WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Hello Design Cutters! This is Renee — back again for a fancy club poster tutorial. Since we’ll be utilizing this week’s awesome font bundle, we’ll be doing a lot of layout in Illustrator. Don’t let that scare you off, though! You’re going to learn some fantastic techniques for creating complex-looking text effects without sacrificing the versatility of vector graphics.
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
This week, our freebie pack features stylistic alts (swashes) from My Creative Land’s Allegretto Script.
As always, this freebie is a tiny sample taken from the amazing collection: The Typographer’s Dream Bundle: 33 Outstanding Quality Fonts at just $29 (that’s a whopping 99% off). This is our biggest font bundle to date with 33 top quality fonts including clean, calligraphic, hand-drawn, retro and professional style fonts—all with web fonts and extended licensing, of course.
The source file will be provided in two versions. An outlined version for those of you who haven’t downloaded the font bundle yet and a text version for those of you who have. That way, everyone can follow along!
In addition to the freebie pack, you will need to download two images from Pixabay, another fantastic free photo resource. Make sure to download the largest size available for each.
We’re going to set this poster up as though it will be printed so we have a higher resolution and CMYK color palette. Many fine quality printers would be able to produce this piece beautifully. Having said that, club posters in particular are often printed with budget as a top priority. This piece could present some issues for a quick-print job. The myriad of gradients and subtle line patterns could cause banding issues or even a moiré pattern, so this may work better as a web flyer in those situations.
Open Illustrator and create a new file. We’ll use an 18” x 24” poster size with resolution at 300 ppi and Color Mode of CMYK.
Save your newly created file.
We’ll start with the creation of our Elevated logo.
Open your Layers palette (Window > Layers) and change the name of the existing layer from Layer 1 to Logo.
Select your Type tool (t) and create the text “Elevate” using Allegretto Script. This will be our main element, so we want it nice and big. I made mine 296 pt and tightened up the tracking (the space between individual letters) to -33.
I want to make this a little fancier, so I’m going to use some of the beautiful alternates available with this font. Open the Glyphs by going to Type > Glyphs. By default, you’ll see every character available in the font. We are just looking for alternates for specific characters, so next to Show, choose Alternates for Current Selection.
Use your text tool to highlight the first E in Elevated. An alternate E will show in the Glyphs palette. Double click it to replace the current, default E.
Next, we’ll highlight the last letter, d. There are several alternates. I chose this one because it has a long, flowing shape that doesn’t interfere with any other letters.
For a little touch of playfulness, let’s rotate our word. Go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter 12 degrees for the angle and hit OK.
At this point, we’re going to outline our text. You usually want to do that as a last resort since you might want to change your copy later. While there ARE workarounds to add a gradient to editable type in Illustrator, we’ll still need to create outlines for various other uses. Whenever I have to outline something like this, I’ll usually make a copy of the text before outlining it and drag it off to the side of the artboard in case I need it later.
So, with your text selected, go to Type > Create Outlines. The keyboard shortcut is shift + cmd + O on a Mac or shift + ctrl + O on a PC.
We’ll color Elevated using metal gradients from Illustrator’s swatch library. If you haven’t used these yet, you’re about to get addicted to them.
Open your Swatches palette (Window > Swatches, but it’s usually up by default). Click on the little arrow at the top right to access the fly-out menu.
On the fly-out menu, go to Open Swatch Library > Gradients > Metals. With Elevated selected, choose the first gradient swatch called gold.
Select your Gradient tool (g) and drag from the bottom of the E to the top of the E (as shown below). This gives us a gradient angle of about 100 degrees.
Now we’ll start building up our edges and gradients to give a more realistic feel to our gold lettering.
With Elevated still selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path. In the dialog box, enter an offset of 0.05 inches. We’ll leave the miter limit at 4.
The offset path will automatically be grouped with the original path, but we need it separate. So, keep the offset path selected and cut (cmd + x), then place it in place by pressing shift + cmd + v (or go to Edit > Paste in Place). In addition to separating the offset path from the original path, the individual letters of our offset path are now ungrouped, so simply hit cmd + g to group them together.
To get our layered look, we’ll need the gradient on this section to be the opposite of the original path. Go to your Gradient palette and click on the Reverse Gradient button.
Finally, we’ll send this piece to the back, behind our original path, by hitting shift + cmd + [ (or go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back).
We’ll repeat the path offset process again, but this time we’re going to make a smaller path. Select the original Elevated path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. This time, we’ll offset by -0.05 inches.
Cut (cmd + x) and paste in place (shift + cmd + v), then group (cmd + g). We’ll use another handy Illustrator pre-set to create a line pattern within this inner group.
In your Swatches palette, click on the small arrow on the top right to access your fly-out menu again. This time, go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Lines.
In the Lines palette, choose the pattern swatch called 10 lpi 70%.
In your regular Swatches palette, double click on the Line swatch to bring up the Pattern Options dialogue.
The only thing we’re going to change here is the color. Press cmd + a to select all (or go to Select > All). In your Color palette (Window > Color), select Stroke color (hit x to toggle back and forth between fill and stroke). Change the color from 0/0/0/100 to 25/27/100/0.
In the Pattern Options box, add “Gold” to the end of the swatch name.
Click Done at the top of the screen to return to your artboard. Your lines should now be gold. For the final touch on the lines, open your Transparency palette and change the Blending Mode to Color Burn.
I really want these letters to pop off the page, so I’m going to manually add some shadow effects behind the letters. Select the outermost path (the largest one that we offset .05 from the original path) and go to Object > Transform > Move. In the dialog box, enter -0.1 inches for Horizontal and 0.1 inches for Vertical.
Very importantly, hit Copy when done (not OK). In your Swatches palette, change the fill color to black. Then, send to the back by hitting shift + cmd + [ (or Object > Arrange > Send to Back).
I want to add one more layer of shadow effect to add a little hint of a blue-gray color. Select the black shadow we just made and go to Object > Transform > Transform Again (or simply press cmd + d). In your Color palette, change the color to 50/40/0/70 and send to the back (shift + cmd + [ or Object > Arrange > Send to Back).
Now we’ll create the swirly bits around the logo.
To make things easier to see, let’s go ahead and give ourselves a black background. Click on the Create New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Double click on the name (Layer 2) and change it to Background. Drag this layer below our Logo layer.
Select the Background layer, then select your Rectangle tool (m). Click anywhere on the artboard once to bring up the Rectangle dialog box. Enter a width of 18 inches and a height of 24 inches, then click OK.
Change the fill color to black.
With the rectangle selected, click on the icons above the artboard for Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.
Now we have a centered background. Lock the Background layer by clicking to the right of the eye on the Background layer in the Layers palette. Let’s also go ahead and lock the Logo layer.
Create a new layer above between Background and Logo and name it Flourishes. Open the vector freebies file.
To be honest, there’s no scientific method for selecting and placing the flourishes. I’ll show you what I used and where I placed it, but it’s all extremely subjective. Choose pieces that flow together well and compliment the words. I tried several combinations before I found the one I liked.
As you place the flourishes in, change the color to the gold metal gradient we used for Elevated.
With our flourish clusters in place, we now want to add the some layering similar to our letters.
Select the top clusters and use your Gradient tool (g) to drag from the bottom to top just like we did with the E in Elevate. Alternately, you can open your Gradient palette and manually enter 100 degrees for the angle.
Now go to Object > Path > Offset Path. The offset should already be set for -0.05. Click OK.
Just as we’ve been doing with our other offset paths, cut (cmd + x) and paste in place (shift + cmd + v), then group (cmd + g). In your Gradient palette, click the Reverse Gradient icon.
Repeat the exact same process for the bottom cluster of flourishes. Offset the path by -.0.05, cut and paste in place, group, then reverse the gradient.
This next step can be a little bit time-consuming, but it’s easy to do and you get a really cool effect that looks like you spent hours hand drawing details.
Just like the initial placement of the flourishes, you will probably end up playing around with it to see what gets the best result. I’ll walk you through the steps on a couple of pieces, then show you the end result after those steps are repeated multiple times.
Select your Direct Selection tool (a). Zoom into your top left flourish and select a single point – I’m selecting the bottom most point on the left curve. Whatever point you select will be the middle point of the line we’re creating.
Hit cmd + c to copy the point. Click on any background area of the artboard to deselect, then hit cmd + f to paste in front.
Change your fill to none and your stroke to white. Open your Stroke palette and increase the weight to 2 pt. Change the Profile to Width Profile 1.
Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge this piece down 2 or 3 times and to the left 2 or 3 times.
Gradually work your way from left to right, adding white lines on curves.
Next, we’ll look at an area where we needed a shorter line than is created with this process.
Using this process on this piece creates an extra long line that crosses over our gold flourish.
An easy fix is to select the line you want to edit, then select your Eraser tool (shift+ e), then click and drag over the parts you want to delete.
Important note: If you don’t select the line you’re working on before using the Eraser tool, it will erase anything on the same layer and we don’t want that!
Continue to work your way through the flourishes. On some of the longer lines, bump the stroke weight up to 3 pt.
Repeat the same process on the bottom flourishes.
To tie everything together, we’ll add one of these white flourish lines to each side of our main logo lettering.
Select your Logo layer and click the lock icon to unlock it.
Continuing to use your Direct Selection tool, select the top middle point on the swash of the first E in Elevated.
Use the same technique – copy, paste in front, change the stroke to white (with no fill color) and change your stroke width profile to width profile 1. For the weight on this one, increase to 5 pt.
Repeat the same process on the right side of the swash on the d in Elevated. You’ll have to erase part of the bottom left portion of the line that overlaps the flourish below.
And that’s really the hard bit done. The individual steps aren’t difficult, but deciding what looks good and if it’s too much or not enough can take a little time.
Next up, we’ll add a border and our important information.
In your Layers palette, click on the Create New Layer icon. Drag this layer above the Logo layer and rename it Border.
To make it easier to work without accidentally messing up our existing work, go ahead and lock the rest of the layers.
Select the Border layer. Use your Rectangle tool (m) and click once on the artboard to bring up the Rectangle dialog box. In the dialog box, enter a width of 16 inches and a height of 22 inches and click OK. Then, use the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons on the top options bar to center the rectangle in the document. This way, our border will sit one inch in from every side.
Change the stroke color of the rectangle to the gold metal gradient in our Swatches palette and increase the weight to 3 pt in the Stroke palette.
With the gold rectangle still selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter -0.25 inches for the offset amount and click OK.
Change the stroke color of the new rectangle to white and change the stroke weight to 1 pt.
We don’t want our border getting mixed in with our cool logo, so we’ll cut our lines. Select the Scissor tool (c) and click on the gold border where we want our line to stop. Once above Elevated and once below.
With the middle section selected, press delete.
Repeat for the white border.
Then do the same thing on the right side for both the gold and white borders.
We’re going to be adding club info to the poster and many times, businesses use static placement of this type of info. Meaning that it’s always in the same spot regardless of the type of party they’re promoting.
With that in mind, let’s move the bottom of our border up to make room for club info. Use your Direct Selection tool (A) and drag across the bottom edge of the two borders. The red rectangle below indicates the rough area to drag across to select only the bottom corners of the borders.
With the bottom corner points selected, go to Object > Transform > Move and enter -1 in for the Vertical position.
Next, create a new layer and name it Words.
Draw a rectangular box 16” wide by 1” tall and place it centered below the border. Change the fill color to the gold metal gradient. In the Gradient palette, change the angle of the gold gradient to 45 degrees.
Select your Type tool (t) and click once anywhere on the artboard to type:
designcuts.com + Club Stellar + 422 Warnon St
I’m getting a little bored with bullets and pipes, so I thought plus signs would make cool dividers. I added extra spaces on either side to isolate each section of copy.
We’re going to use some of our modern fonts for a clean, elegant feel.
Change the font to TT Bluescreens Round in Bold, size 44 pt and increase tracking to 50. Set the fill color to black and center in the gold rectangle.
Next, we’ll add our most important info – the date, time and DJ line-up. Select your Type tool and add:
23 Nov + 9p – 2a + Roof Pool
DJ Cielo + Lady Bliss + DJ Stratos
Open your Paragraph palette and choose Align Center. Place the copy at the bottom of the poster inside the border. Open your Align palette and choose Horizontal Align Center to center the copy on the artboard.
We’ll set the first line in Arquitecta at 60 pt in white. To get the gold plus signs, select the first plus sign and open your Color palette. Change the fill color to 0/7/51/8. Copy the gold colored plus sign.Select your second plus sign and press cmd + v to replace it with the gold colored plus sign.
Set the second line in Betm Light at 48 pt in white and increase the tracking to 120. Use the same process to change the plus signs to gold – change the first one manually in the color palette, then copy it and paste in place of the white plus signs.
Increase the leading to 72 pt so our two lines of text aren’t crowding each other.
The next bit of copy will go in each of the upper corners. On the left, we’ll note the minimum age of entry and tout our drink specials:
21 & Over
Bottle Service Available
We’ll use Delm Regular for all of this type. For our primary information, the first two lines, we’ll use a font size of 38 pt in white. In your Paragraph palette, select Align Left.
For the secondary information, the third line about bottle service, set the font size to 30 pt.
On the right, we’ll promote our sponsors:
Brought to you by
Vice Vodka & Spirits
Similar to the left side, we’ll set our first line to Delm Regular at 38 pt in white and all subsequent lines to 30 pt. In your Paragraph palette, select Align Right.
For our final bit of copy, we don’t want to forget to let people know how much this party costs!
We’ll set our tickets at $25. Allegretto Script has a really cool dollar sign, so I’ve used that at 56 pt with a Baseline Shift of 28 pt. This will make it smaller and raised slightly higher than our 25.
Set the 25 in TT Bluescreens Bold at 102 pt. Both the dollar sign and 25 will be the same pale gold color as our plus signs – 0/7/51/8.
We’ll position the dollar amount below the flourishes on the right side.
I want to anchor our price a bit better and give the impression of champagne bubbles. This also provides a great opportunity to bring in a little more of our blue-gray color.
Create a new layer just below Words and name it Bubbles.
Select your Ellipse tool (L). Position your cursor in the middle of the dollar amount and hold shift + opt while clicking and dragging out to create a perfect circle. Make it just large enough to comfortably fit the dollar amount.
With the circle still selected, switch to your Eyedropper tool (i) and click once on the blue-gray color behind Elevate to sample the color.
To play up the bubbly look, let’s add a few more solid circles and some with a stroke and no fill.
Use your Ellipse tool and hold shift while dragging to create a smaller circle to the left of our cost circle.
Press shift + x to swap the fill and stroke colors. You should now have no fill color and a blue-gray stroke. Open your Stroke palette and increase the weight to 6 pt.
Create several more small clusters of dots – some with fills and some with strokes – of varying sizes around the logo.
Let’s add a little more shine to our logo and borders. Create a new layer at the very top and name it Highlights.
Use your Ellipse tool to create a circle about 1” diameter and position it over a bright spot – like the lightest gold on the E in Elevated.
In your Swatch palette, choose the standard White, Black linear gradient that’s pre-loaded in your palette.
Open your Gradient palette and change Type to Radial. Double click on the black slider on the far right and change the color to white. Then, change the Opacity to 0%.
Now open your Transparency palette and change the blending mode to Screen and the Opacity to 20%.
Copy this circle and paste duplicates of it over any bright areas of the logo and border. The red below indicates where I added mine.
To kick these highlights up a notch we’ll add a few little light bursts from the Freebies file. Paste in the burst and change the color to white. Position one burst in the middle of each of the little highlight circles we just made. Varying the size a little creates a nice effect.
For our last step in Illustrator, we’ll add a subtle line pattern to the background.
Unlock your Background layer and select your black rectangle. We should still have our Basic Graphics_Lines palette open. Select the swatch called 10 lpi 10%.
In your Transparency palette, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 40%.
Save your file and close it – we’re done with our layout!
Open Photoshop and create a new file at 18” x 24”, 300 dpi and CMYK.
Press d to change your foreground color to black, then hit opt + backspace to fill the background layer with black.
Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to the Illustrator layout file we just created (DC_ElevatedClub_PT_18x24). Click Place, then hit enter.
Go to File > Place Linked again and navigate to the photo of the woman floating in a pool. Select Place. Use the corner handles to drag out and enlarge the photo (while holding shift to maintain aspect ratio). We want to be able to see her above and below the logo area. Press enter when you’re done sizing the photo.
In the Layers palette, change the Opacity of the photo to 30%.
To make sure we don’t lose any impact on our logo, we’ll mask out a little of the photo behind the logo.
With the photo layer selected, click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Select your Brush tool (b) and choose the Soft Round brush. Set the size as large as it will go (5000 px). In the top menu, change the opacity to 20%.
Brush across the middle of the artboard where the logo is located. Click and drag over the area two or three times until the middle section is darkened, but has no obvious edge.
The last thing we’ll do is add a couple of champagne bottles to the background.
Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to the champagne bottle image. Select Place and click enter.
We’re going to fade the edges out in a few steps, so we can get away with a fairly rough selection at this point.
Select your Magic Wand tool (w) and click on the white area around the bottle. To select additional areas (like some of the darker grays below the bottle), hold shift while clicking on those areas with the Magic Wand tool.
Once you have a decent outline of the bottle, go to Select > Inverse. The click on the Add Layer Mask icon on the bottom of the Layers palette.
Now go to Edit > Free Transform. Use the corner handles (while holding shift) to reduce the size of the bottle. Hover near the corner edge until you see the Rotate option (rounded arrow) and rotate the bottle slightly to the left and press enter.
With the champagne bottle layer selected, click on the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and select Color Overlay.
In the Color Overlay dialog, change the Blend Mode to Color and double click on the swatch to change it to black.
With the dialog box still open, click on Blending Options. Under Advanced Blending, turn on Blend Interior Effects as Group and click OK to close the dialog box.
To complete our underwater champagne bottle look, click on the Layer Mask thumbnail on the champagne bottle layer.
Select your Brush tool and choose Soft Round brush. Set the size to about 300 px. Keep the opacity at 20%.
Brush the edges of the bottle repeatedly until they start to blend with the background photo. Using a brush opacity of 20% means that it will take several passes to blend the edges out, but you can be rough and inexact and still get a great outcome.
Finally, lower the layer opacity to 50%.
For our very last step, duplicate the champagne bottle layer (with the layer mask and color overlay).
Go to Edit > Free Transform and reduce the size by about half and rotate to the right. Position in the open space to the right of the first bottle.
And that’s all she wrote! We’re done.
This was a long one, but I hope you enjoyed learning a few tricks in Illustrator. I use these techniques almost daily and they’ve been invaluable. I hope they’ll serve you well!
Don’t forget that we’d love to see your designs on our Facebook page too.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. We love hearing from you!
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