Learn how to make the famous Hot Wheels logo in Illustrator in the following steps. It will be ready in no time, and in the end, you can save it as a Hot Wheels logo PNG file. The techniques learned here will help you make other flame or racing logos in future projects. Be creative!
If you don't have the time to learn how to draw a Hot Wheels logo, you can always try Envato Elements, where you will find a large selection of logos, fonts, and graphics that are ready to be used.
Before jumping in, we'll briefly learn more about this famous logo.
Hot Wheels Logo History
Hot Wheels is a brand of toys, owned by the international company Mattel, which was established in 1968. The brand is known for its toy cars, as well as collectible limited-edition models. Curious about the Hot Wheels logo history? Let's briefly talk about it!
The first Hot Wheels badge was designed by Otto Kuhni, who worked for Mattel as a package designer. Throughout the years, the logo was refined and modernized a few times, but nothing major. The overall style of this brightly colored and energetic Hot Wheels badge remained consistent, with most people not even noticing the subtle changes. A custom font was used, the shape of the letters being asymmetrical and inspired by fire, like the entire logo. At some point, it even got a 3D effect, but then went back to the flat design that we all know. Hot Wheels always remained all about energy, motion, and flames.
What You'll Learn in This Tutorial
- How to distort font letters
- How to create a flame-inspired logo background
- How to use Envelope Distort in Adobe Illustrator
You'll need the following resources in order to complete this project:
1. How to Open a New Document in Adobe Illustrator
Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open the New Document window. There, type the name of the document and set up the dimensions as shown. Keep the Units to Pixels and the Color Mode to RGB. Once you're done, hit Create Document.
In the image below, you can see the other settings that I prefer to use while working in Illustrator. You can access them by going to Edit > Preferences.
2. How to Make the Hot Wheels Logo Font
Let's start by taking the Type Tool (T) and typing the letter H on your artboard. Use the Sunmori Regular font, with a size of 190 pt.
You'll need to distort this letter quite a bit to make it look like the original version of the logo, but first, go to Type > Create Outlines while the letter stays selected. Follow up with Object > Ungroup.
Now, you have the shape of the letter, and you can distort it. Start by adding the four extra points highlighted in green using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+). Then, delete the points highlighted in red using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) (1). You will get a simplified version of the letter H that's easier to manipulate (2). Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move individual points and stretch the legs of the letter, as shown in the image below (3). Finally, make the legs of the letter more curvy by adjusting the handles or by using the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) (4).
The letter O is easy to obtain from two shapes. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) or the Pen Tool (P) to draw two ellipses of 98 x 115 px and 40 x 70 px. Arrange the smaller one in the middle of the bigger one, and while both shapes stay selected, press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. You will obtain the letter O.
We will continue with the letter t. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a path as shown in the image below. Set the Stroke Weight to 30 pt and use Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
Next, draw a shorter, slightly curved path as the arm of the letter t. Give it a 36 pt Stroke and use Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel.
While both paths stay selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance to turn the strokes into filled shapes. Follow up with Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge the two shapes into one. Now, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use it to distort the bottom of the letter t and make it chubbier.
The first word of the logo Hot is ready now.
The next letter is W. Use the Type Tool (T) to write W on your artboard using the Sunmori Regular font, with a size of 190 pt.
First, go to Type > Create Outlines followed by Object > Ungroup to obtain the shape of the letter. To distort the letter, use the tools and methods presented so far. Make the middle leg of the letter pointed and then move it downwards (1). Next, use the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) to remove the points highlighted in red (2); then switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C) and use it to make the letter curvy. Alternatively, you can move the handles with the Direct Selection Tool (A) (3).
Duplicate the letter H, and let's continue with the letter e. Write the letter e on your artboard with the Type Tool (T) using the Gefuh Regular font, with a size of 250 pt. Go to Type > Create Outlines and Object > Ungroup to obtain the shape of the letter.
This letter only needs minor adjustments to make it look like the original Hot Wheels logo font. To achieve this, use the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) to remove some of the points at the bottom end, and then make it pointy. You can then elongate the top loop slightly, and you're done.
The next letter is L. Type it on your artboard next to the others. Use the Sunmori Regular font, with a size of 190 pt.
To distort it, first remove the points highlighted in red with the help of the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) (1). After that, stretch the top of the letter by moving those two anchor points away from each other with the Direct Selection Tool (A). You will get the pointed tip as a result of deleting the anchor points. All you have to do is to adjust the curve (2).
The last letter is S. Type it on your artboard in line with the others, and use the Cagey Regular font with a size of 190 pt. Go to Type > Create Outlines to expand it, followed by Object > Ungroup.
Create the pointed tip at the top by deleting the anchor point highlighted in red. Next, select only the point highlighted in green using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and move it upwards to make the letter chubbier. Finally, vertically align the two points at the tail; then horizontally align the two points at the bottom of the letter.
We are done with the logo text and distorting the letters. The result is pretty similar to the original flame-inspired font that was used in the logo.
3. How to Make the Hot Wheels Flame Background
Behind the logo text, there's a flame-inspired shape that we will create in the following steps. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw a wavy path as shown in the image below. Give it a 130 pt Stroke using any color, and select Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
Continue to draw another curved path at the bottom of the first path. Give it a 50 pt Stroke and use Width Profile 6 in the Stroke panel. Draw a third path at the top of the first, applying a 40 pt Stroke and Width Profile 1 again.
While the three paths stay selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance to turn the strokes into filled shapes. Follow up with Object > Ungroup if needed (1). Now, press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into a single shape.
To make the three tips more curved, you can use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the indicated points and adjust their handles. You can also use the Smooth Tool to reduce the number of anchor points at the bottom of the shape and improve the curve by dragging the tool along that portion of the path (2). You can see the resulting shape of the flame background in the image below (3).
Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape as shown in the image below. Keep this shape selected along with the flame, and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. You will obtain the final shape of the logo background.
While the flame shape stays selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of -15 px to obtain a smaller shape. Next, take the Knife and use it to cut a portion on the right and left sides of this shape. You can delete those because you don't need them.
We are ready to complete this logo now. Grab the logo text made earlier, and position it under the smaller flame shape in the Layers panel. While the text group and the purple shape stay selected, go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object.
The envelop distortion will not give you a perfect result, so a few adjustments are needed for a better result.
First, while the Envelope layer stays selected, choose Expand from the Object menu. Now, you can use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to adjust some of the letters, especially H, o, t, and S. Do so by moving the anchor points and their handles until they look more similar to the original logo text.
It's time to color this Hot Wheels logo. Fill the text with flat yellow; then select the flame shape and fill it with bright red. Also, apply a 7 pt Stroke using white and, in the Stroke panel, make sure to choose Align Stroke to Outside.
- Yellow color: R=255, G=230, B=0
- Red color: R=254, G=0, B=0
Congratulations! You're Done
You have successfully learned how to draw this famous logo. Put it in a cool logo mockup like this Embossed Logo Mockup that I've used. You can also save it as a Hot Wheels logo PNG file and include it in other design projects.
Now that you know how to make it, feel free to apply the same techniques to create other logos in the future. Make sure to check out Envato Elements, where you will find plenty of resources that might inspire you to create cool designs or download them ready to use.
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Envato Elements is an excellent resource for logos. Here's a short list of some of the most popular logos that you can find. You can download as many as you wish with a subscription. Let's take a look!
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