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create a vintage linocut logo effect

create a vintage linocut logo effect

This tutorial will cover how to create a linocut effect in illustrator. Linocut is a printmaking technique where a block of linoleum is carved with chisels and then the block is inked and pressed onto paper or fabric. 

Start with an image you want to base your linocut design off of. I chose this photo of a manual coffee grinder.

Trace all of the major shapes in the design using the pen tool and fill them with black. Use negative space and gaps in the black fill to make the outlines. I added a coffee bean for detail on the brass plate during this step.

Because linocuts are made with V-shaped knives cutting into a  linoleum block, we want to make the detail lines pointed at both ends. An easy way to do this is to select the line, and change the setting under the PROFILE drop down in the STROKE options window.

Make sure to draw in all of these details using the same color white.

Another way to make these pointed detail lines is the width tool, which can be used to shape the width of a stroke, making it thick in the middle and narrowing on both ends.

Linocut Logo Effect Ben Brush Coffee logo

Select all of the detail strokes (SELECT > SAME > STROKE COLOR,) and go to OBJECT > EXPAND APPEARANCE.

Linocut Logo Effect Ben Brush Coffee logo

With all of the white now expanded, select the entire image and in the Pathfinder window select Divide. This cuts out all of the white detail from the black background image.

Select all of the white (SELECT > SAME > FILL COLOR) and delete it.

Now that the logo has all the linocut style detail, it’s time to give it a rougher, stamped look. Use the roughen effect (EFFECT > DISTORT & TRANSFORM > ROUGHEN) to give the crisp straight lines some subtle variation. The settings listed above worked well while the logo was about 12 inches wide.

I picked up this technique from Chris Spooner who I believe said he got it from Simon Walker.

After you have applied the roughen effect expand it ( OBJECT > EXPAND APPEARANCE. )

It’s time to add a little more distress. For this I used a light vector distress texture from Chris Spooner’s Vector Bumper Pack. Place the texture over the logo and change its color to white. Using the pathfinder again select “DIVIDE”

Now is a good time to mention that Chris Spooner has teamed up with Design Cuts for a limited time to offer a full 1 year membership, and access to all of his design resources like this vector texture set for just SEVEN DOLLARS. I cannot recommend that deal enough.

Select all of the white texture ( SELECT > SAME > FILL COLOR ) and delete it. Now you have a vector linocut effect logo.

To add an extra level of realism, we can add some raster texture to it in Photoshop. To do this, copy the vector logo, and paste it onto a layer in Photoshop as a smart object.

Place a high res texture file ( also available from the Design Cuts deal ) on a layer above the logo. Right click on the texture layer and select CREATE CLIPPING MASK. This will isolate the texture to the logo and remove it from the background.

Change the Blending Mode to LIGHTEN and the opacity to 70% and you are done!

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