Creating a retro background logo design is easy in Adobe Illustrator CC.

Armed with simple shapes, text effects and some shape building, you’ll have a retro logo ready to go in 5 steps! I’ve done a simple retro coffee shop logo here, but leverage these design techniques to all sorts of logo design ideas! Become a Skillshare member and hone your design techniques for $12.00 a month. (tutorial by Mary Winkler).

Step 1

Start with the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a large rectangle around your artboard. This will form your background. Lock it in the Layers panel. Draw another rectangle. This one will be narrow, and a darker brown than the tan background.

Select the narrow rectangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Make sure you have Horizontal selected. I’ve made the bend here at 21%, but change the percent to play with the degree. Expand under Object. 

1. Draw a small rectangle with the Rectangle Tool once more. This one will serve as the tail of the banner, so it should have the same width as the one drawn previously.

2. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a triangle that overlaps the rectangle and intersects both end points.

3. Select both shapes and hit Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) your “flag” object and Reflect it over a Vertical Axis. 

1. Rotate them 20° and -20° respectively so they are (almost) parallel to the arc of the long banner shape. Make sure they remain behind that banner in the Layers panel. Additionally, apply a 2pt weight stroke to the main banner shape that matches the color of the background.

2. I’ve hidden the banner shape so it’s easier to see this step of adding the banner’s shadow shapes. Once again, using the Pen Tool, I’ve drawn triangles on either side.

3. Note how the triangles line up with the edge of the flag shapes from the previous section. they’re the underside of the folded banner (if this was a tangible ribbon). Keep your workspace organized by Grouping (Control-G) these banner components together.

Step 2

Use the Ellipse Tool in order to draw a large circle behind the banner group.

Draw a smaller circle within the first. Set the fill color to a light cream (lighter than the background). Group these shapes together.

Step 3

In order to create a scalloped design around a circle, which forms the center of the logo design, we’ll need to make a simple custom brush. Draw a small circle with the Ellipse Tool. Select it and hit New Brush… in the Brushespanel. Choose the Scatter brush and make sure the Rotation of the brush is relative to the Path. Hit OK and move on below.

Draw a circle, fill it with a flat color, and apply the newly made brush (now in the Brushes panel) to the stroke of the circle. You may need to adjust the circle or brush size in order to make sure each scallop is perfectly spaced.

Expand the scalloped circle in Object.

Ungroup (you will have to do so a couple times in order to release all of the shapes) and select only the central circle and those around it. Group these together and delete the other, “invisible” shapes (those squares around the circles seen in the previous image).

Unite all of these shapes together in the Pathfinder panel.

Apply a Radial Gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) to the flower-like shape (make sure you’ve placed it in the center of the previously drawn circles within the logo design). The gradient should go from dark brown in the center to medium brown.

Step 4

1. Let’s create our mug shape. Due to the simplicity of the logo’s design, I’ll be omitting a handle, though you can include one. Start with an ellipse. This will form the top of the mug.

2. The sides, drawn with the Pen Tool start at the outer edges of the top ellipse and curve downward. I found it easiest to draw one shape (on the left side) and to Copy and Paste it for the other side (after Reflecting it over aVertical Axis).

3. The bottom edge of the mug is another ellipse. This one much smaller than the first. Alternatively, you can draw the top and bottom ellipses first, and then create the side shapes.

Unite the light colored mug shape in the Pathfinder panel. Place the mug in the center (though towards the bottom of) the circles of the logo (I’ve hidden the banner again for visibility’s sake). Draw a dark brown ellipse for the opening and coffee in the mug.

Since I’m using a graphics tablet, I found it easiest to draw steam shapes with the Pencil Tool (N). Alternatively, you can use the Pen Tool in order to draw meandering shapes coming up from the mug.

Step 5

The last step is to create the simple text on the logo itself and to give the logo that scratchy, printed look to it. Starting with the Type tool (T), write out your business name in a Sans-serif font. In this case, I chose Bebas for its simplicity and long/narrow look to the letters.

Expand the type in Object and Arc the text, as was done with the banner in the first step so it fits the same angle as the banner itself. If you’ve got additional words to add (conjunctions, articles, etc) within your business name use the same font and simply Scale them down and Rotate as needed. The lines were drawn with the Line Segment Tool (\)with a 1pt Stroke Weight.

Finally, after Grouping together your entire design, draw a large rectangle over the entire image in either black or a very dark brown as the fill color. Go to Effect > Pixelate > Mezzotint with the type set to Short Lines. Additionally, in the Appearance panel, set the Blend Mode to Screen and Opacity to 24%.

Great job, You’re Done With Your Retro Background Logo!

In five easy steps, you’ve created a simple, effective retro logo for a coffee shop. Design techniques like these can be applied to all sorts of retro logo designs and background logo designs based on your or your client’s needs. Change the colors, apply different textures to the backgrounds or all over the image, or play with the amount of detail you add into the design. Whatever you do, create it in Illustrator and keep your designs scalable and applicable to all sorts of print, web, and product use, and check out more awesome logo design and Illustrator class on Skillshare or sign up to teach a class yourself! 

Written by:

Nicole Kamra