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Design

How to Create the X-Men Logo in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called X-Men Week.
How to Use Adobe Fuse to Create a Superhero Reference
How to Create an Apocalypse-Inspired Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a neat X-Men 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 vector shape-building techniques. Moving on, you will learn how to add color and subtle shading/highlights using the Appearance panel and some simple blending techniques. Finally, you will learn how to add a subtle texture and a neat background.

If you're looking for a different type of design, you can find a variety of logo designs and templates on Envato Market.

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 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 Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and 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 can learn more about Illustrator's grid system and how it can make your work easier in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't 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 Main Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke and set its color to R=137 G=147 B=150.

Move to your artboard and simply create a 310 px circle—the grid and the Snap to Grid feature should make this easier. Make sure that this shape remains selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).

Click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel and then increase the Weight to 40 px and also check the Align Stroke to Inside button. With your shape still selected, simply go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

circle

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 50 x 280 px shape and place it exactly as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=41 G=171 B=226 and make sure that there's no stroke color set for this rectangle.

rectangle

Step 3

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Set the Angle to 52 degrees and then click the OK button.

move anchor points

Step 4

Make sure that your rotated rectangle is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click the Copy button.

reflect

Step 5

Select all the shapes made so far, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button.

unite

Step 6

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a new 310 px circle and fill it with R=226 G=0 B=9. Place this new shape exactly as shown in the following image and then send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

red circle

Step 7

Disable the Grid (Control-") and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-").

Make a copy in front of your blue shape using the Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Select this copy along with the red circle that lies in the back and then click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting red shapes and turn them into a simple compound path using the Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

red compound path

Step 8

Reselect your blue shape and make a new copy in front using that same Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcut. Select only this copy and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5 px Offset and click the OK button. Select the resulting shape and replace the existing fill color with a random yellow (R=255 G=185 B=0).

Now, select your yellow shape along with the copy of the blue shape made in the beginning of the step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, Ungroup it using the Shift-Control-G keyboard shortcut, and fill all those shapes with that same yellow used a few moments ago.

yellow shapes

3. Color the First Large Shape

Step 1

Select your blue shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5 px Offset and then click the OK button. Select the resulting shape, bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut, and replace the existing fill color with R=47 G=57 B=59.

dark shape

Step 2

Make sure that your dark shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill, and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click the OK button.

inner glow

Step 3

Make sure that your dark shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button.

Select this new fill and replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the blue numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage. Simply click on the gradient bar to add a new gradient slider and go to Window > Gradient to open the Gradient panel.

Return to the Appearance panel, expand the fill added in this step and click that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 70%.

linear gradient

Step 4

Make sure that your dark shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and select the existing stroke.

Use the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 10 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

stroke

Step 5

Make sure that your dark shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button.

Select this new stroke and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image. Remember that the blue numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage. Return to the Appearance panel and keep focusing on the newly added stroke. Lower its Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, set the Weight to 5 px, and don't forget to check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

second stroke

4. Divide and Color the Yellow Shapes

Step 1

Select the round yellow shape and simply replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

linear gradient

Step 2

Now, you need to divide the remaining yellow shapes. First, enable the Smart Guides feature (View > Smart Guides or Control-U) to make things easier. When turned on, Smart Guides create a number of onscreen guides that appear when you create or manipulate objects or artboards. In this case the "anchor" smart guide will make it easier for you to know when to start and end a path.

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a series of straight paths that connect the corners of your yellow paths as shown in the following image. Add a simple stroke for these paths only to make them noticeable.

smart guides

Step 3

Select the paths made in the previous step along with the yellow shapes and click the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and Ungroup it using that same Shift-Control-G keyboard shortcut. In the end you should have 12 separate yellow shapes.

divide

Step 4

Select the five yellow shapes highlighted in the following image and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown.

linear gradient

Step 5

Select the two yellow shapes highlighted in the following image and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown.

linear gradient

Step 6

Select the three yellow shapes highlighted in the following image and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown. Adjust the gradient angle for each shape as shown below.

linear gradient

Step 7

Focus on the remaining yellow shapes. Select the left one and fill it with the linear gradient shown below, and then select the other yellow shape and fill it with the same linear gradient, but hit the Reverse Gradient button.

reverse gradient

5. Darken the Grey Area

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, open the existing layer, select the blue shape that lies in the bottom of the panel and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).

bring to front

Step 2

Make sure that your blue shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 35% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Replace the existing fill color with R=25 G=26 B=30 and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click the OK button.

black fill

Step 3

Make sure that the shape edited in the previous step is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing stroke and make it black. Lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 3 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

black stroke

6. Color the Red Shape

Step 1

Select your red compound path and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

inner glow

Step 2

Make sure that your red shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill.

Select this new fill and make it black. Lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

film grain

Step 3

Make sure that your red shape is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the existing stroke and set the color to black. Lower its Opacity to 80%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then move to the stroke attributes. Increase the Weight to 2 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

stroke

Step 4

Make sure that your red shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using that same Add New Stroke button.

Select this new stroke and set the color to black. Lower its Opacity to 60%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then move to the stroke attributes. Increase the Weight to 5 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

stroke

Step 5

Make sure that your red shape is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a third stroke.

Select this new stroke and set the color to black. Lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then move to the stroke attributes. Increase the Weight to 10 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

stroke

7. Add Shading and a Background

Step 1

Enable the Grid (Control-") and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-").

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 310 px circle and fill it with black. Place this new circle right above the existing shapes, send it to back and then 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 three Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

drop shadow

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, fill it with the radial gradient shown in the following image and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

radial gradient

Step 3

Make sure that your background rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill.

Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 75% and then replace the existing gradient with the one shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

background

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
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