Let's Get Started: The Practical Approach to Retro Logo Designing
It's time to learn how to create a retro logo design from a rough sketch to the polished execution
using design software Adobe Illustrator. In this video, graphic designer Tarif Khan is demonstrating
the step-by-step process of designing a logo with with vintage aesthetics. You'll find there are basically three levels of this video
that include preparation, implementation and finalization.
To further help you with the tutorial, we’ve listed down the steps so you won’t need to constantly
pause the video. Ideally you should watch the tutorial and then look back at the steps. So let’s
Step 1: Prepare Your Art Board
Open a new file with the dimensions of your choice. A standard art board for a logo design is 500
pixels in width and height.
Scan your sketch, in this case of the rocket man, and place it on the art board. Also to one side
keep a rough drawing of the general look of the entire logo, as that’ll help you accurately execute
the complete design on the software.
Step 2: Set the Layers Right
Create different layers to organize your work and to ease the process of logo designing. It’s best
to name each layer with a word that defines what's in it. For example, the first layer will contain
your sketch so name it "drawing" and the second will have your tracing so name it “trace”. We
recommend you lock the layer of your sketch so that it stays in one place.
Step 3: Trace Your Sketch
Use the pen tool to carefully trace over your sketch. Make sure you're on your "trace layer". It'll
be helpful to zoom in your work area by pressing Ctrl + on your keyboard. You can use the hand tool
(space bar + mouse) to move around.
Once this is done, use the pen tool to start drawing. Make sure you set the "fill color" to none and
the "outline/stroke" to a bright color for visibility. Create new 'art brush' with tapered tips by
flattening an ellipse shape and converting the anchors on either sides of the pointed ends to
Fig 1: change the width profile of your lines to make them taper.
Fig 2: Use the brush panel to create your custom shape and apply it on the
line for variety.
Once you’ve traced out the rocket man logo ( (as shown in the tutorial above), group all the elements into a new layer and name it “logo”. Don’t merge the drawing otherwise you won’t be able to add or remove anything later on.
Step 4: Design the Crest
As shown in the video, go back to your "drawing" layer and trace the rest of the parts of the logo that is the hexagon , the ribbon and the lines.
1st Shape: Hexagon Frame
To create the background shape, select the "polygon tool" from the tool bar, then drag and lift
your mouse to make the shape.
Go to the top bar → click on effect → select stylize → press round corners to open the window.
Set the radius to 4 and press okay.
Drag the shape vertically or rotate it and place it on the rough sketch. Change the stroke color
to black and fill to none.
2nd Shape: Ribbon
Select a polygon shape again and create a six-sided shape. When you’re dragging, make sure you
press "shift" on your keyboard so the face of the shape is straight.
Use the "direct selection tool" to select three points of the hexagon on the right and press the
right arrow key to extend as much as required.
Use the "direct selection tool" and click the center point on each side. Press the left and
right arrow key to drag the point inwards.
Place the ribbon shape graphic on top of the hexagon frame as shown in the video above.
3rd Shape: Cone Shaped Brush
First you've got to make a new brush. Select the polygon tool and double click on the art board.
A small window will open. Set the number of sides to 3 to make a triangle.
Rotate the triangle to its side (90 degrees) and with the "selection tool" squish it to lessen
Open the "brush panel" by clicking on "window" in top menu bar. Now drag the squished triangle
shape to the panel. You’ll see some options in front of you.
Set the width to fix at 20%, colorization to tint, and direction left to right.
4th Shape: Cone Shaped Lines
Now create the horizontal and diagonal lines inside the hexagon shape and the ones on the side
of the ribbon. On each separate line apply your new "cone shaped brush".
To align the horizontal lines use the "alignment panel". First, in the "distribute spacing"
section, click on the drop down menu in "align to" and select "align to selection". Second,
under the "distribute object" section and after selecting all the lines you want to align, click
on "vertical distribute center".
To align the diagonal lines in the hexagon shape, use a "pen tool" and the "blend tool" to repeat the lines.
Now select all the elements of the logo (without the rocket man) and center align them.
5th Shape: Inner Hexagon Frame
If you see the rocketman matches logo there are two frames. To make the inner
frame, select the hexagon shape go to object in top bar menu → click on path → open the offset
path window. You’ll see a bunch of options, set the offset to -12 and miter limit to 4.
Step 5: Place It All Together
When you're done tracing all the different elements of your logo design, it is time to create the
layout. Select each part of the logo and place it exactly in the way as you had imagined.
Once everything is done, hide the sketch layer. You'll now see your drawing of the logo only. Bring
the logo to the center of your art board and make it bigger for touchups.
Step 6: Outline for Rocket Man
When you place the rocket man over the rest of the logo objects, you need to create an outline in
white so it looks the character is breaking through the frame. For this, go to object in top bar
menu → click on path → select offset path. Color that into white.
Duplicate the white outline > Convert paths to outline > Cut the outline object > Lock all objects >
Paste in front (ctrl + f) > Invert the outline > delete the internal shapes > Invert outline
You should a filled shape of the rocket man outline 1. This outline shape will be used to:
1. ‘Minus’ the both the hexagon shapes from the crest, the diagonal cone strokes. Essentially used to
delete all the elements surrounding the rocket man.
2. It will also be used to ‘mask’ (ctrl + 7) the rocket man within the crest, so his legs don’t
extend past the crest.
Step 7: Do the Touchups
In this step you can refine your logo design as much as you want. You can change the color, add a
background, apply a texture, put a shadow, or any other detail.
Step 8: Label Your Logo Design
The last step is to add the logo name, i.e. Rocketman Matches. For this I’ve already selected a few
suitable fonts. There you have the final logo.
Of course, there is a lot of room to improve its form. If you wish to have a taste of some of these
improvements or have any suggestions, just post them in the Comments section. It is a learning
resource in the form of a tutorial and you are whole-heartedly welcome to share your thoughts.
That’s the end of it. Take care!
This concludes our tutorial which, in our slightest of opinions, would prove a milestone for all your
DIY retro logo designing requirements. Further, you may head onto our website LogoDesign.net for
crafting great industry-oriented logo designs on your own accord. Just punch in the keyword(s) that
you want and begin creating a FREE logo through our smart online logo maker tool.
We hope you’d have lots of exciting creative discoveries along the course, although crafting a worthy
logo without the help of a professional designer is a tough call. But, totally trying it out would
be worth the effort and energy. With our advice your creative endeavors are sure to pay off