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How to add an icon

Finding an icon#

  1. Make sure the icon you need doesn’t already exist in our icon list.
  2. If the icon can be used for a similar use case to yours in multiple products ("UI icon"), find a new icon by searching through the Streamline applink takes you to an external page. If the icon needs to be reserved for use in your product only ("logo icon"), please request one from our Brand teamlink takes you to an external page.
  3. Create a GitHub discussionlink takes you to an external page with:
    1. A link or screenshot of the icon
    2. A brief explanation or mockup of what you'll need it for
    3. Whether this icon is a logo icon or a UI icon.
  4. We'll discuss in GitHub if the icon should be added to Paste.
    1. If the icon will be added to Paste, create a branch in the "Paste components" Abstract projectlink takes you to an external page.
    2. If the icon won’t be added to Paste, create a branch in your own Abstract project and skip to Using a Streamline icon.

Setting up an icon in Paste Icons#

Written for Sketch 67.2

  1. Open "icons.sketch".
  2. Go to the page "Symbols".
  3. Duplicate the empty template artboard "IconNamelink takes you to an external page".
  4. Group the new artboard in the section that fits its use case (e.g. a "filter" icon would belong in the "actions" section). Make sure the new artboard is aligned evenly on the canvas with the existing icon artboards.
  5. Turn the new artboard into a symbol.
  6. In the artboard name, replace "IconName" with the name of your icon. Follow the naming pattern of the existing icon artboards in that section (e.g. "action/Filter").

How to name icon artboards in Sketch

Use PascalCase. For an interface icon, give the icon a name that describes its purpose rather than its content. For example, "LinkExternal" instead of "ArrowUpRight".

If you're adding a logo icon or an icon used to brand a product feature, name it "product/[ProductName][SubproductName (optional)]". For example: "product/CodeExchangeCommunity".

Using a Streamline icon#

  1. Copy and paste the Streamline icon onto your icon artboard.
  2. Select all the layers and make sure the border width is 1.
  3. Select the layer group. Lock the width-height aspect ratio. If the icon appears larger than the bounds of the artboard, shrink the icon down so that it's visually aligned with our default text size. Use the "icon tester" artboard on the Icon tester page in the Sketch file to help. Resizing the icon to 16–18 px usually works.
  4. Duplicate the layer group. Rename the original group to "source" and hide it.
  5. Ungroup the new layer group. You’ll be working with these layers. Sample layer groups

Formatting an icon#

  1. Convert your icons to outlines so that the width of the lines stay consistent.
    1. Select all the layers and press "OPTION + COMMAND + O", or use Sketch's menu, "Layer > Convert to Outlines".
    2. Make sure each layer now has a fill and not a stroke.
  2. Create a union with all the pieces of your icon. This will merge individual pieces together to create one shape. You can find the Union tool in Sketch's toolbar at the top or go to "Layer > Combine > Union".
  3. Apply the layer style "icon/color-text-icon" from one of the Paste themes to the combined shape. In the layer list, you should only have this shape and the hidden "source" group.
  4. Rename the combined shape to the icon name in lowercase with spaces (e.g., "link external").
  5. Make sure the icon is centered on the artboard both vertically and horizontally. If you’re working with an asymmetric shape, you might need to adjust it manually to make sure it’s optically centeredlink takes you to an external page. For example, you might need to move a "play" icon a bit right-of-center to account for the low visual weight on its right side.
  6. Make sure there are no transforms on the shape. If there are, go to "Layer > Combine > Flatten". Number of transforms preview
  7. Rename the layers to "icon".

Exporting the icon#

  1. Make sure you have the SVGO compressor Sketch pluginlink takes you to an external page installed.
  2. Export the icon artboard (not the combined shape) as an SVG. The template artboard is already set up to do this.
  3. Make sure the SVG code is clean:
    1. You shouldn’t see id. If you do, make sure the SVGO compressor plugin is properly installed.
    2. You shouldn’t see transform. If you do, flatten your shape.
    3. You should see width=”20" height="20". If you don’t, check that the artboard you’re exporting is 20px × 20px and that you’re exporting the artboard, not the layer.
  4. If you're adding a logo icon, add the word "Product" to the beginning of the SVG file name. For example: "ProductCodeExchangeCommunity".
  5. Commit your changes in Abstract and request a review from the Paste design team.

Adding the icon to the Paste repository#

Once the icon is designed and exported, we need to get it in the hands of our developers. There are two ways for icons to be added into the @twilio-paste/icons code package:

  1. You can file an issue on Githublink takes you to an external page providing all the information you have about the icon. Ideally, this issue would attach the SVG icon generated in the above steps. This method is hands-off, but comes at the cost of needing to wait between 2 to 6 weeks for us to plan and execute on the work.
  2. Alternatively, you can open a Pull Request (PR) on our repository with the required changes. This self-service approach would greatly speed up the process of getting your icon into the Paste package because it bypasses our team's sprint practices.

Self-service instructions#

  1. Fork the Paste repository because PRs can only be open against forks and not branches for security reasons.
  2. Clone your newly forked Paste repository: git clone <url>
  3. Navigate inside the newly cloned repository with cd paste
  4. Install the dependencies with yarn install
  5. Add all the new svg icon files into the packages/paste-icons/svg/ folder.
  6. From the root Paste folder, run the following command in your terminal: yarn workspace @twilio-paste/icons convert
  7. Verify your new icons were added correctly by checking the packages/paste-icons/src folder to see the newly created source files.
  8. Commit your changes and submit a new PR on Github!


If you run into any issues with creating your icon, double check you've followed all the steps. In the past, we've seen icons that had small artifacts or missing pieces because of the order of layers within a combined shape or union. Try moving layers around to get the shape you need, or flattening the icon shape layer.

Get in touch with the Paste team through Slack at #help-design-system.

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