In this tutorial we are going to learn how to design a 3D logo just using simple shapes that will help us that appearance and applying transparency and gradient. Let’s get started!

1. Prepare the document

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a new document in Adobe Illustrator with the next parameters.



Step 2

Now let’s make a grid that will measure 50x50px with 4 subdivisions in Preferences>Guides and grids, following the next values.



Step 3

Finally activate the grid (View>Show grid) and snap the objects to the grid (View>Snap to grid)


2. Create the logo’s basic shapes

On this step let’s draw the structure of the logo with geometric shapes so we can define the logo’s final shape which we will be able to apply color and gradients.

Step 1

Start drawing from the center of the artboard an ellipse with no fill color that’s 200x200px with the Ellipse Tool (L). Create another one that’s 100x100px in the middle of the first one.


Step 2

Create a new ellipse (150x150px) aligned with the center of the two first ones, and move it two times to the right with the arrow keys on your computer.

No create two rectangles: one that is 50x50px and the other one that is 50x25pz and place them in the middle of the two ellipses and centered this will make the tips of our design.


Step 3

Select all the shapes using the Shape Builder tool (shift+M) and we will merge the shapes created. First let’s merge the first part of the arc with any fill color (you can change it later) and to finish, merge the right part of the arc. And this is how we get two overlapped pieces.

Erase the parts we don’t need.


Step 4

Round the lower vertex using the Direct Selection Tool (A) until you get a convex arc. Remove the lines in both shapes.


3. Draw the edges

We have already drawn the basic shape and now we can draw the edges to add that appearance of depth in our logo. It will be very easy because we will be using the logo shapes.

Step 1

Deactivate the Grid Snap and add a 0.50px Keyboard Increment. Go to Preferences>General. Select the left part of the arc and move it 10 times with the keyboard to the left, and send it back (Object>Arrange>Send to back).

Duplicate (Ctrl+C Crtl+F) the other part, move to the right 10 times and send back. With the Shape Builder tool (Shidt+M) delete the part we don’t want from the arc.



Step 2

Select the right side of the arc and duplicate it, then move it 10 times to the right and send it back (Object>Arrange>Send Backward). Apply a darker fill color to distinguish it.


4. The magic of gradients and transparency

Once we are done with the basic shape and the edges, it’s time to add some magic by applying gradients, transparency layers and bevel edges to get our 3D Effect.

So look closely at the next steps to get amazing results. Let’s go!

Step 1

Apply a linear gradient with the Gradient Tool (G) to the left part and another one for the back part of the logo. Apply another gradient for the arc edges.


Steps 2

Select the upper part and duplicate (Ctrl+C Ctrl+F) and fill it with yellow. Duplicate once more and fill with red.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the lower point of the arc and move them up once. Grab the red and yellow layers and click on Minus Front in Pathfinder.


Step 3

Repeat the same process with the same part of the arc, with the edges to get the bevel effect.



Step 4

Fill the bevels with a transparent gradient. We put white in both ends 0% gradient and at the position of the 50% apply a white filling a 75% of opacity.

Apply the gradient all along the bevel.


5. Reflection and transparency

Our logo is starting to look a bit more realistic, son now let’s add reflections and lights to add even more realism.

We are close to finish and it’s looking great!

Step 1

Duplicate the upper part two times and apply yellow to the first copy and red to the second.

Move it 3 times to the left and two times down pressing Shift. Selecting both click on Minus Front from Pathfinder

With the Gradient Tool (G) apply a gradient from white (50% opacity) and on the other end white (0% opacity).


Step 2

Create a halo on the upper and lower part using the same method showed in the previous steps. Apply a white filling 50% of opacity and position 50%.


Step 3

Duplicate the upper part once more and with the Pen Tool (P) and draw a curve over it. Try to follow the same path.

Select the stroke and the overlap and Divide with the Pathfinder. Ungroup (Object>Ungroup) the object and delete the rest. Apply a white gradient 50% opacity.


Step 4

Duplicate two time and fill with yellow and red. With the Pen Tool (P) create an anchor point in the middle and move up.

Minus Front again and you will get a new halo light, fill it with a white fill (50% opacity).


Step 5

Follow the same steps and add another reflection on the upper and lower part.


6. Final steps

Step 1

Select the logo and group up (Ctrl+G). Duplicate (Ctrl+F) flip vertically and horizontally (Object>Transform>Reflect) and align everything to make it look like an N. Group everything.


Step 2

Now we will create a background with the Rectangle Tool (M). Make a rectangle that is as big as the artboard (800x600px) in dark blue. Send it back and center the logo.



And we are done!

As you see making a logo with this appearance might seem very complicated, but it’s not, it’s just a matter of practice and seeing things from another perspective, that way we will be able to create something amazing using basic shapes.

With simple steps we have achieved a very professional look and hope you found this tutorial useful. Now you can create your own designs with the appearance.

Try and explore your own style and tell me how it went! Follow my work through my social media down here!

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