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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

How to Create an Awareness Ribbon in Adobe Illustrator for World AIDS Day

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day in which we further the fight against AIDS through charitable efforts and awareness. As such, I've cooked up a vector awareness ribbon tutorial that can be used not only when spreading hope in the fight against AIDS, but also for most any graphic representation of awareness ribbons you may have. Let's get creating!

If you'd like to work with a vector stock file that's similar to this tutorial, check out this AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon vector from Envato Market and follow the steps in the tutorial below to edit its appearance for alternative awareness causes.

1. Create the Ribbon

Step 1

Let's start with a New Document in Adobe Illustrator CC (or whatever version of the program you're using). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a small rectangle. In the Appearance panel, go to Effects > Warp > Arch and apply the following settings:

  • Horizontal
  • Bend: 79%
  • Horizontal: 0%
  • Vertical: 12%
Draw and warp a rectangle

Step 2

Expand your curved shape by going to Object > Expand Appearance. Use the Selection Tool (V) to squish the curved shape together a bit. This will form the fold of the ribbon.

curve the rectangle and expand the object

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), start on the upper left of the curved shape and start drawing the ribbon curving downward to the right. You can make your ribbon shape a simple curved rectangle or let it flare a bit at the end, as I've done below. In total my shape has four anchor points.

Draw one side of the ribbon with the pen tool

Step 4

Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the left side of the ribbon. Reflect it over a Vertical axis to form the right side of the ribbon and line it up with the top curving shape in the manner you see below.

Copy and Paste one ribbon side to form the other

Step 5

Use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add an anchor point to the middle of the bottom of the left and right ribbons. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the newly added anchor points inward so the ribbons are indented.

Add a couple indents to the ribbons

2. Render the Ribbon

Step 1

Select the small curve object and open the Gradient panel in order to add a Linear Gradient to the shape. I've added five instances of three colors to the shape. They are as follows:

  • #5C0404
  • #ED1C24
  • #F37359
  • #ED1C24
  • #6B2326
Render the ribbons fold with a linear gradient

Step 2

In the Layers panel, I placed the ribbon that goes from right to left over the other two shapes. Apply a Linear Gradient to the shape with the following colors:

  • #BE2127
  • #ED1C24
  • #F2674D
  • #ED1C24
  • #921518

Use the Gradient Tool (G) to adjust the gradient's angle. I set mine to 54.7°.

render the ribbon with a linear gradient

Step 3

Select the third and final object and apply another Linear Gradient to it with the following colors:

  • #BE2127
  • #ED1C24
  • #F26762
  • #ED1C24
  • #811F21
  • #EE3524

Use the Gradient Tool (G) to adjust the gradient's angle. I set mine to -24.6°.

create shadows and highlights with a linear gradient

Step 4

Group (Control-G) together your three ribbon shapes and in the Appearance panel go to Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow to apply a Drop Shadow with the following attributes:

  • Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 30%
  • X Offset: 20 pt
  • Y Offset: -3 pt
  • Blur: 6 pt
  • Color: #44383B
Apply a drop shadow to the ribbon object

Step 5

Draw a large rectangle over your Artboard and place it behind your ribbon group. Apply a Radial Gradient to the shape, going from #F3F0E1 to #353542. Use the Gradient Tool to adjust the gradient's radius as you see fit.

add a radial gradient to the background shape

3. Recolor the Ribbon

Step 1

Recoloring the ribbon is quite simple. Select the ribbon and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Hit the eyedropper tool in the Recolor Artwork panel in order to make sure you can alter every color in the selected object.

Then, go through each color and apply a new hue to it. Try to stick to the same tone or shade level for each color you're replacing. So dark colors are replaced with dark colors and light colors are replaced with light colors.

Quickly recolor artwork by replacing colors

Step 2

Quickly and easily you can go from a World AIDS Day ribbon to a Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon or whatever sort of awareness ribbon you may need to create.

Quickly and easily you can go from a World AIDS Day ribbon to a Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon or whatever sort of awareness ribbon you may need to create

Great Job, You're Done!

Now that you've completed your awareness ribbon design, what sort of similar ribbons can you create? How about striped color combinations? Share your awareness ribbons in the comment section below! 

The final world aids day ribbon design

If you'd like to work with a vector stock file that's similar to this tutorial, check out this AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon vector from Envato Market and follow the steps in the tutorial above to edit its appearance for alternative awareness causes.

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