Published Friday 31st of January 2014 by Obe Arif
First things first, we need the basic flat wave. I made a pretty good one just using some guides and the pen tool, but as soon as I reached the next stage, I wanted it to be taller (or have a shorter wavelength) and for the curves to be a little more organic. I found a pretty simple way to keep your options open using the Zig Zag effect on a straight line:
OK so now I can mess around with the shape of this wave. Once I'm happy with it, I'm going to cheat and run it through some 3D software to roughly work out all my angles for me. The first step is to make a copy of my wave and outline the stroke (this gives me a solid shape rather than just a thick vector line). I work on a copy of the original in case I want the final line to be thicker - I can just go back to the original and increase the stroke weight, then repeat the following processes. In 3D, all I do is import my outlined wave and extrude it:
Although it wouldn't be too difficult to bypass the 3D stage and just draw the extruded lines in Illustrator, this way means I can mess around with the angle that looks best very quickly. The quick render above shows you how it would look. That's pretty close to what I'm after, but it's not vector and it doesn't have the gradients the client really wanted. So the last step is to go back to Illustrator and use this render to guide my final logo shape.
I overlay the original solid wave and draw each of the extruded shapes by hand - it's easy when I have the render to follow (although granted the render has perspective and the vector wave is flat, there is almost no discernable difference). As the logo is symmetrical, I only need to add depth to one half of it and copy these shapes over to the other side once I am happy with them. Also, as the vector wave hides everything behind it, there's no need to spend time being tidy with your background shapes:
The very last step was to try a number of different colours and gradients to increase the depth of the logo. This meant some back and forth with the client, but with the entire logo available as vectors and consisting of 6 basic shapes, this was very fast to do every time.