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How to Design Gradient-Based Logos in Adobe Illustrator

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you want to learn how to design high-quality logos using gradients in Adobe Illustrator? In this video from my course, 10 Essential Design Tips in Adobe Illustrator, you’ll learn how to create gradient-based logos, primarily using only two colors: black and white.

Logo Design With Gradients

Why Gradient-Based Logos?

Sometimes you see logos and they have a gradient to them, and they blend really nicely over different colors. 

A good example would be the Adobe MAX logo—the more abstract one that was made out of lots of different triangles. It's very, very minimal, and it's all made up of gradients. So when you lay a color or any image behind it, no matter what it is, it looks fantastic and it works. 

How to Create a Gradient-Based Logo

Let's start by creating a polygon. So choose the Polygon Tool and left-click anywhere on the artboard. Set the number of Sides to 3. Don't worry about setting the radius—just click OK, and then just scale it up by dragging from the corner while holding Shift.

Now click on the Gradient panel on the right. (If you don't see that panel, just go to the top menu and choose Window > Gradient.) And if you click anywhere on that slider, you'll get the default black to white gradient. 

Triangle with the default black to white gradientTriangle with the default black to white gradientTriangle with the default black to white gradient

You can then duplicate the shape by holding Alt-Shift and dragging to the right. And then repeat this last action with Command-D to create a third triangle.

Three triangles with default black to white gradientThree triangles with default black to white gradientThree triangles with default black to white gradient

Let's rotate this now. So select everything, and hold Shift and rotate from one of the corners. 

Triangles rotated 180 degreesTriangles rotated 180 degreesTriangles rotated 180 degrees

Now drag over everything, and change the Transparency blending mode from Normal to Multiply.

And there we go. We've got a kind of W logo. So let's pretend that this is a fictional company and the logo is a W. What using Multiply does is that it just blends those shapes together so that they overlap with each other.

Triangles blendedTriangles blendedTriangles blended

Now let's bring the triangles in a bit so that they're closer to each other. Just drag them in manually, and then if you end up with unequal spacing, just select everything and from the Align panel, go to the Distribute Object section and select Horizontal Distribute Center, and it will space them equally apart. 

Triangles closer togetherTriangles closer togetherTriangles closer together

Varying the Logo's Background and Color

Now let's add a background color. You can use the Rectangle Tool and size it so that it covers the artboard. Pick a blue color from the Swatches panel, and then go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back.

Logo with blue backgroundLogo with blue backgroundLogo with blue background

As you can see, because we have the black and white gradient, it blends in really well with whatever color you lay behind this. So if you go back to the Swatches panel and change the global swatch, you can see that it works well with lots of different background colors.

We can also go back into each shape and adjust the rotation, reverse the gradients, change the angle, and so on. And you can also double click on a swatch in the gradient and then go and add colors as well. So let's add a dark blue color. And then you can use the Eyedropper Tool to copy that to the other two shapes.

Now, of course, we've introduced a specific color. So if we do start changing the background color, now we've got to be conscious about how these two colors blend together with the multiply blending mode. 

So we've got this really dark blue swatch that we used in the gradient, and we can add different background colors. For example, here it is with a coral color background, and those two colors are blending together, which I think works really well. 

Logo with dark blue gradient and coral backgroundLogo with dark blue gradient and coral backgroundLogo with dark blue gradient and coral background

Or here it is with a teal background:

Logo with a teal backgroundLogo with a teal backgroundLogo with a teal background

So you have a lot of flexibility here. It depends entirely what you're going for, but that is one way that you can use gradients within your logo design to make something that looks awesome and works with a variety of different backgrounds.

Watch the Full Course

If you found this video useful, then be sure to join me for the full course, 10 Essential Design Tips in Adobe Illustrator. This was just one of the ten essential design tips you'll learn, which will help you bring your creative ideas to life in Adobe Illustrator. Our ten tips will cover a variety of different techniques, helping you to boost your creativity and transfer your ideas to a digital canvas.

You can take this course straight away with a subscription to Envato Elements. For a single low monthly fee, you get access not only to this course, but also to our growing library of over 1,000 video courses and industry-leading eBooks on Envato Tuts+. 

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