Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an iconic logo, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In the previous DVG lab, I took you through an overview of a real world creative process regarding logo design. Understanding that big picture on this topic is vital, but you also need to have a high level of craftsmanship to pull off your ideas as well. So in this movie, we're going to create an iconic logo design using a style I feel anyone can pull off, regardless of what level your drawing skills may be.
So let's get started. It all starts with having good reference material. Now you probably know by now I like sci-fi, I'm kind of a geek. And this is a thumbnail sketch that has been taped to my monitor since the last Star Wars movie came out. And I'm going to create a logo base mark off of this character, a Tusken Raider from the original Star Wars. When the original Star Wars came out, I was in sixth grade. That will give you an idea of my age.
But I was a fan of Star Wars and that was a magical year in my childhood growing up and it inspired a lot of drawing. So knowing we're going to create this genre, this character, I get reference of an actual Tusken Raider costume. And this is from a studio shot from 1977. But I want to create what I call idealistic reference from this image. And it's taking this image into Photoshop and creating a symmetric idealistic representation of it, meaning it's not exactly what the photograph was, but it gives me a basis by which I can draw from.
Now it doesn't matter what theme you're working on. Maybe you're developing a logo for a farm and feed store, and you get a photograph of a tractor, you can use the same methodology to pull this off. Once you have an idealistic reference, then it comes down to simple contour drawing. And when I say contour drawing, just look at the reference, look at the shapes, and then follow those contours to draw out your line work. Now you're still going to have to do some deducing in terms of simplifying down the form and shape, but this is going to gradely age you in this effort.
Especially if you do something symmetric, you almost always can get away with doing half of the work, and building it, cloning, flipping, to create the whole piece. Now there's some asymmetric aspect to this one, with the cloth on his head, but the facial components are all symmetric. So this is how I develop my reference. If you want to look at the PSD file, I included it in the exercise files for creating idealistic reference. So let's jump into this in how we go about building our art. So we take that contour sketch that we created, place it into our file, and the first few steps of building are very simple.
It's using simple shapes, circles and rectangles. Now there's one plugin I've covered before in previous DVG labs, and that is a free plugin called Subscribe. And I highly recommend it, because the way it works is this is the one right here we're going to use. And if you look at the name, it's line tangent to two paths, great name there, engineers. (laughs) We're going to take that and we're going to use it to create these angles on the tube. Because only other way you can do it in illustrator is by eyeballing it and this is going to work better.
So we'll just click on the first circle, go to the second on, and it figures out the tangents. Then we'll make sure to bring this to front. And if you don't know what bring to front is, go to range, bring to front, I use F5, because I have it assigned to F5. Once you've brought it to front, grab your pen tool, and then we're just going to build out the closed path like that. And then we'll take the same tool and we'll do the right side here, like this, bring to front. F5 is what I use. And the pen tool to close out the path here, like this.
We'll select the circle and these two shapes. Go to Unite and Pathfinder. And then select this circle, clone it, Command C, Command F. And then go ahead and minus front from that shape. And that's how quick you can build this type of content. And that's why I use that plugin. It just makes it go so much faster. And it's precise, you know it's perfect, you don't have to worry about it. So we're going to jump to this next stage here. And this is with most of my base vector art created as you can see here.
Now I want to take certain elements like the eye here. And I'm not even sure what they call these things. Maybe they're tusks? I don't know. Spikes, we'll call 'em spikes. Like this. And then I'm going to take the respirator content down here, clone it, Command C, Command F. And we'll go to the Reflect tool, find a central anchor point like this, and reflect it over. So you don't always have to recreate stuff. So especially on something like this that's symmetric, you can use that to compose and figure out all the elements you're going to need for your artwork.
Now it's at this point we need to figure out sizing, because we don't want to leave this line work like this. And the style we're working on is going to be based off of line work. So we would select this, go to Stroke, and just start figuring out. Now by default this is how your Strokes pallette will look. It'll default to the first row. So if we go up here, I think about three is what we want. On this style, I always use rounded corners. That means when it gets to a corner, it makes these nice little rounds and it's going to aid in the look and feel.
So that's all we're going to do here. Now like a good cooking show, I've kind of pre-baked this with all my thicknesses set, and this is all three point stroke. Now this looks good, but there's some problematic areas. And these are the things you need to pay attention to. Notice how in these spikes that the top of the spike, it's just leaving these little slivers of white. I don't like that. I don't like how this line is so close. It's making a dark area here. I don't like that.
I think this eye and this tusk, or spike, whatever you want to call it, are too close right here. And I think the top of the mouth is too close to this arch above it. And the way the respirator shape here is it leaves this little sliver of white. I don't like that as well. And the top of the head looks a little lumpy. I think that could be simplified. So those are the things I'll go in, along with this line here, that's fusing right here, I think we can improve upon that. So I'll go in, in this case, like I would just delete that line.
I don't think we need it. And I'm going to turn on this next level. We can go ahead and turn off our sketch. If this is what we initially created, this is how I balance both the negative and positive space. So before, after. And just look at the contrast and difference of communication. This is before, not bad. But this is definitely better. Not horrible, but this is definitely better. So we're improving that negative space and positive space.
You want to pay attention to both and to really clean it up. Now it's at this point we want to move from having stroke-based art to having fill shaped artwork, actually having shapes not strokes. And so that's where Conversion's going to come in to practice here. Now if I got to Key Line view here, Command Y, you can see most of this is still stroke-based artwork, like that. Big three point stroke as you can see here. But we've already converted this part of our design to shape.
So this is a shape. And that's all we're going to do at this point, we're going to select. And the reason why I colored him differently is just so you can see the different strokes within this design. So if I Command A to select everything, go up to Object, Path, Outline Stroke, it turns everything now into shapes, no longer any strokes. But there's some cleanup we need to do before we fuse or unite everything together. And it involves throwaway shapes. So we're just going to create a few shapes here, like this one, go over here, and we'll create this.
And select this shape, select this shape, we'll unite it. Make sure when you unite, right now it's a group, so we want to turn it into a compound. And if you don't know how to do that, go to Object, Compound, Make. But I have F7 set up, so that's all I do is hit F7. I'm going to select this background, pink outline, and I'm going to minus front. And you can see we cleaned it up so it doesn't run through this spike. Once we've done that, we can select all of our shapes.
And we're just going to unite 'em. And this is what you end up with is a nice piece of artwork that's all based off of a shape. But this is where I'll go to another plugin I use all the time, called Vector Scribe. And with my artwork selected, it says I have 519 anchor points,, but notice this is lit up with a warning. And it says somewhere in my design I have anchor points that are actually piggybacking on top of one another and I want to clean that up. So I'm going to just click it.
And it removes two anchor points that were problematic. At this stage, this is where I'll take my design and I'll go Object, and go to Compound. I'm going to release the compound so it releases all the shapes. Deselect the outermost shape, and then these inner shapes, it's still filled with this magenta, we'll fill it white. And you can see now we have our artwork set up as these white shapes floating on top of the background. And that's what we want. And in this case, let's go back to Layers here.
We'll go ahead and color this black so we can see what's going on. And I want to make a thicker outline on this artwork for our final form. So I'm going to go to Stroke and make sure it's black. And notice how you might run into these issues. That's why I'll go to Round and I'll turn Round on. It kind of fixes those mitering issues you run into at times. And I think that looks good. So with that selected, I'll go to Object, I'll go to Path and I'll go Outline Strokes.
So, once again, we're turning this to shape-based. And once you've done that, just go to your pathfinder, go to unite, and fuse it together. So, once again, all we have is one shape sitting under white shapes. And this gives us all of our base art. And notice I don't have the part of the respirator in here which was the wires. I kind of save that to its own layer. Now the reason why I did that is I didn't want these wires to make up part of the arc outline.
I want those to be white shapes, too. So I'm going to go ahead and convert these really quick to strokes like this. And then I'm going to convert these outlines to strokes as well. Like that. And then I'll unite those, hit F7 to create a compound. Then I'm just going to clone that shape, the blue shape, selected here, Command C, Command F. Select one of these wires, trim it, with minus front from pathfinder, select the cloned blue shape, select the other wire and trim that one.
Now, now that I have these, I can select both of these and go Command C, Command F, and we'll go ahead and unite them. Make sure, once again, it's only a group, so make sure you turn 'em into a compound. We'll select black here. I'm going to make an outline like I did, the outline of everything. And I'm going to match it at 11. Turn Round on, go to Object, Path, Outline Stroke.
Then I'll go back to the Pathfinder, Unite. And I'll select the outline here of all the artwork with this and I'll unite those together. We're going to go in here and select these and just get rid of them. Then we'll copy this. Let's turn these white like this. All these and paste behind.
So now we have this shape paste behind, all of our base art's ready to go. Notice on the eyes, I just added dark eyes here just to improve it overall. I think that looks a lot better. And this is where we get to have fun. This is where it just simply comes down to selecting elements. In this case, everything that's the fabric. And I'm going to use Eyedropper. And we'll go ahead and color that. I'll select he spikes. That'll be this lighter gray. I'll select the insides, which is darker, and the wires.
And then his nose and the parts of his face or mask, not sure, I guess it's a mask. Then color that, and then we'll color that. And so that's how quickly you can take this style and it becomes really, really cool. I just wanted to show you the coloring because I'm also going to turn this into a sticker at some point. This is how it's going to be colored. But I want to keep it simple black and white because I want to use it for logo purposes. And this is where I go back to analog and I sketch out a concept.
Then I just simply lay that out, drop my artwork in it, and it becomes a absolutely cool looking design. I can select it. I don't want it to be stark black and white. I want to give it some character, so I colorize it this brownish color. And this is where artwork, at times, I want to use on different colored backgrounds. And I've covered this before in a logo course, but if you look at this artwork, black doesn't look good, well, that's okay.
We'll change it to white. But now everything that's supposed to be dark is reading as light. And I don't like that. So we'll just go to compound again. And we'll go Release. We're going to select this outline. And I'm just going to get rid of that. And we'll go ahead, all of these are correct, so we'll unite those. And the eyes are left. So let's go ahead and paste that behind the eyes. And then we're going to minus the top shape on the eye from the back shape on the eye, select both eyes, unite 'em.
Make sure they're a compound. So I'm going to hit F7 to create a compound, then select this, and then punch the eyes. Oh! You have to make sure this is a compound, because that's what happens if it's a group. So we want to make sure this is a compound. Then we can take the eyes. And then we can punch 'em through. That's why it's important, in my opinion, to always stay in a compound mode. It makes using Pathfinder a lot easier. But you can see how it now reads correctly on a dark background so we can use it in a context like this to create a really compelling design.
And this design was actually also turned into a fun t-shirt, which is going to show up any day now, so I can't wait to have that. This is just one specific style that anyone can use to craft a precision-built logo mark. I obviously picked a favorite theme and genre that I like to use for this movie. But the style can be used for actually any type of client work as well. So I encourage you to give this a try, see how it works for you. Thank you for watching DVG Lab. And until next time, never stop drawing.