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Retro Background Design in Illustrator

Posted on 28th September 2018
1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”. Make sure “Smart Guides” are on by going to View > Smart Guides or clicking Command/Control + U.

2 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), click on the Top-Left corner of your Canvas and input the same “Width” and “Height” of your document to make a rectangle that covers all of it and fill it with the color of your choice (we used a dark green from the “Swatches Panel”).

  1. Lock your Layer by clicking on the left side of its thumbnail in the and bringing out the small padlock icon. Then, click on the “Create New Layer” button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”.

4 - Create a second rectangle, but make it about 10 cm bigger on each side. To center it, use the “Horizontal and Vertical Align Center” options on your Top Menu and make sure that “Align to Artboard” is selected.

5 - Click on the Top-Left corner again to create another rectangular shape. This time use a value of 0.5 cm for both the “With” and “Height”. Fill it with another color (we used a light green), then drag it all the way to the Top-Right corner while holding the “Alt/Option and Shift” keys to duplicate it.

6 - With both squares selected, go to Object > Blend > Make. This will apply the default or last “Blend” settings.

7 - So, go back to Object > Blend > Blend Options Use “Specified Steps” for “Spacing” and a value of 40.

8 - Go to Object > Transform > Move, use a “Vertical Position” of 0.8 cm and click “Copy” instead of “OK”.

9 - Duplicate your last action to create a new line of squares using “Command/Control + D” and keep doing it until you fill all your document with squares. Select all of them and go to Object > Expand and make sure the “Object” and “Fill” boxes are checked before clicking “OK”.

10 - Select all your squares but not the “Background” rectangle and go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Command/Control + 8).

11 - Now, select your resulting “Compound Path” and the “Background” rectangle and align them with the “Horizontal and Vertical Align Center” options on your Top Menu but this time use “Align to Selection”.

12 - Select the “Background” rectangle, go to the “Swatches Panel” and click on the small button on the Bottom-Left corner to open a Menu, then navigate to Gradients > Water to open those Gradients. Select one of the as “Fill”. In the “Gradients Panel” you can modify the gradient you chose if needed.

13 - Select both the “Compound Path” and the “Background” rectangle, double-click on the “Rotate Tool” to open its settings and use a 336° Angle for the rotation.

14 - Go to the “Pathfinder Panel” and choose “Merge” and then “Divide”. Right-click on top of your artwork and choose “Ungroup”.

15 - Select all the squares and portions of them that are outside the Canvas and delete them.

16 - Make sure you are selecting all the small bits too. Repeat in each side and then, select everything, and “Group” it together (Command/Control + G).

17 - Go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Mesh (Shift + Command/Control + M). Use 4 “Rows and Columns”, then use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to click on the “Anchor Points” and move them around to create a distortion.

18 - Repeat with all the inner “Paths” until you are happy with the results.

19 - Go to the “Transparency Panel” and change the “Blending Mode” to “Hard Light” to create a different effect. You can change the “Fill” colors or the “Blending Mode” to get different results.

20 - You and add “Text” and use your “Artwork” as a “Background” for it.

by @lornacane

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