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Design

How to Create a 90s Radio in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Who doesn't remember those fabulous portable radios? Remember when you used to listen to music from a cassette or just tune in to a radio station, when there were still no iPods or Spotify?

So today we will remember a radio in the best style of the 1990s using basic and simple forms in Adobe Illustrator. Let the party begin!

Find more 90s inspired design, over on Envato Elements.

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Press Control-N to make a New Document. Set the Units to Pixels, and enter 800 x 600 for the width and height of the document. Then in the Advanced options, select RGBScreen (72 ppi), and make sure to uncheck the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box before clicking OK.

Go to Preferences (Control-K) and enter 1 px for Keyboard increment. Press OK.

You can activate the Info panel (Window > Info) in order to have a preview of the size and position of your shapes. Remember to set the measuring unit to Pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. This will greatly increase the speed of your work.

Set Up a New document and Set Keyboard increment

2. How to Create the Radio

We’ll begin by creating the body of the radio, and then we’ll move to the other elements.

Step 1

Start by creating the body of the radio with a 400 x 134 px rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). Use #3C3741 as the fill color.

Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the bottom nodes of the rectangle by 5 px using the keyboard’s keys; move one to the left and the other to the right.

Creating a rectangle for the base of the radio

Step 2

For the speaker, duplicate the previous rectangle twice (Control-C followed by Control-F) and move the last copy 120 px to the right. Then apply Minus Front with the previous copy using the Pathfinder panel.

Apply a -8 px offset to the resulting shape (Effects > Path > Offset Path) and then expand its form (Object > Expand Appearance). Finally, round all vertices but the bottom right using Live Corners with the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Use #342F38 as the fill color.

Creating the speaker

Step 3

Now duplicate the speaker (#46424D) (Control-C > Control-F) and apply a -4 px offset in Effects > Path > Offset Path. Then create a 80 x 80 px ellipse (#3E3942) using the Ellipse Tool (L).

Duplicate the ellipse twice (Control-C > Control-F) and move the last copy slightly to the left to create a shadow, and set Minus Front with the previous ellipse using the Pathfinder panel. Change the fill color to #37333B.

Create a 25 x 25 px ellipse (#342F38) and repeat the procedure used on the previous ellipse. Use #2F2B33 as the shadow fill color.

Adding details at the speaker

Step 4

Now let’s create the speaker housing using a 4 x 200 px rectangle (#37333B). Duplicate it (Control-C > Control-F) and separate them by 200 px

Then select both of them and apply a Blend (Alt-Control-B), and set specific spaces to 20 in Object > Blend > Blend Options. Now duplicate the bars and rotate them by 90° using the Rotate Tool (R). Group the housing together (Control-G) and rotate it 45º.

Now center the housing on the speaker and duplicate the interior shape of the speaker, and afterwards bring it to the front (Right click > Arrange > Bring to Front). Select the housing and the shape and make a cut mask (Control-7). Group all the speaker elements together (Control-G).

Adding the cover for the speakers

Step 5

Duplicate the speaker (Control-C > Control-F) and reflect it (Right Click > Transform > Reflect), and then place the speaker on the other side of the radio.

Now double click the body of the radio to enter Isolate Mode. Add a rectangle (#342F38) equal to half of the radio. Remove the remaining shape using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Adding a shadow for the base shape

Step 6

Now let’s create the cassette tray using a 120 x 40 px rectangle (#28252B). Create 18 px chamfered corners in the bottom vertices using the Transform panel.

Then add the window using a 48 x 16 px rectangle (#5F5866) and round the bottom vertices with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Then create a 8 x 8 px ellipse (#28252B) and a 3 x 3 px ellipse (#5F5866), group them together, and duplicate the ellipses (Control-C > Control-F) and place both of them in the center of the window.

Creating the cassete tray

Step 7

Create a rectangle (#514B57) slightly overlapping with the window and subtract its shape with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Then create two long rectangles (#FFFFFF) and set Opacity to 25% using the Appearance panel. Rotate them 45° and place them on the window, and remove the remaining shape with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Adding more details in the cassete

Step 8

The next thing is to create the display. For this, use a 50 x 28 px rectangle (#28252B) and round its corners using 6 px as the radius from the panel Transform. Create a 42 x 26 px rectangle (#5F5866) and change the corner radius to 2 px.

Create an inner shadow by duplicating twice (Control-C > Control-F) and move down the last copy by 3 px. Apply Minus Front from the Pathfinder panel and use #4C4652 as the fill color.

Creating the display

Step 9

Now let’s draw the details within the display with the Pen Tool (P). Use a 2 px stroke thickness and set the fill color to #28252B, and draw numbers and some points. Set the stroke as Projecting Tap from the Stroke panel.

Now duplicate (Control-C > Control-F) the shape of the outer frame of the display and set a -2 px offset in Effects > Path > Offset Path. Expand the shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

Then add three long rectangles (#FFFFFF) and set the Opacity to 15%, tilt them by 45º with the Rotate Tool (R), and subtract the remaining shape from the previous frame using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Adding the numbers in the display

Step 10

Create nine buttons by using a 6 x 6 px ellipse (#28252B) and a 3 x 3 px ellipse (#342F38), grouping them together (Control-G), and duplicating the shape nine times. Place them as shown in the picture below.

Creating buttons circular

Step 11

Then add another button using a 14 x 6 px rectangle (#342F38) and round the left side vertices with the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Then duplicate twice (Control-C followed by Control-F) and move up the last copy 2 px (#28252B), and afterwards apply Minus Front with the previous shape using the Pathfinder panel. Group everything together (Control-G) and duplicate it (Control-C > Control-F). Reflect it and place the two shapes next to each other.

Adding another buttons

Step 12

Add seven buttons on the top using 13 x 13 px rectangles (#28252B), and place them every 7 px. On the first button from the left, create a 10 x 3 px rectangle (#3C3741).

Now double click the base of the radio to enter Isolate Mode. Create a 185 x 20 px rectangle (#342F38), set the corner radius to 10 px using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and then place it slightly overlapping on the radio and subtract the remaining shape with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Press Escape to exit Isolate Mode.

Adding the top buttons

Step 13

Now let’s create the radio’s handle. Create two 20 x 50 px rectangles (#46424D) and a 315 x 20 px rectangle (#46424D). Place them forming an inverted U and apply Unite from the Pathfinder panel.

Then, slightly round the upper vertices using Live Corners with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Create a 185 x 20 px rectangle (#342F38) and set the corner radius to 10 px using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and then place it in the center over the radio’s handle and subtract the remaining shape with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Finally, create two 20 x 10 px rectangles (#342F38) and place them in the inner part of the handle. Group everything together (Control-G) and fix it on top of the radio.

Creating the handle of the radio

Step 14

Create sixteen 4 x 2 px rectangles (#666666) and set the corner radius to 2 px using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, and then place them on the small buttons. Afterwards, create four 10 x 2 px rectangles (#666666) and place them on the cassette tray and the other two under the display buttons.

Finally, add a 28 x 6 px rectangle (#666666) on the handle of the radio, and set the corner radius to 3 px. Group the radio (Control-G).

Adding some shadows

3. How to Create the Musical Notes

Step 1

Now that we have finished the radio, we’ll begin drawing the musical notes and other final details. Begin by creating a 6 x 6 px ellipse, a 2 x 14 px rectangle and a 8 x 2 px rectangle. Group them together and form the first musical note.

Duplicate (Control-C > Control-F) the musical note to create another, and add another 2 x 14 px rectangle and a 6 x 6 px ellipse. Change the width of the upper rectangle to 12 px, and group the second musical note (Control-G).

Then play with different 6 x 6 px and 3 x 3 px ellipses, alternating with the following fill colors: #FF6766#00B5B5#9684A3#B0ABA0.

Creating the musical notes with rectangles and ellipses

Step 2

To finish, create a 800 x 600 px rectangle (#EAE4D5) and send it to the back of the canvas (Object > Arrange > Send to Back). 

Now add a 532 x 24 px ellipse (#D4CFC1) as the radio’s shadow. Send it behind the radio (click right > Arrange > Send Backward).

Final details in the background

Awesome! You're Finished!

Done! You have successfully completed this tutorial. As you see, it was very easy and just took a few steps. I hope you find it helpful and that you've learned many new things for your future illustrations. I'll be watching the comments!

Final result

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