Illustrator is one of the best design programs for creating logos, since the final result will be in vector format.

How to Design a 3D Logo in Illustrator

Designing an eye-catching and memorable logo is as easy as choosing a font and adding a 3D effect. Illustrator is one of the best design programs for creating logos, since the final result will be in vector format, meaning the logo can be re-sized to fit any media from business cards to posters. The following tutorial has been done in Illustrator CS4, but you should be able to easily follow along in any CS version.

Step 1
Select the Type tool and type in your logo text using the font you desire. I chose to use Arno Pro at 60 pt. for this tutorial.

Type Tool

Step 2
Select the text using the Selection Tool and go to Effect>Warp>Arc. In the Warp Options box that opens, choose Arc in the Style drop down box, select Horizontal, enter a 10% bend, make sure the Horizontal distortion is set to -30% and Vertical is set to 0%. Hit OK.


Step 3
Now go to Effect>3D>Extrude & Bevel. Make sure the Position is set to Off-Axis Front. For the X, Y, and Z values enter -18, -26, and 8 degrees. Set the Extrude Depth to 20 pt, and make sure the Surface is set to Plastic Shading.


You may want to click on More Options and change the Shading Color to see the difference between the front and depth of the text.


Step 4
Next go to Object>Expand Appearance. This will convert your logo to paths and remove the effects.


Step 5
Now you will need to separate each part of your text object by going to Object>Ungroup. Do this several times to better break the letters apart.


Step 6
Hold down Shift while selecting each of the round corners of each letter. Once you have selected all of the round edges, open Pathfinder (Window>Pathfinder) and merge them together.


Then hold down Alt while clicking on the first Shape Mode button to expand the corners.


Step 7
Select the front layer of the letters (hold down Shift while left clicking on each one) and add a gradient in any color you wish to use. To do this, click on the Gradient button located on the far right of the screen. Double-click on one of the slider boxes. In the window that pops up, click on the Swatches box on the left of the window and select the color you desire. You can do the same for the second slider to create a multi-colored gradient or a single color gradient.


Step 8
Now select all of the depth paths of the letters (the gray areas). This is where Zoom comes in very handy, since it can be difficult to see all of the paths without a close-up look. Using the Eyedropper tool, click on the front layer of the letters to select the gradient. Make sure the depth paths are still selected.


Once you've applied the gradient to the depth paths, you may notice some paths you've missed. To fix this, using the Selection Tool, hold down Shift while clicking on those missed paths. Once you're confident all paths have been selected and the gradient applied, in the Gradient palette, change the gradient to a slightly darker shade than the gradient on the front of the text or to a complimentary gradient color.


Your 3D logo should now be finished and ready for application! Keep in mind that this technique is not limited to text only. You can also follow these steps for any logo shape to create a 3D effect that stands out on business cards, websites, and more!


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