Building a Logo in Illustrator: Papa's Surf Shop

In this series of lessons, we'll work to build a finished vector logo based on an initial sketch.
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 3, 2010
Duration
53m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 3, 2010
Duration
53m
Description

In this series of lessons, we'll work to build a finished vector logo based on an initial sketch. We'll begin by quickly exploring both the initial sketched idea and the final outcome of our logo. From there, we'll use Illustrator's live trace feature to convert raster artwork to vector for use in the logo. Next, we'll build a wave pattern that begins on our surfer's board and transitions into a baseline for our logo's type. We'll move on from there and begin working with the type for our logo by customizing a problematic character. We'll complete our design by adding stylized curls to the wave pattern and then color to our logo.

About the author
About the author

Eddie is the dedicated Pluralsight texturing and rendering tutor. His roots are firmly planted in a deep background in illustration and design, and Eddie lives to express himself through his art. Eddie has been with Pluralsight (and previously Digital-Tutors) for four-plus years, teaching creative artists to expand their knowledge on everything from design and illustration, to hand painting beautiful textures for their models.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
In this lesson, we'll begin building our logo for Papa's Surf Shop. Alright, so over the course of the next few lessons we'll be working to translate an idea in the form of a pencil rendered logo into a fully flushed out vector version of that logo. So let's go ahead and get started here. This is our idea here at the top of the screen, the penciled rendered logo, and this is going to be sort of our end result down below it. So I want to go ahead and hide this layer as this point, and let's show you another layer here with some elements we have already on it so we can work with. And just to let you know, I do have my Smart Guides turned on. You can turn those on on your computer by hitting Ctrl+U or by coming up here to your View dropdown menu and selecting the Smart Guides option here. Alright, so let's kind of explore what we've got here. We've got a few stroke lines here, a few stroke circles, and we've got a placed native Photoshop file that's been imported into this document. We've also got some type options here. I'll go ahead and just move those down and out of the way. And let's go ahead and first approach and handle this native Photoshop file. Now we can't use it that in its current format in our logo. We need to convert this into a vector shape, so we're going to use the Live Trace feature in Illustrator to handle this. So I'm going to go and select our artwork here, and we can access the Live Trace dialogue a couple of different ways. We can choose this Live Trace button here or this dropdown next to it, or we can come up to our Object menu and choose Live Trace from here. So I'm going to go ahead and select the Tracing Options so we can get our Live Trace dialogue window opened up. Now naturally the more information that Illustrator has to work with, the better a job it's going to do at tracing your artwork. We've got a simple black shape here in the shape of a surfer, and I believe I've saved that native Photoshop file at about 3 inches by 4 inches and like 300DPI. So Illustrator has quite a bit of information to work with, so we're really not going to have to mess with the controls much or go into many of these options within this dialogue here. Let me just go ahead and Preview that. And we kind of see in the background here, around our dialogue window, that the preview's looking pretty good. There are not really any major problems with that, so I'm going to go ahead and use these default options to trace this, but I'm going to go ahead and select this Ignore White option here. If we didn't do that, Illustrator would create a white box around the artwork here. And we're not going to want that, so let's just go ahead and ignore the white areas and hit Trace. And then we're going to select this Expand button up here, and that's going to actually convert it into a shape that we can actually modify. You can see all the different anchor points that have been created within our artwork here. Now let's just go in and examine this and make sure that it looks pretty good for what we're needing it for. I think that it does look pretty good. I see a little bit of a --- kind of bump right there. Maybe we could smooth that out. And we can actually use the Smooth Tool to do this. And this is actually nested underneath our Pencil Tool here. It looks actually sort of like the pencil, except it's got some little swirls around it. I'm going to go ahead and just select that. And with our artwork selected, I'm just going to kind of pull that around, kind of smooth off that little jagged edge that was right there. And that looks pretty good. Let's just go ahead and spot-check this a little bit more, make sure there's no other little areas like that that look a little bit strange. That's actually part of the artwork there. Maybe that's his pocket and his shorts. Coming along here and just looking, I think for the most part this is pretty good, so we'll go ahead and move on. Let's go ahead and just come back to this surfer here. We'll work with him later, and let's come up here and look at these four lines. Now based on the original idea for this logo, we were going to create sort of this wave pattern that transitioned from his surfboard behind the surfer and sort of ran along the baseline of our logo here, so let's go ahead and just work to create that here. I'm just going to create that using these four stroke lines. And let's go and just increase the stroke on those a little bit. Maybe we come up to about 4 points sort of like that. And I'm going to come in now, and let's just go ahead and select some different values here. We're not going to work with color just yet, but I do want to be able to see the difference between these different shapes as we get them closer together, so I want to go ahead and just change the values for these. Actually, we're changing the fill there, so we don't want to do that. Let's select our stroke, and we'll come back over here and select some different values for that. And I think that looks pretty good. Maybe we want to come down another step there. And let's go ahead and start pulling these shapes in closer together here. These are still stroked paths, so we're going to actually convert these to shapes in just a moment, but I'm going to get them a little closer together. Now let's go ahead and just select all of these lines, all of these stroke paths here, and we're going to go ahead and expand these. So let's go up to our Object dropdown menu and choose the Expand option. And these are stroked paths, so we don't need the Fill box checked. Let's go ahead and just leave the Stroke box checked, and we'll hit OK. And if we zoom in on those, those are now actually really slender rectangles. Those are actually a filled shape, each one of those. Now using our Smart Guides, I'm going to just come in here, and let's just go ahead and drag these up and get these snugged up right next to each other here just like so. And we'll zoom out a little bit and take a look at that. I think that's looking pretty good. Now let's go ahead and take these four lines, or these four shapes that we've created, and we're going to move these circles out of the way for right now. We're going to actually use these four lines and start building the composition of our logo here. So let's just grab these. Maybe we pull these down and to the right a little bit. Let's go ahead and stretch this. With all four selected, we're going to just stretch the side and increase the size of all four of those shapes. And let's go ahead and bring our surfer up into this area now and along with our word Papa's. And let's see here. We're going to --- maybe we don't want the surfer to be quite that big, so I'm going to hold Shift and just resize him and make him a little bit smaller. Maybe we want to bring him in and sort of make the word Papa's come up to about his elbow. So I'm just going to bring that down a little bit, maybe use my arrow keys to nudge it up into about the right position. And let's just bring that over. I think we're getting close. Maybe we want him to be just a little bit bigger than that, so we'll just hold Shift and stretch him out a little bit more. And let's go ahead and just select him and the type, and let's just use our arrow keys to nudge that over. I used Shift to select both of those items. Let's go ahead and send him to the back now. We'll go to Object, Arrange, and Send to Back so we can see these lines in front of him here. Alright, now let's think for just a moment about the image that we're creating here. We're creating an image where these four shapes are going to create this wave-like pattern that actually starts up here on his surfboard and transitions from the board underneath our type here, but they go behind the surfer himself. So the easiest way to create this illusion is probably to go ahead and create the shape of these waves on the board and then just cut that shape out of the board so we can actually have all four of these lines or these shapes. And they can be the furthest back, and we're just going to see those through the board and the surfer himself, and they're going to tuck nice and neatly behind his legs here. So let's go ahead and just come over here. We'll work with these waves over here at the end after the letter S in just a little while, but let's think about how we're going to create this shape here. So I'm going to go ahead and come in here, and let's just use our Rectangle Tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is M. Now let's just draw in a rectangle here. Maybe we change the color of that rectangle. Let's change the fill of it, and let's just give it a different value here about like that. We'll just pull that up here, sort of like that. And I'm going to just resize this really quickly about the same width of as surfboard, and I'm going to snug it right up next to these lines here or these four shapes of lines. And I'm actually at this point, let's go ahead and take our Direct Select Tool, the little white arrow up here in our Toolbox, and let's go ahead and start repositioning some of these anchor points around the four corners of this box. Maybe we take this one right here and just drag it up here just right below his hand. And I'm going to use my Smart Guides to snap that into position with the path of the surfboard itself. And maybe we take this bottom-left anchor point, and we pull it up just a little bit, maybe to about there. And again, we want to snap that into position with the board itself, so I'll just use my Smart Guides again, snap that into position there, and let's pull this anchor point down to where it's even with this top edge of this top line shape. And I'm going to pull this last anchor point up to where it really almost fits with the bottom of this top line shape, sort of like that. And this is what we're left with. Alright, so at this point we're going to need to go ahead and switch over to our Convert Anchor Point Tool. It's this little tool right here, and you can use --- your keyboard shortcut for that is Shift+C. And we're going to actually pull out some Bezier handles for these four anchor points so we can work with those here. So I'm going to just come up and click on each one and pull out these Bezier handles. And I want this to sort of be an arcing shape that sort of swoops down like that, so we want to pull it in that direction. And let's go ahead and just grab this other handle of our Bezier, and we're just going to pull that down and sort of line that up with the surfboard itself right about there. And remember you can actually hold down your Ctrl key with the Convert Anchor Point Tool selected to switch over to your Direct Select arrow, so I'm going to do that and just select this anchor point right here. And maybe we want to just zoom in on that and pull out the Bezier handles for that anchor point as well, so I'm going to go ahead and do that here. And I'm going to just keep these handles in alignment with this vertical edge of this shape. And then I'm going to come in, and holding my Shift key, constrain that one to a 90 degree angle, and bring it out a little bit sort of like that. And let's just deselect that and take a look at how we're doing here. Alright, so we've begun creating sort of this wave shape for this surfboard here. In the next lesson, we're going to go ahead and pick up where we're leaving off here and continue on building this logo.