For the past few days, whenever I could find time I have been working on putting together a simple tutorial that will show you how to create a logo for my feature post “Heads Up Seven Up” Blogroll. The logo was created with Adobe Illustrator, which is a bit of a specialized illustration program. The reason I choose to use Illustrator for something like this is that it creates vector graphics, which is quite different from Photoshop with creates bitmap graphics. With vector graphics you can shrink, enlarge, twist and shape the images without messing up the quality of the image. I can also import the file created in Illustrator right into Photoshop to create a smaller image for web!

There are many vector drawing programs available that offer similar features like Illustrator ($599) and are a “little less expensive” too. Corel Draw and Adobe Fireworks come to mind first and foremost, but Corel Draw carries a hefty $429 price tag. Fireworks while still pricey at $149 is the next best option. The great thing about Fireworks is you can edit both vector and bitmap images. I did find another vector program that is free called DrawPlus; I haven’t used it, but it doesn’t look to bad. If you’re a student and want to purchase any type of software I suggest searching Google for “student discounted software”. With all of that out of the way let’s check out the tutorial.

Logo Tagline Tutorial
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Find Your Graphic Element
For this logo the title said it all. I had to find a cool 7-UP graphic to use as the main focus of my logo. I was able to find a really cool and colorful version of the 7Up logo on brandsoftheworld.com. Once you’ve found a suitable logo to work with open it up in Illustrator to begin working on your new artwork.

STEP ONE: The first step in this tutorial after we’ve opened the logo is to fine the typestyle that we want to use. For me I wanted it to be kind of cartoony, so I chose Komika Poster. Layout your text on the page. You’ll want to make sure that it fits where you want, and that the size is suitable for your needs. If you’ve ever used any word processing software they are very similar to how Illustrator handles text. For your reference, each one of the images contained in this tutorial can be clicked to open larger images.

STEP TWO: The standard Komika Poster isn’t very stunning on it’s own, so I wanted to make it look more italic. Unfortunately, there isn’t an italic option built-in to the typeface. If I want it to look italic, I’m going to have to do it myself. To do this, grab your selection tool (the top one on the toolbar that looks like a black arrow). Select your text it should have a colored outline around it. Go up to the top menu bar and go up to Object > Transform and select Shear. To obtain the look that I did in the image use these settings: Shear Angle (15°), and click horizontal. By default the transform functions do not have preview selected. You will need to check preview in order to see how the effect will look before committing to the changes.

Create OutlinesSTEP THREE (OPTIONAL): This third step is completely optional, but I find it’s a good practice if you need to individually space out your lettering as opposed to using the character editing window. If you are looking to create print graphics as opposed to web graphics it’s also a good practice to do this step. If you have to send your files to a company to be printed, you won’t have to send the font files along with if you choose to change your type to outlines.

STEP FOUR (Adding Stroke and Fill): The text is already filled with black, but we want it to have a thicker, more bold stroke around the type to give it more depth. This layer of type will be thee base for our logo, so it needs to be very thick. When you select the text you’ll notice on the top of the screen a bar that extends across. This is the “control” window. If you don’t see it chances are it’s not activated. To activate it go up to your menu under Window and select Control. When you have an object selected you will see two boxes on the left. The leftmost box is the object’s fill color, one to the right is the stroke color. The stroke color will have a red slash through it. Click the down arrow and make the stroke black, and then select the stroke weight to the right and make it 5pt. When you’re finished you should have something similar to the image above.

STEP FIVE (Offsetting the Type): From here things will begin to progress fairly quick. The only thing that you’ll be doing is a little copy and paste, but not your normal pasting. What you will do is select the black text and copy (Mac: cmd-c, Win: ctrl-c) then you will paste-in-front (Mac: cmd-f, Win: ctrl-f), it is very important that you paste in front and not a normal paste. If you do a normal paste your text will just show up on the page and not where you want. By pasting in front it will paste directly on top of the last layer and will keep everything uniform. After you “paste in front”, nudge the text with your arrow keys: up twice and left twice.

STEP Five point Five (Color Change): After nudging the text you will do another copy and paste in front. Then change your fill color and stroke color to dark green (or your darkest color). Don’t move the text from here on out…it will remain here for the remainder of the tutorial. Once you’ve changed the color of the text it should look similar to the image for Step Five.

NOTE: if you don’t see the color you want in the color palette, don’t worry. With your object selected grab your eyedropper tool (or hit ‘i’ on your keyboard) and go over to the color on your sample logo and click. You’ll see that your color has now changed in the fill portion of the toolbar and the object. To locate the fill just look at the lower portion of the toolbar it will be at the very bottom.

I have created an image showing you where it’s located. Whatever the color is on the fill that is the color your items will be when you create them. There are some other icons there in that area of the toolbar, which I will cover in another tutorial in the future, but for now we don’t need to worry about them.

STEP SIX (Adding Depth and Layers): From here it’s just a matter of following the copy and paste in front rule. The only exception to the rule is that we will be shrinking the stroke on each layer. For this layer simply copy and paste in front the green text. Then change the color and stroke to black. After you’ve changed the colors shrink the stroke down to four point (4 pt), This will make the green layer appear as a 1 pt. stroke around your black layer. If your image is similar to this one, you’re right on track and we’re almost done.

STEP SEVEN (Incredible Shrinking Stroke): Well, we’ve gotten pretty far along and this tutorial is almost to a close. Since you’ve already copied the green text (and hopefully you haven’t copied anything else), simply paste in front one more time. You’ll see that your green layer has now been pasted in front of the thinner black layer…don’t fret, this is a good thing. Just go up to your control window from here, change the fill and stroke to white and change the stroke weight to two point (2 pt). If done correctly your text will be white with a thin black stroke and a green stroke around that. All that’s left is some finishing touches and we’ll be finished.

STEP EIGHT (Adding Details): You’ll notice in the original logo image that it has some cool gray highlights on the 7UP text. In order to make our text look similar and fit in better we will do the same thing. The easiest way to make our highlights curve around the text is to use the pen tool (located in the toolbar and looks like an old school calligraphy pen, or hit p on your keyboard). This tool is not for the faint of heart, and takes years to master and control it. It’s taken me years to reach my skill level with the pen…my advice to you is practice, practice, practice.

To start find a good straight portion of text. I started with one side of the ‘H’. Simply click and make a point, from there go up to just before the curve and click again. You should now have a fairly straight line. Your next point will go up and to the right (on the other side of the curve), when you click don’t let go of the mouse you will drag to the right and the line will curve.

This is where patience and practice comes into play. It might take three or four tries to get just right. One thing to remember is that the more points you make the smoother the lines. Now, I’m not saying make a simple curve with 100 points, but you’ll notice in the image above that I tried to use two points to make the curve and it doesn’t look good at all. In the other “correct” way I use five points and it’s much smoother. I apologize that the points aren’t easier to see. When you zoom in on the screen the points don’t show up larger only the objects…sorry.

After you’ve done all the highlights and details you should have a pretty sexy logo on screen. From there you can either export as JPEG or select everything and copy it into Photoshop for some more magic, but we’ll save that for another tutorial. What do you think? Apart from the pen tool Illustrator is fairly easy to use. Of course, you can get more detailed but for this type of work it’s quick and easy.

If there are other tutorials or topics you’d like to cover with Illustrator or other graphics programs let me know. This is also my first tutorial, so any feedback is appreciated. I am working on future tutorials now and would like to share my experience and skills with my readers. Keep a close eye out for more from GrandmasterB, and if you’d like to keep up to date with GrandmasterB, please subscribe to the feed.

~ GrandmasterB

This copyrighted tutorial was originally published at GrandmasterB.com on 05/26/2008