How to Make a Banner in Adobe Illustrator

October 10, 2019

– [Helen] Hello,
I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this Design
Cuts video tutorial on creating a banner
in Illustrator. We’re gonna make this
banner from scratch so I’ve already
created a document, it’s in RGB colour mode and it’s 1,000 pixels
by 1,000 pixels but your image could
be any size you like. We’re going to start
with a rectangle, so I’m just gonna click
on the rectangle tool and I’m going to
drag out a rectangle and this is going to be
the sort of loopy bit of the banner, so you’re
gonna want to make it about the size that you
want your banner to be. I’m going to fill
it with a colour and I’m going to
remove the stroke but before we go too far, let’s have a look at the colours that we’re going to use. What I’m gonna do is sample
a blue colour to use, so let’s just select my shape. I’m gonna double click
on the colour here and I’m going to select
a sort of blue to use. Now, I’m gonna choose
the darkest blue that I want to
use at this point. So, let’s call that good. Now I’m going to the
colour guide panel and it’s over here but you can also get to
it by choosing Window and then Colour Guide. Now, when you select a colour and go for the colour guide, you’ll see here that you
you get shades and tints of the colour. If you’re not seeing those, you can just come in
here to the flyer menu and choose shades and tints and this is what I want. I want these colours
to be the colours that I get to choose from. So, I’m clicking on one and
then holding the shift key down as I click on the last one, so I have all of these
colours selected. From the flyer menu here, I’m just going to choose
save colours as swatches. Now when I go to the
swatches palette, you’ll see that I have
these colours saved as a swatch, now let me
reselect my rectangle. I’m gonna choose this
colour for the actual banner but I’ve got some
adjacent colours that can be used
for other elements. Now, while I’ve got this
shape already created, I’m just going to alt or
option drag a duplicate away. I just need to tuck another
piece away for safekeeping. I’m going to shorten it
a little bit width wise but I’m going to
leave the height as exactly the same height as this piece here. You want to keep these two
pieces the same height. So, let’s focus on
this piece here. What I want to do is to
make it a little bit wavy, so with it selected, I’m going to choose Object and then I’ll choose
Envelope Distort, Make With Warp. This gives me access to a
whole heap of warp options that are built into Illustrator and the one I’m going to
use here right now is flag. So, from the Style
dropdown list, I’m just selecting flag. Now, I want it to be adjusted
in a horizontal direction, so I’m going to
select horizontal and I could choose
any value here, so I’m just looking at
what I’m going to get and I’m just looking to
see if I can get a shape that’s going to
be pleasing to me. So, you can go in a negative or a positive percentage value on this blend slider
to get what you want. When you’re happy
with it, click OK. Right now we have a shape
that has a warp applied to it and you’ll see that
whenever we select it, we’ve still got this
sort of warp lines on it. We need to get rid of those, so I’m going to choose
Object and then Expand. Now, I just want to expand
the object, not the fill, so I’m just going to
click Object and click OK and that gives me an object now that is not subject
to that removable warp but if we have a look at it by selecting on it with
the direct selection tool, you’ll see that it’s got a
very, very thick blue outline and the reason for this is that there are lots and
lots of anchor points here. Way, way more than we need. So, back to the selection tool, select over the shape and let’s choose
Object, Path, Simplify. The simplify tool
allows us to reduce the number of points on a path making it a lot
simpler than it was. With preview turned on,
I’ve got my angle threshold set to zero. My curve precision is
sort of up around the 80s but you can make it
whatever value you like. The original shape had 268 points on it and now it only has
10 anchor points. A much, much simpler
shape to be working with, so I’ll just click OK. Now let’s focus on
this little piece here which is going to be
the tail of this banner and we’re gonna
make two out of it but before we do, let’s go and make
it the right shape. So, with it selected I’m
going to choose Object, Path and then add anchor points. That adds some extra anchor
points around the shape, in particular an
anchor point over here in the middle of the side. If I select the
direct selection tool, I can now click on
that anchor point and just drag it in to make
that telltale little V shape in the end of my rectangle, so this is going to
be part of my banner. When I’m happy with that, I’ll select over it and we’re going
to warp this too. Object, Envelope
Distort, Make With Warp. We’re not going to
use flag this time because that’s giving us
a bit too much of a bend. I’m going to use rise. Now, with rise,
you can experiment with the values
you’re going to use. You’re going to want
to do horizontal ’cause vertical just is nonsense for this particular project but you may want your rise to
go in different directions. I’m gonna settle for one that’s going sort of
up in this direction but you can make a choice as to what works best for you. I’ll click OK. Now, I’m thinking
that this shape is probably a bit too big, so I’m going to
shorten it a little bit before I progress any further. With it selected, I’m again going to expand it to get rid of these warp lines. Object, Expand. I’m just going to expand
the object, not the fill and I’ll click OK. Again, this one’s going
to have lots and lots of anchor points, so selecting
if I’m going to choose Object and then Path and Simplify. If has 122 points. I can reduce it down to
a lot less than that. I just wanna get
sort of a strong edge and for this I’m gonna set
my curve precision to 100%. My angle threshold is zero. I’m getting 22 points but I think it’s worth it to
get these edges nice and sharp, so I’ll click OK. Again, with the selection
tool still selected I’m just gonna move this
into position a little bit, I want to recolor it, so the fill colour
is at the fore, so let’s just go and apply a
slightly darker colour to it. You can see that right now it’s in front of the
sort of banner shape. I want to put it behind, so I’ll choose Object, Arrange and then Send To Back and then puts it behind
the banner itself and at this point I
can sort of move it into position wherever
I want it to be and I could even rotate it a
little bit should I wish to. I need a second one
of these over here, so the easiest way to do that is just make a
duplicate of this. I’ll choose Object, Transform and then Reflect ’cause
I want this one to go in the opposite direction, so I’ll choose horizontal
as the reflection. So, that was the original, this is going to
be the duplicate. Because I want a
second one of these, I’m gonna click Copy. Let’s take our
duplicate over here and of course we need to
flip it over the vertical, so let’s choose
Object, Transform and we’ll choose Reflect
and then Vertical and it’s pointing in
the right direction, so I’ll just click OK. I don’t need to
click copy this time ’cause I’ve already
got the copy I need. Now at this point I’m
just going to place it into position and if I need to, I could just straighten
it up a little bit. At this point, if
you think the element is a little bit long, you can scrunch it up. It doesn’t matter if these
two are different lengths ’cause that just gives it a
slightly more organic look. The next thing we need to do is to add the shading
in behind these, so I’m going to zoom in here. I’m going to select
the zoom tool and just zoom in so we can
see the area we’re working in. I’m going to use the
pen tool to do this. Now, a lot of people
really hate the pen tool but it’s fairly easy job for
the pen tool in this case. With the pen tool selected, you’re gonna hover over
this anchor point here and you’ll see the
word anchor appear when you hover over it, so you’re just going
to click and drag, so don’t let go of
the left mouse button until you’ve actually
clicked and dragged and we’re gonna go off in the
direction we’re heading in which is sort of over here. So, I’ve got that first point, now I’m gonna get
the second point. Again, hovering over
the anchor point in the corner here and
just clicking and dragging to make a nice
sort of loop here. Now, you can see that right now I’ve got the rubber band showing but you can see that the
direction I’m headed off in is not a happy one. I wanna go down here and everything’s
sort of bending. Well, I can make
this come with me if I hold the alt key on a
PC, the option key on a Mac and I’m just gonna
hover over the handle and just drag it down until it’s in the right line, the line I wanna head off in and then I’ll let go. Now I’m gonna come down here and I’m just going
to make this shape. I need to keep inside
this banner piece here but I just wanna make
a sort of larger shape, much more of a shape
than I actually need but that’s fine ’cause it’s
gonna tuck in behind everything. With the shape now selected, I’m just going to click
on it to select it. I can make it a darker colour, so let’s go and make
it this darker colour. We’re also going to push
it behind everything with Object, Arrange and we’re just going to do
Send Backwards this time. We don’t want to
send it to the back ’cause that would send
it behind this piece. It needs to be sandwiched
between these two pieces. Now let’s go to the
other end of the banner and do the exact same thing
again with the pen tool. Click on the pen tool, I’m gonna click here
to start my shape. I’m going to click and drag and head off in the approximate
direction I want to go in. I’m gonna get to
here, click and drag. I’m not going to let go
of the left mouse button ’cause I have to swing
this handle around, so I’ll hold the
alt or option key as I swing it around to point in the direction of the edge of this lighter
blue piece of the banner. Let go of the left mouse button, let go the alt or option key. Now I’m gonna come up here and make my shape. Just close up the shape. It’s the right colour. I’m going to the selection tool. I’ll choose Object, Arrange and then Send Backwards again. I just want it to be sandwiched
between these two shapes, not sent to the very back. I’m gonna hold down
the control key, command on a Mac, and
press the number zero. That just zooms
everything back out. At this point, we can have
a look in the last palette and see what we’ve got because it’s not a
totally pretty sight. I’m just gonna make
my layer options a little bit larger here so that we can see
what’s going on and you’ll see that I’ve
got a few groups here but if I open up these groups, each of those groups has only got one object in it, so they’re unnecessary groups. So, with my entire
shape selected, I’m just gonna choose
Object, Ungroup and make sure that now I
just have individual paths. I like to keep my layers palette as clean and clear as possible so I don’t have just single
objects inside groups when that doesn’t
make any sense. At this point I could
put this entire object in a group now, so I just select it and
choose Object, Group and then I would have a
banner that I could use. Now, I’m just gonna undo that because I want to
show you something because some people might
be a little bit concerned that I have a piece that
is sort of this shape when it really should
perhaps in their minds be the cutout shape that we see in the actual drawing, so let me just undo that. If you want this shape
paste to be just that shape, you’ll select on this object and you need to make
a duplicate of it. Edit, Copy, Edit,
Paste in Place. It’s critical that
it’s pasted in place. With it selected, you can
hold down the shift key as you click on this shape
that you want to make into sort just a smaller
triangular shape. With those two objects selected, you can see I’ve
got the path here and this shape selected. I’m going to the
path finder tool. If you don’t see the
path finder here, choose Window and
then Path Finder. What I’m gonna do here
is click on minus front and that’s going to
use this larger piece to clip away the
unnecessary portion of the one behind
and you can see now that’s the piece that I’ve got. If you didn’t make a
duplicate before you did that, you’d have lost
this piece entirely, so we could do the
same over here, select on this one,
choose Edit, Copy, Edit, Paste in Place, critical step there, shift click on this shape to select it, go
to the path finder, click minus front and you now have
this little piece instead of the larger
uneven shaped piece. Now, if you want to
do the same thing with the piece behind, you could do that too. I’m going to select this
piece and this piece. I need to make a
duplicate of them, so I’ll choose Edit, Copy,
Edit, Paste in Place. They’re still selected so
I’m gonna leave them selected as I shift click
on this piece here and again, I’m going back to
my path finder, minus front. You’ll see that the banner
looks exactly the same but this piece has had the
extra piece cut out of it, so we could do the
same on this side should we wish to. I’m not going to do
that at this stage but I am going to
ungroup everything and then regroup it. So, I’ll choose Object, Ungroup just to get rid of these groups. I seem to have got a few paths
that I don’t really want here so let’s just go and
select and delete them. I think they’re just
extraneous little pieces here. If you find bits
that you don’t need that are not really helping, you can just get rid of them. Now let’s select
over everything, let’s group it so
that everything is in
just a single group and so, we now have
our banner element. If you wanna be able to use that over and over again you
could save it as a symbol. I’ll select over it and I’m going to the
Symbols palette here. The sensible thing at this point is to select all of your symbols by clicking on the first one, shift click on the last
and just get rid of them, just drop them all
in the trashcan. Now, let’s take our banner and make a symbol of it. I’m just gonna give
it the name Banner. You don’t have to name
it if you don’t want to. You don’t need to select
anything here in particular. It’s just fine to
add it as a symbol. Now, at the moment these
two objects are connected, so if you make a
change to this one, you’re going to
change the symbol, so let’s just click here to break the link to the symbol, so they’re now Independent. We can save this
is as a symbol file by clicking the fly out menu and choose Save Symbol Library. You’ll open up the location where Illustrator
saves your symbols to. I’m just gonna call this
Banner and click Save. So, it can now be
opened and used in any Illustrator
document in future. So, I now have my banner. I’ve also got it
saved as a symbol that I could use any time. I hope that you’ve
enjoyed learning these Illustrator techniques. Let us know what you think in the comments below and give us a thumbs up if
you enjoyed this tutorial.

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