Create a clean retro badge in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial we are going to create a clean retro-looking badge/burst in Adobe Illustrator. These are great for adding to a website, advertisement, etc to help the text stand out.

Step 1

First off we are going to open up a 1200x1200px document in Adobe Illustrator.

Type out “AWESOME TUTORIALS BY DENIS DESIGNS” in black for now. Change the font so “AWESOME” and “BY DENIS DESIGNS” is in Adelle, and “TUTORIALS” is in League Gothic. “AWESOME”, “TUTORIALS”, and “BY DENIS DESIGNS” should all be in separate text boxes.

Step 2

Change the font size of “TUTORIALS” to 250pt, “AWESOME” to 60pt, and “BY DENIS DESIGNS” to 35pt. We can always adjust these font sizes later on, but they will work for now.

Step 3

Now we are going to start adding some shapes to our burst. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a box around “TUTORIALS” with a little space around the text. Change the background color to white, the stroke color to black, and move it behind the text with Ctrl+Shift+[

Step 4

Click on Type>Create Outlines, this will make our text into lines and points, which will be easier to deal with. To make sure that our text is lined up in the center of the box, click on the text and the box and go to Window>Align, to bring up the Align palette. Click on Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.

Step 5

Go to View, and make sure Smart Guides is checked. Now click on the box and drag a horizontal and vertical guide to the center, they should lock into place.

Select the Ellipse tool (L) and while holding Shift and Alt, make a circle starting at the center of the box. Change the color to black, with no stroke.

We also want to make a star/burst that will be a little wider than the circle. Click on the Star tool (under the same button as the Ellipse and Rectangle tool) and before you unclick, we want to make more points. Simply push the up button on your keyboard to add more points. Also to make the depth of the points more shallow, hold down Alt and make the bust smaller.

Step 6

We want to take the inner circle we made and shrink it down a little bit, while holding Shift and Alt. Change the color to none and the stroke to white. Make sure the star burst is behind everything with Ctrl+Shift+[.

Step 7

Take the circle, duplicate it with Copy and Past in Place (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+F). Shrink it down with Shift and Alt. Our text is going to go on this path, so click on the “AWESOME” text, copy and paste onto the path with the Type on a Path tool. Change the color to white. Go to Type>Type On A Path>Type On A Path Options and make sure Align to Path is Center.

Duplicate the “AWESOME” text and paste in “BY DENIS DESIGNS”. Now go to Type>Type On A Path>Type On A Path Options and click on Flip and make sure Align to Path is Center.

Hold Shift and rotate the “BY DENIS DESIGNS” text so it is on the bottom, change the color to white.

Step 8

We are going to turn our “TUTORIALS” box into a banner. Click on the box and duplicate it with Ctrl+C, Ctrl+F. Shrink it down horizontally so it overlaps the box a little bit. Hold down Shift and move the box down twice.

Click on the new box and using the Pen Tool click the center of the left side of the box. Hold Shift and move the point in twice.

Step 9

To connect the two boxes we are going to use the pen tool to make a triangle, something like what is below.

Step 10

Select the new box and triangle and group them with Ctrl+G. Move them to the back of everthing with Ctrl+Shift+[. Duplicate the grouped items, and go to Object>Transform>Reflect and bring it over to the other side.

Step 11

We want to soften the edge of our outer burst, so go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners, and change it to 10px.

Step 12

Duplicate the white stroke circle, and make the new circle a little bit bigger. We are going to change the smaller circle to a dotted line. To do this click on the smaller circle and then go to Window>Stroke. Check Dashed Line option, change the weight to 5 pt, change the Dash to 0, the gap to 12 and check Round Cap.

Step 13

Next we are going to give a retro shadow to our banner, so we are going to start off by making a rectangle starting at the back part of the banner and going just past the edge of the top part. Using the Pen tool, add a point to the middle of the right side of the rectangle and delete the top and bottom points to make a triangle.

Step 14

Hold shift and rotate it 90 degrees so the point is facing up. Go to Window>Brushes, and click on New Brush. Click on New Brush Pattern and then OK. Change the Colorization Method to Hue Shift and click OK.

Step 15

Draw a line from the top to the bottom of the back part of the banner. Click on our new brush in the Brush Palette. Make sure the points are sticking out and using Ctrl+[ move the shadow behind the top part of the banner. Go to Object>Expand Appearance.

Duplicate the Shadow, flip it 180 degrees and move it to the other side of the banner.

Step 16

As some final touches we are going to add some star accents. Click on the start tool, and use the up and down arrows to make the star have five points. Shrink down the star and put one on each side of the original star. Duplicate those stars and move them to the bottom as well.

To make sure our stars are in the middle of the burst, select the entire burst/banner (except the starts) and group with Ctrl+G. Now click on all the stars and group them. Click on the burst/banner and the stars, then in your Align palette (Window>Align) click on Horizontal Align Center.

Step 17

We are now going to arc the banner. Select all the elements of the banner group them with Ctrl+G. Go to Effect>Warp>Arc. Change the Bend to 10%. Go to Object>Expand Appearance.

Also click on the burst and go to Object Expand Appearance. Click on all the text and go to Type>Create Outlines. This will make all our effects and type into line and points, and make them easier to work with.

Step 18

To thicken up the some of the lines on the banner as well as the white circle, we are going to change the stroke to 5 pt.

Step 19

Now we can go in and start coloring our burst. I am going to use a retro semi-patriotic red (#C22D3E), white (#FEF0D9) and blue (#0A2f37) color scheme.

Step 20

Finally I want to make “TUTORIALS” stand out a little more, so I am going to add a 10 pt blue stroke around the text. Next I am going to duplicate “TUTORIAL”, make it my white color, remove the blue stroke and move it to the left 3 spaces and up 3.


Remember to make the image your own. Use any kind of color combinations, take away the dotted lines or stars, change the text, fonts, whatever.

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Only comments in English will be approved!


  1. Caleb

    Steps five and seven need to be rewritten to better explain how to use those features. After A LOT of work and Googling other sites, I understood what you were trying to say, but I was lost just reading your version.

  2. 17/08/2011

    Sorry about that. You can always ask on here and I can try to help you out and that way it will help others out too.

  3. 18/08/2011

    hey que bacano…me gusto mucho el tutorial, y esta muy bien explicado, lastima que no tengan tutoriales en idioma español, be’ll great!!!

    (TRANSLATION) hey ​​you … I really liked the tutorial, and is very well explained, it hurts not having tutorials in Spanish, be great!

  4. Chezo

    Very nice, it could be explained a bit better, but overall a great tutorial, thanks!

  5. Dave T

    Really enjoyed doing this tutorial – thank you!

  6. Great Tut! But I just wanted to suggest that all the effects and strokes on the back circle could be done to a single circle in the appearance panel. I did it both ways just for practice, and just like using the appearance panel since it makes it much easier to make changes.

  7. 18/10/2011

    I really like the vintage style. The effect is great.

  8. 17/11/2011

    Nice tut. Enjoyed it!

  9. Tan

    Thank you for the tutorial!

  10. George


    can’t seem to get the star shape right, is it okay if you post the .AI version of this for us?

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