In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a simple colored trendy badge using different techniques and unique shapes to form a minimal looking badge. Though it looks simple, some of the techniques are moderate-advanced layering techniques that help give your badge a unique design and feel.

Set Up & Techniques

Before we begin, it would be easy to go over some techniques and shortcuts that are used which will make it easier to go through this tutorial. If at some point you need help or review the details of a tool/technique used in this tutorial, you can refer back to this list.

Pathfinder Panel – Used to Subtract or add two shapes together to form a new shape. Place to shapes over each other and the top shape will add or subtract from the bottom shape. The panel can be located on the right hand palette or in the Top Window drop down menu.

Make Clipping Mask – Similar to Photoshop’s Masked Layer’s, The top shape will serve as a mask that clips and contains a shape inside. Select two shapes Right-Click and select Make Clipping Mask to create a masked object.

Expand/ Expand Appearance – Expanding is used to outline or “Add More Anchor Points” to Preset Shape. For Example, a line or stroke in Illustrator has two anchor points but when you expand the line or stroke and “expand it” into a rectangle with four anchor points. Expand is found under the Object Drop Down Menu.

Blend – Blend takes two shapes that are apart from each other and duplicates them towards the center of the two shapes to create a blending effect. This is a great tool to have a shape morph or duplicate into another shape within a specified about of steps. Blend can be found under the Object Drop Down Menu.

Step 1

First, use the Ellipsis tool (L), hold down the Shift key to create two circles. Select one circle, go to the Brush Libraries Menu under the Brushes panel and look for a Orange diamond border located in Borders< Borders_Geometric. Select the newly created shape with the diamond border and Expand it (Found in the Object Drop Down Menu). You should have two circles that look like the image below.


Step 2

Center the two circles over each other, Select both circles, go to the Pathfinder Panel on the right hand side and select first icon under Shape Modes called Unite. Go ahead and use the Ellipsis tool (L) to create three more circles that are smaller and centered to the spikey circle. The first circle should be a solid color similar to the background color. The second should just be a stroked circle that matches the spikey circle color. The third should be a stroked circle that is an entirely new color. Your Illustration should look similar to the image below.


Step 3

To create the pen shape, start by drawing a circle. To give it the egg shape, select the top anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use the Up Key on your keyboard to move the anchor point up a little. Now use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C) and click the left and right anchor point to reset the anchors and give the circle sharper edges. Use the Patherfinder Panel and the Minus Front to subtract a Rectangle and a circle from the pen shape we create. Give the new pen shape a stroke with a color similar to the background and Expand the object. Select the anchor points inside the tiny circle and Delete them. Your shape should now look similar to the image below.


Step 4

Next, we will create our top header of our badge that arcs over the center shape. Use the Ellipsis Tool (L) to create a circle. On the left hand Tools Palette, Click and hold down the Type Tool to display an hidden window of extra Type Tools. Select Type on a Path. With this new tool selected, Click on the Circle and type your word to have it follow the circular path. You may need to adjust the font size and spacing to make it fit perfectly in the circle. Now use the Type Tool (T) to make a second word underneath your shape. Now use the Rectangle Tool (M) and place a rectangle over the entire badge and make sure it is the same color as the background. Put all the pieces together and your illustration should now look something like the image below.


Step 5

To create the slanted lines for our ribbons we will use the Blend Tool. Start by using the Pen Tool (P) to create two diagonal strokes that are placed apart far enough so that it is wider than the badge itself. Select the two strokes and go to Object < Blend < Blend Options in the Drop Down Menu. In the popup window, go to the Spacing drop down menu and select Specified Steps and change the number to 50 and click OK. Go to Blend in the menu again but this time select Make. You will now see a group of repeated slanted lines like the image below.


We are now going to mask the lines inside of a square box to make the front ribbon. Use to the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle over the group of slanted lines. Select the two objects, Right-Click and select Make Clipping Mask. The new object should look like the image below.


Step 6

Repeat Step 5 to create the background ribbon to give your seal dimension and look as if the ribbon is wrapping around it. You may need to Bring Forward (ctrl+] cmd+]) or Send Back (ctrl+[ cmd+[) to organize and place the object in front or behind each other. Next, type out the words you want on the ribbon and Expand the type. To create the border around the type (With the border subtract from the font), Copy (ctrl+C / cmd+C) and Paste (ctrl+P / cmd+P) the outlined font behind the original and give it a border giving your verbiage a thick stroke around the words. Add some lines if you like to fill in some empty space. You new illustration should look similar to the image below.


Step 7

This last step is optional but if you want your illustration to look as if it is printed on paper you will need to add a texture overlay to the object. Select the whole badge and ribbon, Copy (ctrl+C / cmd+C) and Paste (ctrl+P / cmd+P) the object and go to the Pathfinder panel and click the Unite option to merge all the objects into one shape. Select a darker fill color and go to Effect < Texture < Grain. In the new popup window, make sure Grain is selected and under Grain Type select Stippled. Click OK. Select the new texture object, place it over your badge and go to the Transparency Panel and select Multiply. Your badge should look similar to the image below.


Wrapping It up

You do not have to make an elaborate illustration to make a creative design. Sometimes making a simple drawing can show your understanding of complex designs and techniques. Textures and clipping masks are powerful Illustrator tools to help improve your designs overall look. Keep practicing and see what you can come up with.

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