Looking to make something a bit more exciting than a regular, boxy banner?
Here’s a quick tutorial to help you make an elaborate, ribbon-like banner!
1) Create a mid-line and elipse guide
To make sure our vector banner is symmetrical, we’ll start by creating half a banner. We’ll begin by creating a few guides.
Create a long vertical line using the Pen Tool (P)–you can make sure it’s a straight line by placing your first anchor point and then holding the Shift key until you place your second anchor point.
Use the Selection Tool (V) to select your line, then align your line to the center of the artboard using Window>Align>Horizontal align center (make sure your Align Tool is set to “Align to Artboard”).
Because we’ll be mirroring our banner over this center line, I’ve found it helpful to create an elipse that spans this center line. This will serve as a guide for creating the arc of our banner and should ensure that the two halves of the arc meet nicely in the middle.
Use the Elipse Tool (L) to make your guiding elipse–it can be as round or flat as you like–and use the Align Tool to once again horizontally align the elipse to the center of the artboard.
Now that these guides are created, lock them in place (Layers Panel).
2) Draw your banner line
This can be done with either the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N)–I prefer to use the Pen Tool, because it gives me more control over the curve of each line.
To begin your banner line, trace the curve of your guiding elipse. Once you’ve created the main part of the banner, draw some gentle curves–these will become the ribbon-like “tails” that hang at either end of the banner.
3) Copy and drag your banner line
Now that we have the basic shape of our banner, we need to make to lower edge of our banner.
Rather than using copy and paste, we can simply drag a copy out of our banner line, using the Selection Tool (V). Click on your banner line, hold down Alt, and drag the copied banner line directly down from your current banner line–make sure they are in line with each other.
4) Close the openings in your banner
Beginning with the endpoints sitting on your midline, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to click on the anchorpoints of each banner line and Join them (Ctrl+J). Do the same for the endpoints at the other end of your banner.
Now we need to created the edges that will give the banner the ribbon effect. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create small rectangles, with the corners of the rectangles as close to the banner lines as possible. Be sure that the area of the rectangles doesn’t extend outside the space that will become your banner.
5) Divide and merge–finish shaping the banner
Select the entire banner with the Selection Tool (V), open the Pathfinder Panel (Window>Pathfinder, if it isn’t already visible) and select Divide. Ungroup the divided pieces by hitting Shift+Ctrl+G.
We need to selectively merge pieces of our banner together to create the curling, ribbon-like look. Use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M) to click and drag through the divided pieces of the banner that need to be merged. I’ve found that this works best if you begin with the bottom segment of the banner (the tail), and work your way up.
To create a dove-tailed appearance to the hanging end of the banner, use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add an anchor point into the middle of the end segment. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), move this new anchor point inward.
6) Reflect your banner
Select the entire banner with the Selection Tool (V), then open the Reflect Tool (O). While holding Alt, click in the middle of the midline-hugging end of the banner (you’re creating the point across which your banner half is going to reflect) to open the reflect options box. Select “vertically reflect” and hit “copy.”
7) Merge your two halves
Get rid of the vertical lines (sitting on the midline now) that divide the two arcs of your banner. You can do this by opening the Scissors Tool (C) and clicking on the anchor points that made up the ends of our banner lines. Click on the now-disconnected line segment with the Selection Tool (V) and hit Delete–you’re left with two, open-ended halves of your banner.
To join your halves, click on the top two anchor points (now hanging free) with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Join them (Ctrl+J). Do the same for the bottom two anchor points.
8) Add color
Select the entire banner with the Selection Tool (V), and add whatever exciting color suits your fancy.
9) Add shadows
Using the Selection Tool (V), click on the segments of your banner that make up the curl in the “tail”–essentially the part of the banner that would be in shadow. To make our “shadows,” we’re going to make a copy of this segment. To ensure that the copies are in the exact same place as the originals, we can go to Object>Path>Offset Path. Where you can insert the number of pixels to offset your path, insert the number zero. This will create a perfect copy at the same location as the original.
Make sure these copies sit above their originals in the Layers Panel, and give them a black fill. Hmm…not very subtle shading…
With the black copies selected, open the Transparency Panel (Window>Transparency), select “Multiply” and set the opacity to 20% (this may vary depending on your base color).
10) Add text
Use the Type Tool (T), find a catchy font, and type out your banner message. Unfortunately, it looks a bit strange to have straight text on a curved banner…
To make your text seem to curve with your banner, select your text with the Selection Tool (V) and go to Object>Envelope Distort>Make with Warp. This will open the Warp Options text box. Select “Arch” and adjust the bend percentage until the curve of your text seems to match the arc of your banner.