How to create a thin line retro typewriter logotype in Illustrator
In this tutorial we’ll be creating a retro-style thin line typewriter logo for a book agency. We’ll go through the process working with basic shapes and functions of Adobe Illustrator and using custom images from Freepik to give our logo a balanced and completed look.
Creating the typewriter
Create a New Document of 800x600 px size, RGB Color Mode.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and single-click on the Artboard to open the pop-up Rectangle window. Make a 300x150 px shape.
Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select two bottom anchor points. Use the Live Corners feature of Adobe Illustrator to make the bottom corners rounded by pulling the circle marker up.
Create another rectangle of 350x40 px, forming a narrow stripe. Attach it to the top of the first shape.
Then select both shapes and head to the Align panel (Window > Align). Select Align to Artboard in the drop-down menu and click Horizontal Align Center.
Make the corners of the rectangle rounded, using the Live Corners function. You can adjust the Corner Radius of the shape from the control panel on top. Let’s set the value to 10 px.
Now take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make an even circle of 100x100 px size.
Let’s align the shapes to each other. Select both the circle and the rectangle base of our typewriter. Hold Alt and click the rectangle again, so that you see a thick selection, indicating a Key Object. It means that all the selected shapes will be aligned to this object. Click Horizontal Align Center in the Align panel – and there you have it!
And now let’s get rid of the upper part of the circle. First of all, select the rectangle base, Copy (Ctrl + C) it and Paste in Front (Ctrl + F). Select both the circle and the copy and use the Intersect function of the Pathfinder to cut the circle.
Let’s make a simple keyboard! Make a new rectangle of 260x100 px, using the Rectangle Tool (M) and attach it to the bottom of the typewriter base. Select the bottom anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and head to the upper control panel. From there, open the Corner drop-down options panel, select the Chamfer type of corner and set the Radius to 20 px.
Now it's time to add the keys. Arm yourself with the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 20x20 px circle. Hold Alt + Shift and drag the circle to the right, making a copy. Press Ctrl + D multiple times to make five more copies. Group (Ctrl + G) the row of keys and make two more copies by holding Alt + Shift and dragging the group down.
Select the top and bottom rows of keys and move them to the right a bit. Finally, delete the unneeded keys on the right in both rows.
Now let’s add a handle to the platen of our typewriter. Make two small shapes, using the Rectangle Tool (M) and Unite them in the Pathfinder. Attach the handle to the left side of the platen.
Let’s put a sheet of paper into our typewriter. Make a 190x120 px rectangle and align it horizontally to the base of the typewriter. Then select both the paper sheet and the platen and switch to the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M). Click anddrag over the paper and the platen in order to merge these objects into one single shape.
Now let’s add some decorative elements to the base of the typewriter to make it more detailed. Select the rectangle base of the typewriter and the semi-circle above it and duplicate (Ctrl + C > Ctrl + F) the shapes. Keeping the copies selected, take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M), hold Alt and click the circle to cut it out.
Now, as we have a new shape on top, let’s select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Set the Offset value to -15 px, creating a new shape inside. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Live Corners feature to make the corners of the new shape a bit rounded.
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to add a smaller rectangle in the center.
Adding the text
Use the Line Segment Tool (\) to add minor finishing details, such as text lines and a few short strokes on the typewriter itself.
And now we can actually turn our icon into a logo. Select everything (Ctrl + A) and set the Stroke Weight to 4 pt in the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). Set the Cap and Corner to the middle positions in the Stroke panel as well.
Let’s add some text beneath the typewriter in order to clearly illustrate the purpose of this logo. I'll use the free Debby font for the upper text line and Source Sans Pro for the underline, making the logo look balanced and completed. You can find these fonts in the attacments sectio.
Adding color and a background
Thin-lined objects are great for logos and icons for their flexible and versatile usability. You can use them both as outlines and as colored objects. And you can color them just in a few clicks, applying the Fill colors in the Color panel (Window > Color).
Let’s apply subtle retro-style colors to our typewriter. You can use the Eyedropper Tool (I) and hold Shift to pick the colors directly from the palette in the screenshot below.
Use this grungy Polished Stucco Texture Free Vector from Freepik collection that you can find in the attachments section. to make a nice background. Place it beneath the logotype (Shift + Ctrl + [), giving our image more of a vintage look. You can change the size of the Artboard (Shift + O), if needed, to make it fit the background.
As for the outlined version of the logo, let’s see how it looks above the trendy blurred background. Try picking contrast backgrounds, which are the best for this type of logo: light backgrounds for black logos and dark backgrounds for white outlines.
In this tutorial we’ll use this Footprints on the Floor Free Photo from Freepik, that you can find in the attachments section. Place it under our logo, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius value to 4 px. Now the background looks more out of focus, which makes our logo the main eye-catching element of the composition.
Great job! We’ve successfully finished this tutorial and created two different looks for our retro-style thin line typewriter logotype! We’ve used the basic shapes and the Pathfinder, as well as working with the Shape Builder Tool and some other functions of Adobe Illustrator. I hope you’ve discovered some useful tips and tricks that will help you make new logos and icons. Good luck!
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