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In this tutorial we're going to learn how to design a cool 3D logo by using simple shapes and applying transparency and a gradient. Let’s get started!


1. Prepare the document

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a new document in Adobe Illustrator with the following values:

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Step 2

Now let’s make a grid that measures 50x50px and in Preferences>Guides and Grid, input these values:

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Step 3

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

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2. Create the logo’s basic shapes

In this step let’s draw the structure of the logo with geometric shapes so we can define the logo’s final shape which we'll later apply color and gradients to.

Step 1

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

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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.

Now create two rectangles: one that's 50x50px and the another that's 50x25px, and place them centered in the middle of each ellipse. These will be the tips of our logo. 

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Step 3

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

Erase the parts we don’t need.

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Step 4

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

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3. Draw the edges

We've already drawn the basic shape and now we can draw the edges to add some depth to our logo. 

Step 1

Deactivate the Grid Snap and add a 0.50px Keyboard Increment. Go to Preferences>General. Select the left part of the arch 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 it 10 times to the right  and send to back. With the Shape Builder tool (Shift+M) delete the part we don’t want from the arch.

 

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Step 2

Select the right side of the arch 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.

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4. The magic of gradients and transparency

Once we're 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 follow the next steps carefully 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 edges of the arch.

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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 arch and move up once. Grab the red and yellow layers and click on Minus Front in Pathfinder.

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Step 3

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

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Step 4

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

Apply the gradient all along the bevel.

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5. Reflection and transparency

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

We're close to finishing 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 down two times pressing Shift. Select both and click on Minus Front in the Pathfinder

With the Gradient Tool (G) apply a white gradient  from a 50% opacity to 0% opacity.

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Step 2

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

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Step 3

Duplicate the upper part once more and with the Pen Tool (P) 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 with a 50% opacity.

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Step 4

Duplicate twice 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'll get a new halo light, fill it with a white fill (50% opacity).

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Step 5

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

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6. Final steps

Step 1

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

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Step 2

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

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Conclusions

And we're 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 can create something amazing using basic shapes.

With simple steps we've achieved a very professional look and  I hope you found this tutorial useful. Now you can create your own designs!

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

Now you can show the world what you have learned.

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