How to create vibrant logo in Adobe Illustrator

Hi, there. In today’s Adobe Illustrator’s tutorial we are going to create a vibrant letter M logo. No special effects required: no 3d, no mapping symbols, no textures or other tricks just sleight of hands tracing the sketch. Yes, it’s a pen tool tutorial along with the small addition of the width tool and swatches panel.

Pen tool can be that ugly guy, that wants to destroy your design. But sooner or later it becomes more friendly and you would notice that tracings are smooth as baby’s bottom. Just follow this simple rule:

One angle or curve = 3 anchor points.

3 anchor point rule

Equipped with this knowledge, let’s get started.


In order to put the scanned image or photo inside Adobe Illustrator, navigate to the File/Place ( Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+P ) and choose the picture. Then double click at the layer’s thumbnail and check “Dim image to”. To dim image is like putting tracing paper above the sketch.

Place image and dim the layer in Adobe Illustrator

Lock this layer and create a new one. Grab the pen tool (p) and start tracing.

Tracing logo with the pen tool Adobe Illustrator

Width tool

After finishing tracing, we need to adjust the weight of the stroke according to the initial sketch. Grab the width tool and place it at the top left curve. Holding Alt/opt, increase the weight beneath the node, then above the node.

Increase the stoke weight with width tool

Using the technique, widen the stroke all along the path. Make a duplicate and lock it on the new layer. Toggle the visibility of this layer off.

Duplicate of the layer

Gradient along the stroke

We are ready to pour some colors in to the waves. Navigate to the Window/Swatches. Create 8 equal squares with these hues (from left to right):

  1. Red #ef3e35
  2. Orange #fdb514
  3. Green-yellow #b3cd3a
  4. Green #529e47
  5. Cyan ( #6 on the image below ) #33cfdb
  6. Blue ( #5 ) #3787a0
  7. Dark-blue #0f7894
  8. Magenta: #c21e67

Create swatches

Select of all of these color squares and click at the group icon on swatches panel. In opened dialog box give a name to the swatches group and click ok.

Create a gradient from the swatches

We have a swatche’s group now and ready to create a gradient from them. Apply a gradient to the our waves, selecting the option “apply gradient along the stroke”. To add desired colors to our black and white gradient, just drag and drop swatch icon to the gradient slider. First and last color of our gradient should be the same ( #ef3e35 ) in order top create a smooth transition.

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