Introduction: How to Create a Basic Vector Logo in Adobe Illustrator

The ability to create your own logo for your resume, website, or product sits in the palm of your hand. Although diving into graphic design is an intense journey to start, it is surprisingly simple to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator. Here you will be shown how to create a basic vector logo that has the correct resolution and color mode. The pen tool will be utilized, the shape tool and the basic functions of layers will be covered.

Step 1: Before We Begin

Level of Experience Suggested:

These instructions are aimed towards beginners to Ai. Basic computer knowledge is required. If you can work with Microsoft Word or basic programs like that you are knowledgeable enough for these instructions. It would be a good idea to watch a tutorial from about the basic layout of Ai before doing this tutorial if you need to work fast.

Time Required:

Half an hour to an hour depending on experience level.

Materials Needed:

Quick Note:

If there are any jarring issues within the program that these instructions don’t explain enough in depth, or if you would like to learn more about Adobe Illustrator head over to it is a great resource.

If you have any issues downloading Ai or want to see if your computer has the specs to run it click on this link,

Warning! It is imperative that you save your Ai document regularly. Ai is a great program but it is a very large program, and is prone to unexpected closing.

Step 2: Creating the Document

The first step is to open Ai. In the upper left corner there is a button that says “Create new…”. Click on that.

A window will open that contains different options for creating new documents. Since our goal is to create a logo that has a high resolution for print, we will create our document from the print section. So, click on the print section it is located in the top bar in the middle.

Once you have selected print, next click on the letter option directly under the blank document presets section.

Next, in the preset details make sure the orientation is set vertical. Then make sure the color mode is set to CYMK color and the raster effects is set to High (300 ppi).

Lastly, click the create button, it is on the bottom right corner and it is blue. This will open our document and we will be ready to start designing!

Step 3: Setting Up the Workspace

To begin, let’s set our workspace to painting. In the very right upper corner your document will most likely open up in the essentials mode. Click the arrow and a drop down menu will show. Choose the painting option. This is the best workspace option for logo design.

From a quick look at Ai, you will see the main toolbar on the left. This is where we will select our tools we will use to design.

Also, note the layers panel towards the upper right corner under the color panel. We will be using both of these panels as well.

Step 4: Starting With the Shape Tool

On the main toolbar we previously took note of, we will select the ellipse option on the shape tool. At first, the shape tool will be set to 'rectangle'. We need to change it to the ellipse option. To do this, click and hold until a sub menu appears. While still holding the left mouse button, hover over the ellipse option and release. Now the symbol for the shape tool will appear as an ellipse instead of a rectangle.

Now that you have the correct tool selected, on the white space shift click and hold, then drag out to create a circle shape. The reason we are holding the shift key when creating our shape is to maintain equal size on all sides to create a perfect shape. If a large plus sign appears on your shape, you know that it is equal.

I drug mine out to 7x7 inches. The size of your shape will appear in a little box while you are creating it before you release. It is not imperative that your circle is 7x7 inches, but it is easier to work on a larger graphic than a small one.

If you create your shape and it is not centered enough in your workspace, select the selection tool by hitting "v" on your keyboard or select the selection tool from the main toolbar. It is located right at the top of the toolbar. Click and drag your shape to the center of the page.

Step 5: Filling in the Circle

To fill the circle in with black, use the selection tool located on the top of the main toolbar.

Select the circle and go to the swatches panel.

There will be a white box with a red line through it. That means that the content of the circle is empty and has no color. Click that empty box and select the black color from the swatches panel.

Your circle should now be completely black.

Step 6: Creating a New Layer

Now that you have the base of your logo finished, it is time to add a new layer so we can continue on. The point of layers is to keep your design organized, and it is a lot easier to create depth with layers. We are going to add a layer on top of our current layer to add more details to our logo.

So, direct your attention to the layers panel and select the new layer button.

Layer 2 will automatically pop up above the first layer. This is what we want. Now, if you want to adjust the content in the first layer, or “bottom” layer, you have to make sure Layer 1 is selected and highlighted. If you want to adjust the content in the “top”, make sure Layer 2 is selected and highlighted. For the next step we will be working in Layer 2. So, to keep the bottom layer from moving around when we are trying to work on top of it, let’s lock Layer 1.

To lock Layer 1, click the empty box next to the “eye symbol” in the layers panel. After you have done this, the content in Layer 1 will be un-editable until it is unlocked. If you need to unlock it, just click the pad lock symbol that showed up after we locked it, and it will be editable again.

To prepare for the next step, click the pen tool that is three tools below the selection tool.

If you have anymore questions about layers, reference this tutorial:

Step 7: Setting Up the Pen Tool

Now that you have the pen tool selected, make sure you are currently working in layer 2. If you are, it will be highlighted.

Direct your attention to the swatches panel again. Make sure the fill is empty and the outline is set to white, as pictured above.

Hover over your circle. Once you're on the center of the circle, a small purple text will pop up reading "center". This will be the starting point of our pen stroke.

Step 8: First Stroke With the Pen Tool

The pen tool is not a click and drag tool. All you need to do is click to start the line and click to end it. In this graphic, to keep our lines perfectly straight, we are going to utilize the shift key once more.

So, starting at the center that we found previously and while holding the shift key, click once on the center, aim the line at a diagonal, and click on the edge of the circle to close the line.

To deselect the line we just created, hit "v" on your keyboard, or click on the selection tool.

Now, reselect the pen tool, and repeat the same thing we just did, but aim it in the opposite direction.

Deselect the line once more.

If you have any questions about the pen tool go too:

Step 9: Thicken the Line

Using the selection tool, select the line we just created.

On the top bar, find the stroke panel. Click the up arrow until the stroke is set to 4pt. This thickens our line and makes it more visible.

Reselect the pen tool.

Step 10: Adding More Lines

Using the same method we used to create the first lines, create two more in a similar area as pictured.

Step 11: Creating Another Circle

Using the same method we used before to create our large black circle, create a smaller circle and fill it in with white.

Step 12: Adding More Lines

Using the same method we previously used to create the lines, add two more triangle shapes in the areas pictures above.

If you have kept the first layer locked, there should be no issue with our lines and circles staying in place.

Step 13: Add Your Own Creativity

What we have created is a very basic logo. Feel free to add more layers and make changes to the design to make it your own!

Here is a great site to give you some inspiration:

Also if you want to add some colors, here is a great color generator:

The reason why we created this logo in black and white is most professional designers create logos in black and white before adding color. With logos, simplicity is best! If a logo is clean and attention grabbing in black and white it is a successful logo. They shouldn't depend on color to grab attention, color should just be a fun compliment to the design, not a crutch.

Step 14: Setting Up for Print and Web

Professional printing is an in depth topic. Although it is possible to achieve a professional level print outside of a print shop, the printer you need to buy for that would be thousands of dollars.

So, to save money most people send things they need printed to a printing shop. They are found widely just google print shops in your area. If you want to print your logo instead of exporting it as a PNG as shown in the pictures, export it as a TIFF. It is the same process as exporting as a PNG, just select TIFF instead of PNG. Then, move your TIFF to a flash drive and bring it to a print shop. Since we already set up our document ready for print, you don't need to worry about changing the resolution.

Since most people will just upload their logo to a website or add it onto their resume, the demo above shows how to export to a PNG since that is the correct format for web.

Under file, go to export, then go to export as.

Next select PNG (or TIFF). If you selected PNG make sure you select transparent for the background. Although I set the resolution high, you can set yours to as low as 72ppi if you're just using it for web.