Illustrator Quick Tip : How to Create Vector Banners

Adding on to the Adobe Illustrator Quick Tip Series with a quick tut on how to Create Vector Banners extensively used throughout logos and other design work.

Let’s start to Create Vector Banners!

Step 1

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 1

Here is an overview of what you’ll be able to achieve by the end of this quick tut. Seen as the technique is basically the same for all these banners, I’ll be demonstrating how to accomplish the first two starting from the left on the image above, and you should have no problem getting the other two done on your own. In all cases, as always, the source files will be available for download at the end of the tut.

Step 2

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 2

  1. As most of my designs in Illustrator I tend to use symmetry quite often and it allows for some simplification in the design process as whole. In this step grab the Pen Tool by pressing the shortcut [P] and draw half of the banner as shown in the picture above. As you can see we’re just drawing half of the main shape without troubling ourselves, yet, with the back portion of the banner.
  2. This is where we trouble ourselves with it =D. Using the Pen Tool again, draw a shape overlying what should be the back portion of the banner. I used a magenta stroke on the shape for clarity.
  3. Now that you’ve made sure the shape goes around the empty space as shown in sub-step 2, you’re ready to give it a fill color and send it backwards in the stacking order by right clicking on the object and selecting Arrange->Send to Back.

Step 3

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 3

You can’t really see it on the pictures due to resolution, but, the fold of the banners actually have a custom made pattern as a fill and that’s what we’re going to learn to create in the following sub-steps.

  1. The first thing you got to do is make a bunch of long thin rectangular shapes of alternating fill color. Grab your Rectangle tool and click anywhere on the screen. In the dialog box select a width of 1px and a height of 100px, now give it a fill color of #999. Let’s duplicate the rectangle by selecting it and pressing [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + F], now nudge it to the right using your keyboard’s right ARROW key and give it a fill color of #4D4D4D. You can always modify keyboard increments by navigating to Edit->Preferences->General->Keyboard Increments. Now you can just select the two rectangles and duplicate them over and over again until you reach something similar to the pattern you see above.
  2. So we’ve got our initial pattern and now we’re going to rotate it 45° to the right. To do this just select all the rectangles to move them as a single unit and while holding the [SHIFT] key just rotate it to the right until it snaps at that default 45° angle. Now with the rectangle tool draw out a square, by holding the [SHIFT] key again while dragging out, on the center of the rectangles object and make sure it aligns with the underlying rectangles as it it demonstrated in the picture above. Readjust as necessary until you get it right.
  3. Once done, let’s select both the square and rectangles and using the Pathfinder Tool select CROP. Perfect! We got our pattern, all that’s left to do now is to select the newly created shape and dragging and dropping it into the swatches panel.

Step 4

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 4

We’ve got our custom fill pattern, now let’s put it to good use.

  1. To add the fill pattern just add as you would any color by clicking on the object and filing it with the pattern from the swatches panel. Pretty neat hun? You can use this technique for any pattern you wish to create.
  2. Remember symmetry? Duplicate the shape by selecting it and pressing [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + F]. Reflect the design by right clicking on the newly pasted shape and selecting Transform–>Reflect. Make sure you have Vertical selected in the reflect dialog box.
  3. Now align it as shown in the picture, basically align it with it’s parent shape on the left. Once that’s perfectly aligned, using the Pathfinder Tool and while both shapes are selected, click on Unite.

Step 5

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 5

All right let’s jump straight away in the creation of our second banner example. But if you’d like to grab yourself a hot cup of Joe before tackling on the second, you’re free to do so. As a matter of fact I can guarantee you I’ll be here waiting for as long a break you’d like to take. Are you back? Great, let’s go then!

  1. Grab my favorite Illustrator Tool, the Pen Tool and start creating. Just try to get a shape that’s similar to the one above. I know it might be difficult to draw the shape while purposefully leaving the back portion of the banner missing, but remember, you’re always free to draw these out on a piece of paper and scanning them to ultimately trace in Illustrator with the Pen Tool.
  2. With the Pen Tool yet again, draw the back portion of the banner. It’s much simpler with this design as we’re only using straight lines for our shapes, removing the effort wasted on overlying the main banner shape as we did in our first design.
  3. Once both your shapes are done you can go ahead and give them the same fill colors as the first design.

Step 6

AI Quick Tip Vector Banners Step 6

Ah, the final steps. The title of this Illustrator quick tip isn’t misleading. You really get these done in a jiffy, whoever the author is, he must be one hell of a genuine fellow (sarcastic tone implied =P)…

  1. So this time we’re not going to reflect the shape but we’re just going to duplicate it by selecting it and pressing [Ctrl + C] and [Ctrl + F]. As it is still selected, just rotate it 180° to the right, or the left for that matter, and nudge it down a bit.
  2. With the (you guessed it) Pen Tool draw the shape that will serve as the illusion of the back portion of the banner, represented here in magenta for clarity. These are all straight lines, so you can basically play connect the dots here, or connect the anchor points if you’d like to employ a more appropriate term.
  3. Finally give it our custom pattern as a fill and we’re done!

Final note

This concludes our tutorial. Below is a zip file containing the Illustrator source files. Make sure you follow the “Terms and conditions” in order for all files distributed on this site.

Download

I hope you enjoyed this one, and as always don’t forget to leave a comment or two. Hearing from you guys is what drives me to continually create content for this site. See you next time.

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