- Program: Adobe Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5
- Difficulty: Advanced
- Estimated Completion Time: 10 Hours
Tutorial AssetsYou'll find some files in the "source" folder. You'll also need the following public domain http://www.photoshopdata.com/images/tuts/skateboard/images, a Photoshop plug-in and free font to complete this tutorial.
- Eagle wing
- Floral crown
- Royal crest
- Vintage frame
- "4.jpg" from these grunge textures
- Bad Boys font
- A demo, or full version of the Engraver II plug-in
Stage 1 – Initial Design Concepts
A logo is the single most important marketing device for any company. A logo will appear in both web and print applications; it must also be designed in such a way so it can be applied to a variety of promotional products such as a brochures or T-shirts and work in color and mono as well as being legible at different sizes – from a giant billboard to a fax header; but above all the design must be simple and effective.
It's good practice to always start off with some initial sketches no matter how rough to establish the basic design concept; some of my scribbles are shown below.
Here's a couple of early logo experiments. It was at this point I decided to keep the branding in black and white.
Next, I started to strip away excess detail, to leave a clean typographic solution.
From here I worked up some rough ideas for the T-shirts using public domain vintage engravings, as well as free vectors found on the web. I wanted these designs to reflect 13's core concept of superstition, phobia and fear – this also allowed room for additional designs based on the same theme.
I spent a lot of time on this rejected T-shirt design. The final choice was the Ace of spades design; which I had initially disregarded. On reflection, this was probably the strongest idea as it represented the brand perfectly.
Here's final rough layout showing the logo, skate deck and T-shirt. This standard of visual is perfect for submitting to your client.
Stage 2 – Creating the Logo Artwork
After the design stage and initial client feedback, it's time to create the logo. Illustrator is undoubtably the tool of choice for creating logos – mainly because the file remains resolution independent.
Create a portrait A4 Illustrator file with the Document Profile set to Print (CMYK), then add the numerals 13 at 270 pt in this font.
Next, we'll modify the first numeral so it's more recognizable; to achieve this we'll use a donor part from the same font. Hold down Opt + Shift and drag your text to the left to duplicate it, then replace with the character V. Double-click the Reflect Tool (0), in the next window check the Vertical Axis button and enter 90 degrees in the Angle field and hit OK.
Select All and press Shift + Command/Ctrl + O to convert the text to Outlines. We only require the top-left portion of this character, so grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a closed shape to exclude the unwanted area as shown.
Select both paths and click the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder tab to chop away the excess.
Ungroup your original 13 numerals, then slice off the top of numeral 1 using the same technique as the previous step. Now drag your replacement section into place (as indicated in red), then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to modify individual control points as required.
When you're happy, nudge your paths together so the bottom spurs slightly overlap. Select All and choose Make Compound Shape from the Pathfinder's fly-out menu (1), then hit the Expand button (2) to unite both paths.
Add a 310 pt circle (Fill: black/Stroke: 0) with the Ellipse Tool (E), then a smaller 278 pt circle (Fill: black/Stroke: 5 pt white). Set your numeral paths to Fill: black/Stroke: 0 and hit Shift + Command/Ctrl + ] Bring to Front. Select All and centre all your elements using the Horizontal and Vertical Align buttons in the Options bar.
Duplicate your numeral paths and nudge them up and to the left. Add a 4 pt black Stroke to the duplicate and ensure the Align Stroke is set to the Outside.
You can now Group both numeral paths and reposition by eye, leaving a slightly deeper space at the base of the circle. Next, add some smaller text below the main graphic in the same font.
Convert the text to Outlines and set the Fill to white/Stroke: 0. Now choose Object > Path > Offset Path and enter an Offset value of 5 pt/Joins: Mitre limit: 4. Set this Fill to black/Stroke: 0, then Send to Back (Shift + Command/Ctrl + [)
With your text paths selected press Opt + Shift + Command/Ctrl + W to access the Warp dialogue box and apply the following preset from the Style menu.
Now use the Pen Tool (P) to add some black shapes to fill any white holes around the lettering. These shapes should sit behind the text, so Send Backward.
OK, thats our basic logo designed, but to me it looks too to neat and tidy! We could Live Trace a texture image and use various Pathfinder commands to add wear and tear, but I opted for a hands-on, non-digital process, but I still wanted finished logo in vector format. Here's how it's done.
Group your logo, enlarge to cover the A4 Artboard, then print it out full-size onto plain paper.
For this step you'll need access to a black and white photocopier. Reduce your original to the lowest reduction size available, then use this copy to enlarge up to around 150%. Continue to use second and third generation copies to enlarge until the logo begins to degrade in quality.
Note: The number of copies required to produce the best result will vary depending on the quality of the photocopier. I found the older, lo-tech machines produce the best result.
When your happy, scan the logo into Photoshop at 600 dpi in Greyscale mode. If your scan is not square, drag the Ruler Tool (I) to a 90 degree edge and choose Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary. The Angle value will determine the amount of rotation required to fix your scan. When you're done Save to a handy location as a .tiff file.
Jump over to Illustrator and open a new A4 portrait document set to Print (CMYK) Mode. Select Place from the File menu, then navigate to your .tiff file. We now need to convert the file back to vector format, so it can be scaled to any size without loss of quality. Go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options and click OK in the following warning window. Ensure the Default Black and White preset is selected, then click the Trace button. Now click the Expand button to convert the raster image into paths.
Next, Ungroup the object, then select the outer white area and hit Delete.
Select any black area, then go to Select > Same > Fill Color. Now choose Object > Compound Path > Make. This will unify the black shapes to a single path.
Printing a pure black ink (100% K) on our skate deck will look a little faded, or pale, so it's always best to use a rich, or four-color black. Fill the Compound path with: C: 70%, M: 50%, Y: 30% and C: 100%. Finally, use the same technique to make a Compound path from your white shapes.
Compound paths allow you to make swift color changes to your logo for different applications, such as using a spot-color for one-color printing, or reversed out of a dark background on a poster for example.
Select All and Copy your finished logo to the Clipboard for the next stage – creating the skate deck…