5 Tools for Designing Logos in Illustrator

THE PEN - Literally, the pen tool is the most important tool in adobe illustrator.



Literally, the pen tool is the most important tool in adobe illustrator.


It is used to create the anchor points that form the basis for designs created in Illustrator, and to connect lines to those points that will create the curves and shapes that are the building blocks of Illustrator.


Like any artistic tool, the Pen tool takes some time to learn. But also like other artistic tools, it encourages creativity. The Pen tool is flexible and inspiring in its broad functionality.


"The advantage of the Pen interface is it gave you absolute control over the curve. You didn’t draw a whole bunch of points and then hope the curve would look good. You could manipulate the curve to get the finest detail. It took some getting used to, but Illustrator is the tool of choice for graphic artists.” -John Edward Warnock (a cofounder of Adobe System Inc.)


#pen #pentool #illustrator #illustration #adobeillustrator #adobe #graphics #graphicdesigner #designer #calligraphy #calligraph #curves #creativity #shapes #flexible #artistictools #johnwarnock #johnwarnocker

Adobe Illustrator: My 5 Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools – Tehama Group Communications

By Miguel Villalobos

Adobe Illustrator is a popular software application that designers and artists use to create different variations of artwork. This program specializes in creating vector graphics and offers many different design tools that are great for creating things such as icons, logos and illustrations. The program can seem overwhelming for people who are just starting out, however, it does get easier over time. Throughout this piece, I will walk you through a few of my favorite tools in Illustrator that have helped me improve my workflow and skills.

The Blend Tool

The first tool I want to talk about is the Blend Tool. This tool can be found by going to Object > Blend. This tool can help you create unique and interesting blends between multiple objects, and has different settings that allow you to customize your blends as you work.

Below is an example of using Object > Blend > Make, while using the Smooth Color option. As you can see, it blends the shapes together and creates a gradient.

Here is an example of using the Blend Tool with letters, while changing the options from Smooth Color to Specified Steps. You can clarify how many steps you want between each shape. You can find this by going to Blend > Blend Options.

Smooth Tool

The next tool I want to talk about is the Smooth Tool. The Smooth Tool really lives up to its name. It helps you smooth out paths that may be a little more rough or wonky than you would prefer. It is great for helping sharpen up your attention to detail on different vector shapes.

In this example, I created a shape with a few rough edges. By selecting the Smooth Tool, and just running it over the anchor points a few times, it will smoothen out the edges for you.

Type on A Path Tool

The Type on a Path Tool is without a doubt one of my favorite tools in Illustrator. It allows for you to make text write along different paths that aren’t just horizontal or vertical. You can use it for any path that you create, whether it is by using just a plain shape or by creating a path with the Pen Tool.

Here is an example of how the Type on a Path Tool works. You can create a path using any form. For this example, I just used a circle. Using the Type on a Path Tool, you simply click on the path and it will turn your path into a guide for your text. From here, you can manipulate the text and the beginning/end of the path.

Here is an example of the tool being used on a different path that was created using the Pen Tool.

The Knife Tool

The next tool I want to focus on is the Knife Tool. The tool is extremely simple, yet extremely effective. It really does exactly what you would expect. It allows you to slice through paths, giving you more precision with your vector shape building.

As you can see, you can take any vectorized shape, and simply slice through the shape and it will create a new path. You can move or remove the new sliced part of your vector to fast track your process.

Paintbrush + Brush Library

The Paintbrush Tool is a tool that allows you to hand draw strokes onto your artboard. You can find the Paintbrush Tool on the side panel or by using its shortcut, B on the keyboard. The tool lets you give your projects more of a hands-on aesthetic to them.

Along with the Paintbrush tool, there is a whole library of different brush strokes you can utilize. You can find the Brush Library by going to Window > Brush Libraries. The Brush Library holds strokes such as watercolor brushes, calligraphic brushes, and even different types of borders that you can expand and vectorize.

Here is an example of the different types of brush strokes being applied.

Wrapping up!

Illustrator can be fun and with a little time and effort, it can become easy to use. All the different tools and icons can be intimidating at first, but instead of being afraid, just jump in and play around with them. I mean, what is the worst that can happen? When you finally learn how to use one, it can feel extremely gratifying. Add that feeling of gratification alongside gaining more overall skills as a designer, and it’s a win-win! Thank you for reading and I hope that you learned something new along the way!

5 Tools for Designing Logos in Illustrator

When designing logos in Adobe Illustrator, here are 5 tools (and one menu option) you’ll find essential:

Menu: Type > Create Outlines Direct Selection tool Pen tool Type tools Shape tools Shape Builder tool

Creating Outlines

In the Type menu there’s a Create Outlines option Cmd–Shift–O (Mac) or Ctrl–Shift–O (Windows). Although this isn’t a tool, it is a feature that is extremely important in logo design. Once you’ve converted your type into an outline it’s no longer editable as typed text. Instead, it becomes a series of shapes that can be altered like any other shape in Illustrator. It’s also a best practice to outline type before handing off your design to a client. This is because it makes your design unable to be edited and it allows your design to be opened on computers that don’t have the same font(s) installed.

In the example above the word Freestyle was typed, then converted to outlines so it could be altered further. The left example shows the type with a black fill, and the example on the right shows the same text viewed in outline mode.

The Direct Selection tool (‘A’ is the Keystroke for this tool)

It may see too obvious to mention, but everything begins with the Selection tools in Illustrator. The Selection tool comes in several varieties, including the Direct Selection tool, the Lasso tool, the Group Selection tool, and the Magic Wand tool but you’ll mostly be using the main Selection tool (V) and the Direct Selection tool (A). This distinction is very important, especially when creating logos.

The Selection tool allows you to select complete objects (and groups), while the Direct Selection tool allows you to select individual anchor points and line segments which gives you the power to customize and fine-tune shapes, images, and type.

In the example above the text was converted into outlines and the Direct Selection tool (A) was used to extend the right side of the ‘U’.

The Pen tool (P)

The Pen tool is the heart of Illustrator because it allows you to draw with precision and create any shape imaginable. It has a steeper learning curve than many of the other tools but it’s well worth the effort. Once you master this tool you can create any shape you want. With the Pen tool it’s important to know how to draw paths, add and remove anchor points, and create curves. It’s also important to know how to manipulate curves with the anchor point handles. It will take some practice to get comfortable with these techniques, but in time it can become second nature.

In the examples above, the Pen tool was used to draw the coffee beans on the logo on the left, and draw the lines for the waves for the logo on the right.

The Type Tool (T)

If you’re making a logo, you’ll likely be using type, either in the main logo or for supplemental assets. Unlike typing a document, however, you might need your type to curve around a circle or go in a vertical direction. The Type tool allows you to do so with the Type on a Path or Vertical Type tools. You can also kern and track type or change fonts when working with the Type tool.

In the example above, the name on the left is typed along a curve. The example on the right shows vertical as well as horizontally typed text.

Bonus: Touch Type Tool

The Touch Type tool lets you move, scale, and rotate individual letters in a piece of type without having to convert to outlines! This can be extremely useful when exploring options before you settle on a specific typeface, because the text is still live text so you can change the font.

Shape Tools

The shape tools are a series of tools that include Rectangle, Ellipse (circle), Rounded Rectangle, Polygon, and Star tools. Holding Shift while you drag, constrains the proportions of shapes and allows you to create a perfect circle or square. Using the shape tools brings an element of geometry to your work that can be very helpful.

Many of the best logos can be broken down into simple geometric shapes. In the example above the logo on the left was created with a series of geometric shapes but are partially hidden by clipping masks. The image on the right is the same logo shown in outline mode to show how the shapes overlap.

Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M)

The Shape Builder tool is used in conjunction with the shape tools. Though it’s possible to find alternative methods to accomplish the same objective (like the Pathfinder), the Shape Builder tool makes it easy to unite, subtract, or separate shapes, with a few clicks and drags. It can really help speed up your workflow once you get the hang of it.

Some logos include an abstract mark or symbol. In the examples above, the same two overlapping ovals were used to create a series of shapes using the Shape Builder tool. There are other ways to arrive at this result in Illustrator, but the Shape Builder tool can do it very efficiently.


Illustrator has many tools, but familiarizing yourself with these 5 tools, plus the Create Outlines menu option for outlining type, can help you create an efficient workflow so you can focus your creativity on designing the logo.

Leave A Comment