Deke’s Techniques: Creating a currency-style emblem in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke McClelland shows you how to use Adobe Illustrator to create a filigree emblem worthy of being used in your money-like design.

Deke begins with a dark background covered with intricate, scaled, hypotrochoid patterns based on last week’s Spirograph technique:

Spirograph-style filigree emblem background in Adobe Illustrator

Next, he adds some scalloping to the edges of the black background circle using the Distort & Transform effect called Zig Zag. By setting the points to Smooth, the default sharp corners of the Zig Zag effect become gentle waves:

Spirograph-style background with scalloped edges and Zig Zag effect

By duplicating the effect and turning it 9 degrees, Deke creates a second set of scalloped edges that will come in handy for the next step.

Spirograph-style emblem with a second set of scalloped edges

After moving the two scallop shapes to the top layer, deleting their fills, and applying a 4-point white stroke and a 6-point black stroke to each, the result is this intertwined braid around the edges of the Great Seal of Deke:

Emblem with an intertwined braid effect on the outer rim

In order to make the braid a continuous shape (as opposed to looking like two intertwined lines), Deke moves the Transform effect up above the Stroke effects in the Appearance panel. Then to give his emblem a more American-currency hue, he changes the white stroke color to a pale green.

Emblem with a green braided outer rim

He also applies that pale money-green fill to the 5 character and gives it a shadow by creating a copy of the fill and using Transform to move the shadow down and to the right:

Emblem with a green fill and dropped shadow

Deke then adds another Stroke effect to beef up the shadow, applies a thin stroke above the green fill, and uses the Offset Path effect set to a negative value (-3) to really sell the currency effect:

Emblem with an Offset Path effect on the 5 character

Finally, the filigree lines created with the Spirograph pattern are given the same pale green color. In the video, you’ll see the quick tips Deke uses to select all those paths and make sure no pale green lines extend beyond the emblem. The result is this currency-like seal:

Next week, Deke begins his Halloween techniques weeks!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com
• All Illustrator courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

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