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Design

How to Create the S.H.I.E.L.D. Logo in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps you will learn how to create the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools and effects, mostly simple vector shape building techniques and the Live Corners feature. 

Moving on, you will learn how to add shading and highlights for these shapes using basic blending techniques, the Appearance panel and some effects. Using the Type on a Path Tool you will learn how to add a simple piece of text along an existing path and how to turn it into editable vector shapes. Finally, you will learn how to add a subtle texture for the overall logo and a dark background.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes, and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters, you will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-' keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Eagle Shape

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225. Move to your artboard and simply create a 200 px circle, the grid and the Snap to Grid feature should ease your work.

blue circle

Step 2

Return to the Toolbar and replace the existing fill color with a simple yellow. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 210 x 110 px shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the bottom side of this yellow rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go to Object > Path > Average or hit Alt-Control-J. Check the Both box and then click the OK button. This should turn your rectangle into a triangle as shown in the second image.

yellow triangle

Step 3

Using that same Rectangle Tool (M), create a 180 x 110 px shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the top side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go again to Object > Path > Average. Check that same Both box and then click the OK button. The resulting triangle should look like in the second image.

yellow triangle

Step 4

Reselect your bottom, yellow triangle and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke, set its color to R=237 G=28 B=36 and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 20 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button.

red stroke

Step 5

Reselect both your triangles and go to Object > Expand Appearance (or Object > Path > Outline Stroke). Make sure that the resulting shapes are selected, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button.

Select your blue circle and make a copy in front using the Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Now, select only the copy along with the other shape made in this step, return to the Pathfinder panel and this time click the Minus Front button. Focus on the resulting group of shapes and Ungroup it using the Shift-Control-G keyboard shortcut. Get rid of the top and right shapes and then select the remaining one. Move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and simply replace the existing fill color with R=205 G=207 B=206.

grey shape

Step 6

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 50 px horizontal path and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Add a 4 px red stroke for this new path and then switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 50 px down as shown in the second image.

Reselect the Pen Tool (P), create a 60 px horizontal path and place it exactly as shown in the third image. Again, add a 4 px red stroke for this new path and then switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 45 px down as shown in the fourth image.

red paths

Step 7

Make sure that both your red shapes are selected and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shapes along with the grey one, move to the Pathfinder panel and click the Minus Front button. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a simple compound path using the Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

grey compound path

Step 8

Make sure that your grey compound path is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click the Copy button. Select the newly made shape, drag it to the right and place it exactly as shown in the second image.

duplicate grey compound path

Step 9

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 220 x 115 px yellow shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go again to Object > Path > Average. Check that Both box and then click the OK button. The resulting triangle should look like in the second image.

yellow triangle

Step 10

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 210 x 85 px red shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go again to Object > Path > Average. Check that Both box and then click the OK button. The resulting triangle should look like in the second image.

red triangle

Step 11

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Reselect the red and yellow triangles and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the circle copy made in the beginning of this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and replace the existing fill color with that same R=205 G=207 B=206.

grey shape

Step 12

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 180 x 110 px yellow shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the top side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go to Object > Path > Average. Check that Both box and then click the OK button. The resulting triangle should look like in the second image.

yellow triangle

Step 13

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 210 x 110 px red shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and go to Object > Path > Average. Check that Both box and then click the OK button. The resulting triangle should look like in the second image.

red triangle

Step 14

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Reselect the red and yellow triangles and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the circle copy made in the beginning of this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and replace the existing fill color with that same R=205 G=207 B=206.

grey shaoe

Step 15

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 60 x 50 px shape, place it as shown in the first image and set the fill color to R=205 G=207 B=206. Focus on the top side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 20 px to the right and then select the right anchor point and drag it 20 px to the left.

grey trapezoid

Step 16

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 25 x 10 px shape, place it as shown in the first image and set the fill color to R=205 G=207 B=206.

Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 20 px yellow circle and place it as shown in the second image. Return to the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 20 x 10 px shape, place it as shown in the third image and set the fill color to a random red. Now, select the red and yellow shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and replace the existing fill color with that same R=205 G=207 B=206.

Reselect the two shapes made in this step along with the one made in the previous step and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

eagle head shape

Step 17

Keep focusing on the shape made in the previous step and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the anchor point highlighted by the black circle in the following image, move to the top bar and simply enter 10 px in that Corners box. Next, select the anchor point highlighted by the green circle in the following image, return to the top bar and this time enter 1 px in that same Corners box.

This feature is only available for CC users. The best solution to replace this effect would be the Round Any Corner script that can found in this article: 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the anchor points highlighted in the following image one by one and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter the values mentioned in those Corners boxes in the following image and then click OK. The end result might look a bit different, so feel free to increase/decrease the values mentioned in those Corners box.

live corners

Step 18

Reselect all your grey shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shapes are still selected and turn them into a simple compound path using that same Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

Move to the Layers panel, open the existing layer, double click on your compound path and simply rename it "eagle".

eagle shape

3. Add Shading and Highlight for Your Eagle Shape

Step 1

Reselect your blue circle, increase its diameter to 260 px and replace the existing fill color with R=50 G=52 B=51.

enlarge circle

Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-') and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px.

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then click the "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. First, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then lower the Opacity to 90%.

eagle shading

Step 3

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px up using that same up arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 70%.

eagle shading

Step 4

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 5 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 50%.

eagle shading

Step 5

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 70%.

eagle shading

Step 6

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px down using the same down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 40%.

eagle shading

Step 7

Reselect your "eagle" compound path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset and then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut and then focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill and replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Move to the Layers panel, find the shape made in this step and rename it "eagleSmall".

eagle gradient

Step 8

Make sure that your "eagleSmall" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

eagle highlight

Step 9

Make sure that your "eagleSmall" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 70%.

eagle highlight

Step 10

Select your "eagle" compound path and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

inner glow

Step 11

Make sure that your "eagle" compound path is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top, left window (in the following image), click the OK button and then add the other four Drop Shadow effects shown below.

drop shadow

Step 12

Select all the shapes that make up your eagle and Group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Move to the Layers panel, find this newly made group and rename it "Eagle".

eagle group

4. Add the Ring

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 240 px circle and place it exactly as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the fill color and then select the stroke. Set its color to R=205 G=207 B=206, increase the Weight to 5 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button from that Stroke fly-out panel.

Once you're done, go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Move to the Layers panel, find the shape made in this step and rename it "ring".

ring shape

Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Reselect your "ring" shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color to white, lower the Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

shading

Step 3

Reselect your "ring" shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1 px up. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color to black and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

highlight

Step 4

Reselect your "ring" shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, set the color to black and make sure that the Weight is set at 1 px. Check the Align to Inside button from that Stroke fly-out panel and then lower the Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

stroke

Step 5

Reselect your "ring" shape and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Make sure that the entire path is selected and then add the five Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

drop shadow

Step 6

Reselect your "ring" shape along with the two, thin compound paths used to highlight it and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, find this newly made group and rename it "Ring".

ring group

5. Add the Text

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 210 px circle and place it exactly as show in the following image. Add a simple, red stroke for this new shape and make sure that it does not have a fill color.

circle red stroke

Step 2

Make sure that your 210 px circle (the one with the red stroke) is still selected and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Pick the Type on a Path Tool and simply click on the edge of your selected shape. Add the "STRATEGIC HOMELAND INTERVENTION ENFORCEMENT LOGISTICS DIVISION" piece of text and use the Ignis et Glacies Sharp Bold font. Set the size to 16 px and the tracking to 55 and don't forget to change the text color to R=205 G=207 B=206.

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and go to Type > Create Outlines (or hit Shift-Control-O). Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group of shapes and then turn all those letters shapes into a simple compound path (Control-8). Move to the Layers panel, find this new compound path and rename it "text".

type on a path tool

Step 3

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Make sure that your "text" compound path is still selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white and then change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

text highlight

Step 4

Make sure that your "text" compound path is still selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black and then change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

text shading

Step 5

Make sure that your "text" compound path is still selected and add the five Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

text drop shadow

Step 6

Reselect your "text" compound path along with the other two compound paths used to highlight it and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, find this new group and rename it "Text".

text group

6. Add Shading and a Subtle Texture

Step 1

Reselect your circle and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, make it black, lower its Opacity to 5% and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 2 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected and simply add the two Drop Shadow effects shown below.

circle shading

Step 2

Reselect your dark circle is still selected, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut.

Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, remove the stroke and the two Drop Shadow effects. Next, select the fill and replace the existing color with black. Lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

circle texture

Step 3

Focus on the Layers panel, select your "Eagle", "Ring" and "Text" groups and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select only these copies, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel and then turn the resulting shapes into a simple compound path (Control-8). Bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and make it blue.

blue compound path

Step 4

Make sure that your blue compound path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with a simple black, lower the Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Artistic Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

second texture

7. Add the Background

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 600 px square and make sure that it covers your entire artboard. Send it to back using that same Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut and set the fill color to R=40 G=52 B=61.

background

Step 2

Making sure that your 600 px square stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and then add the radial gradient shown below. Keep in the mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

background radil gradient

Step 3

Make sure that your 600 px square stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button and you're done.

background texture

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final product
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