How To Create a Retro VHS Cassette Style Poster Design in Illustrator

How To Create a Retro VHS Cassette Style Poster Design in Illustrator

October 5, 2019 24 By Peter Engel


How’s it going everyone, this is Chris from
Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Illustrator. Today we’re going to have fun creating a retro
style poster based on the artwork of old VHS cassette covers. We’ll use Illustrator to construct the design
with text and shape elements, then we’ll quickly send the final artwork over to Photoshop to
give it an aged appearance with texture overlays. You can find plenty of inspiration from Google
Images and Pinterest, where you can pick out common aesthetics and mix and match the different
elements to create your own custom design. This is the artwork I’ll be producing in this
tutorial, it uses the popular trend of colourful stripes and retro shape patterns, combined
with simple text elements that represent the various features displayed on the authentic
examples. Open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new
document. I’ll be creating an A3 sized poster, which
is a preset in Illustrator, but with the units set to Millimetres and a portrait orientation. Bleed will be required is you want to get
the poster printed, so we might as well add it, then for the same reason the color mode
is set to CMYK. A retro style colour scheme is the foundation
of any retro design. I used Coolors to find a cool palette. You can hit spacebar to randomly generate
different colours, then lock certain ones to narrow down your selection. You can either note down the hues, or take
a screenshot of the page. Paste in the screenshot to Illustrator and
create a series of filled shapes for each of the colours. Use the Eyedropper tool and hold Shift to
sample each hue from the image. Select one of the filled shapes to load the
appearance, then use the Rectangle tool and draw a shape to cover the entire artboard,
including the bleed area. Making sure you have Smart Guides turned on
under the View menu helps snap to the bleed guides. To avoid accidentally moving this background
out of place, go to Object>Lock>Selection. Use the rectangle tool again to draw a long
thin shape across the full artboard as the first stripe and give it a fill from the palette. Hold the ALT key and drag a copy of the stripe
rectangle to form the next stripe, align it exactly underneath the first. You can press the CMD+D shortcut to Transform
Again, which will continue duplicating the rectangle and adding more stripes. Add an extra 3 to make 5 stripes. Head back and select each stripe in turn and
alter the fill colour to each colour from the palette. With the Eyedropper tool, you can toggle it
back to the Selection tool to select the next shape by holding the CMD key. Hold ALT and drag a copy of the last shape
to near the bottom of the artboard and squash it down in size vertically. Select both of these shapes by holding the
Shift key while clicking them both, then go to Object>Blend>Make. Head straight back to Object>Blend>Blend
Options and adjust the settings to Specified Steps, then alter the number of lines to create
a gradual reduction in size. Before adding the text elements, use the Rulers
to add guides around the edge of the artboard. You can then select each one and hit the Enter
key to move it a specific amount, such as 10mm to add a margin around the edge to help
balance the design. You might need to right click and select Unlock
Guides to move them, then lock them again when you’re done to avoid accidentally moving
them out of place. Begin setting out some text elements with
inspiration from authentic VHS covers. Simple sans-serif typefaces were commonly
used, so I’m using Helvetica Neue (or Noyeh if I was to try and pronounce it right!) Set every font element with a fill from the
colour palette, so for this particular element the same fill as the background colour effectively
knocks out this black strip. Combining bold and normal font weights is
a good way to set up a visual hierarchy between the elements, as well as adjusting the size
and colour. Balancing the size of elements against each
other is also a good trick to incorporate when composing the layout. Draw a square that’s scaled to the same height
as another text element to house a text element of its own. Select both the elements, the give the square
an extra click to make it the key object so it doesn’t move out of place, then use the
Align panel to centre them up. Using alternative variants of a font, such
as Helvetica Condensed is also a good way to mix up the different type elements. This area of the design is typically where
the logo is placed. The original VHS covers often have little
pattern graphics made up of dots. We can also create this kind of effect with
the Blend tool in Illustrator. Draw a circle, then hold the ALT key and drag
a copy off to the side. Reduce this circle down in size while holding
both the ALT and Shift keys. With both items selected, go to Object>Blend
>Make, then go straight back to Blend Options. Change the settings to Specified Steps and
evenly space out the dots. Go to Object>Expand, then Ungroup the elements. Before deselecting the shapes, drag a copy
of the row vertically while holding the ALT and Shift keys. Add a further 5 rows with the CMD+D shortcut. Alter the length of these rows by selecting
and deleting a random number of dots from each one, then select all the shapes and group
them together before placing the graphic into the composition. The final artwork is looking pretty good,
but it’s far too clean to be a retro design, so let’s transfer it over to Photoshop for
some ageing. When you open up the Illustrator file in Photoshop
the dimensions will be preserved. Download the Vintage Paper Texture Pack linked
in the description, then open up one of the textures. Select All, then Copy and Paste into the main
canvas. Scale the texture to fit the canvas, then
change the blending mode to Multiply to allow the stains of the texture to be applied to
the artwork. You can tone down the effect by reducing the
opacity of the layer. Duplicate the layer and press CMD+I to Invert
the texture, then change the blending mode to Screen. Press CMD+Shift+U to desaturate it to remove
the inverted colour information to apply some texturing to the darker portions of the artwork. You can also boost the texturing by altering
the levels, Press CMD+L to open the Levels histogram, then clip the highlights for the
inverted texture and the shadows for the normal texture layer. The final result is a cool retro style piece
of artwork inspired by old VHS cassette covers. Illustrator is a great tool for composing
designs with simple shapes and text elements, while Photoshop offers some more advanced
adjustments when applying textures to finish off the effect. If you enjoyed this tutorial be sure to leave
a thumbs up on the video. Subscribe to the channel to stick around for
more, and take a moment to check out my Spoon Graphics website to grab my free resources
bundle. Thank you very much for watching, and I’ll
see you in the next one.