Band Logo Design using Adobe Illustrator CS4
Ok, so you have gotten together with friends to finally take that step into taking your musical inclinations seriously. You have all gotten together and formed your band. I’m sure that the creative aspects have already been worked out or else you wouldn’t have formed the bank in the first place.
Now comes the tricky part, marketing! It starts with your bands image and there are a few aspects that have to be considered with this like music genre, audience-type and overall niche. I’m not going to bore with you with all other details of this as this article is focused on one thing and that is, how to design a band logo using a great program called Adobe Illustrator.
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I will try to make the steps on how to design a band logo as easy to understand as possible as there may be a lot of you who have gotten to this page as total beginners but that’s ok everyone has to start somewhere and I hope that this will be an enlightening experience for you.
1. When you open Adobe Illustrator, you are faced with the basic user interface.(step 1) On the top area would be the usual placement of menus where you can access the different functions. On the left-hand side you will find the “Tools” window where you can find the Selection, Pen, Type, Eraser tools and many other very useful albeit common tools for illustration. The little icons are pretty straightforward and if you need to know more about an icon you simply have to hover your mouse pointer above one for a few seconds for its label to pop-up. On the right-hand side are the Iconic panels and this contains color palettes, brushes and layers. Take a few minutes to use this to familiarize yourself to the tools and their names.
2. Once you feel more confident with the location of the tools and their symbols we can move on to creating your document/workspace. Just click on File > New (step 2) then type the name of the file you would want to work on and take the time to think about the size of the initial logo design highlighted in the red box. (step 3) The height and width doesn’t have to be too big as the biggest print for these usually are posters and “px” stands for pixels. For the sake of this project we will be using W-800px x H-800px to form a perfectly square work area. The other details in the popup window like bleed and others would not be needed for this basic project.
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3. What comes up after this will be a box that’s bordered in a thin black line which is going to be your graphic’s size. (step 4) There will also be rulers on the upper and left side of the box itself and also around the workspace. Note the grey checkered pattern on the original background as this tells us which part of the design are transparent and will show this pattern that’s behind it. To make things simple let’s start with making a white background to make things easier to see. Click on the Rectangle Icon (step 5) then click and drag from one corner of the box to the other. Also take note of the Fill and Stroke colors highlighted below.(step 6) Always make sure to save your work every few minutes by clicking File > Save or hit Ctrl+S.
4. I used the Pen tool to create a shape by clicking and click-dragging some of the lines to create this shape and ended where I started from to close the shape. (step 7) Click on the Selection tool and click on the outline of the shape you have just created, in this case the heart shape to select it. Next click on the Stroke icon on the right side (step 8) here you can choose the thickness/weight of your outline as well as Gradient and Transparency if needed. For this project we will be changing the weight/thickness of the line to 8pt.
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5. You can then choose a Fill color by double-clicking on the “Fill” box on the left Tools window. (step 9) A “color picker” window then pops so you can choose the color you want to fill it with. ( step 10) You can also choose a gradient instead by clicking on the little gradient button below the Fill box. (step 11) You can then choose your type of gradient and color combinations on the Gradient right-side popup. In this case I used a Radial gradient with a combination of red and white.
6. I added a few more elements using the same Pen tool and played around with the Thickness/Weight of the outlines and also the Fill colors/gradients for each element like the wings and knife. You can move the new elements to the back or front by right-clicking the shape and then Arrange > Send Backward or the other options depending on where you want the object placed (step 12).
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7. Creating the opposite wing is a lot faster than creating the first one. Simply click on the first wing using the Selection tool and then hitting Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V which creates an exact copy of the wing below. (step 13) After this with the copy still selected click on Object > Transform > Reflect (step 14 ) Make sure that Vertical Axis is highlighted on the popup window and click on Ok. You can now freely move the mirrored copy of the wing to the other side and also send it behind the Heart shape like the first one.(step 15) Make sure to visualize the elements of your design on paper beforehand to help you save time on the creation process.
8. Adding a name is one of the easier parts of the design. All you have to do is click on the Type icon and then click on the part of the screen you would like to place your text. Make sure that your Fill color is not the same as your background color when doing this. Type in the text and then click on the Selection tool when you’re done. You can proceed to resize or change font using the Character icon on the right side of the workspace. (step 16) You can also manually resize the text by clicking and dragging the selection box just like any of the other elements/graphics of your project.
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After the creation of all elements, always make sure to check on your design to get a feel for how it looks. Does it feel like it’s going to appeal to your audience or target market? Does it stand for what the band looks like or what they play? These are just some of the questions you want answered when creating your band’s logo. Another important aspect of logo design would be not to overdo it however much you are tempted to put in all possible elements you can imagine, stick to the basics and keep it simple. Once you are confident that the logo is everything that the band is, make sure that you have the agreement of everyone in the band to spare you from any disagreements about it in the future.
Remember that this logo will be your badge or calling card so wear it proudly and keep on rockin!
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