjusting the Rx and Ry Values


Next, we will use the Bezier tool to draw out the rest of the envelope. For the fold, the process is slightly complicated. You will first need 4 nodes make something similar to an inverted triangle with the top cut off. Shift the nodes using the arrow keys until you are satisfied with the result.

Making the Fold


Click on the line segment between the middle 2 nodes with the Node tool, and drag downwards slightly. Select the same 2 nodes again and Make Selected Nodes Smooth. Notice how the fold is now rounded in the middle, but straight on either side. You can further adjust the curve using the handles. This trick is a great way to make any corner rounded in Inkscape.

Moving the Line Segment Downwards
Rounding the Corner
Finishing the Fold


The lines are a bit thin at the moment, so let’s fix that. Select all the lines, go to the Fill and Stroke dialog, and adjust the Stroke width until they are about as thick as the example below. After that’s done, group them together using CTRL + G and change the stroke to white. It’s a good idea to have a dark background in place so you can see the envelope.

Making the Lines Thick


Let’s move on to the background. Select the Rectangle tool and hold down CTRL to create a square. Similar to the envelope, make the corners rounded by adjusting the Rx and Ry values in the Tool Controls bar. After that, remove any stroke if present before filling it in with any color.

Creating a Rounded Square


Select the Gradient tool and take a look at the Tool Controls bar. You will see two types for gradient (radial and linear), as well as the option to apply the gradient on either the fill or stroke. Here, you will be starting with a linear gradient on the fill. Click on the bottom left corner of the rounded square, and then double click on the upper right corner to create a two-color gradient.

With the Fill and Stroke dialog opened, click on the bottom left node (also called the starting node) and change the RGBA for the fill to F9ED32FF. For the top right node, change it to EE2A7BFF. You will get a nice yellow-to-pink gradient. Also, you can move the nodes around to adjust how much of each color is in the gradient.

Making a Gradient
Changing the Colors


Make a duplicate of the rounded square and create another gradient, starting with 002AFFFF on the top right corner and EE2A7BFF on the bottom left corner. However, this time you will have to reduce the opacity of the pink color to 0. Move the nodes until you get something like this:

Making the Second Gradient


Click on the starting node, go to the Tool Controls bar and Insert New Stop. A new node will be added to the middle of the gradient line. Select it and change the RGBA to 9C2EA6FF. What you should see is a subtle blue-to-violet transition:

Finishing the Background Colors

That’s about it. Use Page Up to shift the envelope above the background. You might also need to scale the envelope with the Select tool (remember to hold down CTRL so you keep its aspect ratio), so it fits nicely within the background. Finally, go to the Align and Distribution dialog to align both shapes vertically and horizontally.

The Final Result

Well done! You have just created an icon in Inkscape inspired by Instagram’s. Don’t be afraid to play around with the Gradient tool and see what kinds of gradients you can come up with.

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