In this tutorial we will go through the process of creating of a simple, flat chicken logotype, which can be used by food industry companies, farm communities, in organic products design, or elsewhere. We’ll use simple shapes and create custom brushes in Adobe Illustrator to make the process of drawing fun and easy. Let’s start!
1. Start From Scratch
According to the logotype design theory, we should always start our work with preliminary sketches, which are very helpful in creating an effective image, building composition, and finding a unique idea. Make as many sketches as you can and then choose the most suitable one. This preliminary step usually takes even more time than creating a logo itself, so pay enough attention to your sketches.
In this tutorial, you can use my sketch for creating a complete image. Go ahead and save the screenshot below to your hard drive and then File > Place it in a New Document in Adobe Illustrator.
Start by creating an even circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). We won’t pay too much attention to the colors in this step, focusing more on the shapes and forms of our future logotype.
Put your sketch on top and switch its Blending Mode to Multiply or reduce its Opacity in the Transparency Panel to make the shapes visible under the semi-transparent sketch. Add another circle, forming the shapes depicted on your sketch.
Use the Minus Front function in Pathfinder to cut out the inner circle, forming a crescent shape for the chicken’s body.
Create two more circles above the body shape and use the Minus Front function again, forming the chicken’s wing.
Copy the wing shape and Place it in Back (Control-C > Control-B). Rotate the lower copy a bit and make it darker, forming the second wing.
2. Add Details to Your Logo
Let’s add a beak to our chicken. Copy the basic body shape and switch its color to red. Enlarge the shape and rotate it a bit, putting the upper tip of the crescent in the place where the beak should be, according to our sketch.
Take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) and delete the unneeded red part on the right side of the chicken’s body by clicking it with the left mouse button while holding down the Alt key. Add the lower part of the beak, making it slightly darker.
Let’s add more details to our chicken, making the shapes swirled and intricate. First of all, add a big circle above the chicken with no fill and a thin stroke, as shown in the screenshot below. Select both the created circle and the basic body shape and use the Divide function in Pathfinder to split the shape apart. Change the color of the created shape to lighter grey.
Add another circle and cut off its upper part as we did before, forming a darker shape.
Form a smaller shape out of a circle under the chicken’s wing, making a gentle shadow.
Finish up with the thinnest and lightest line, and check out the overall appearance of our chicken.
3. Create Simple Custom Brushes
Adobe Illustrator brushes are great for creating minor details and smooth shapes. Let's make some of our own brushes to simplify the drawing of feathers and some elements of the background of our logo.
Form a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) and drag its lower anchor point down, making a sharp angle by clicking it with the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C). Drag the created object to the Brushes Panel, creating a new Art Brush with default settings.
Make a few strokes, and if you notice that your strokes don’t look very good, try rotating the shape by 90 degrees before turning it into the Art Brush.
Use the created brush to make feathers for the tail and crest. Object > Expand the created shapes, turning them into separate objects, which are easy to recolor.
Let’s add a shape and turn it into another simple Art Brush. Create a horizontally extruded ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L) and turn its side anchor points to sharp angles by clicking them with the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C).
Drag the created shape to the Brushes Panel and make an Art Brush. Set the Colorization Method to Hue Shift in order to be able to change the Stroke Color of your brush. Make a couple of smooth strokes, depicting a green meadow under our chicken.
Object > Expand the grass shapes and add a yellow circle for the sun, placing it behind all other objects with the Shift-Control-[ key combination.
Add a smaller circle inside our sun and cut off the unneeded piece in the lower part of the picture with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).
Let’s enliven our image by painting it with bright, fresh colors. Start by applying a blue color to our chicken, moving from the lightest shades of blue on the right to the darkest blue on the left part of the character.
You can see my palette in the screenshot below, so copy the color codes or just use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick the colors directly from the screenshot.
If we take a look at the structure and geometry of the main element of our composition, we'll notice a nice combination of concentric circles, which make the lines of the image look smooth and flowing.
4. Form a Gentle Background and Apply a Greyscale Color Scheme
Let’s add a neutral background to make the composition look complete. Create an even square with the Rectangle Tool (M) of a 600 x 600 px size and fill it with a gentle radial gradient from light beige in the center to darker beige at the edges.
We need to add some texture in order to emphasize the smoothness of the logo elements over the background. Copy the background rectangle and Paste it in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Open your Swatches Panel and click on the Swatch Libraries Menu. Go to Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures and find a checkered texture called “Diamond”. Apply the diamond texture to the created rectangle and set its Blending Mode to Multiply, reducing the Opacity to 20%.
Logotypes are usually used not only in their colored version, represented on a company's web site or business card, but also in a black and white version, which is used in documents and other elements of corporate identity.
Let’s simplify our chicken by reducing the amount of details on its body, leaving only the basic body shape, a highlight on the edge, and a couple of shadows on the beak and under the wing. Use the lightest shades of grey for the chicken's silhouette and the darkest for the background elements (the grass and the sun).
As you may notice, I’ve added a lighter grey outline behind the objects in order to separate them from the background. If you want to add a similar outline, select all the elements, Group them (Control-G), Copy, and Paste in Back (Control-C > Control-B). Fill the created copy with a lighter grey color, make it a bit larger, and move it down by pressing the down arrow key a few times.
Try placing the same greyscale version of our logotype on a dark background and see what it looks like. The elements are still visible and contrasting. I’ve changed the color of the outline to darker grey to show our logo up over the dark background.
Here is how the greyscale version looks on a simple document mock-up.
Congratulations! You’ve Just Finished Creating a Flat Chicken Logotype!
Great job! We’ve managed to design a simple and stylish logotype with flowing lines and smooth shapes. I hope you discovered some useful tips and tricks in this tutorial, which will help you to create new fancy logotypes. Good luck!