Home / Articles / Make a Logo with Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

Make a Logo with Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

Chapter Description

In this lesson from Adobe Illustrator Classroom in a Book, author Brian Wood works through creating captivating designs as you dive into the art of shaping, mastering Live Shapes, adding rounded corners, navigating drawing modes, harnessing the power of the Place command, unleashing your creativity with Image Trace, and simplifying intricate paths. Unleash your imagination and become a skilled artist within Adobe Illustrator with this immersive learning experience.

Using Image Trace to convert raster images into editable vector art

In this part of the lesson, you’ll learn how to work with the Image Trace command, which converts a raster image, like a JPEG, into editable vector artwork. Tracing can help turn something you drew on paper—for instance, a logo, a pattern or texture, or hand-drawn type—into editable vector art. In this section, you’ll give the bird a stick to perch on. You’ll trace a picture of a stick to get shapes.

  1. Choose File > Place. In the Place dialog box, select the stick.jpg file in the Lessons > Lesson03 folder on your hard disk, leave all options at their defaults, and click Place.

  2. Click in an empty part of the artboard to place the image. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit on the artboard.

  3. To center the image in the Document window, choose View > Zoom In a few times.

  4. With the image selected, click the Image Trace button in the Properties panel to the right of the document, and choose Low Fidelity Photo from the menu.

    This converts the image into an image tracing object. That means you can’t edit the vector content yet, but you can change the tracing settings. You could even edit the image in Photoshop, and you’ll see the changes to the tracing if the image is linked to the Illustrator file.

  5. Choose Silhouettes from the Preset menu in the Properties panel.


    The Silhouettes preset will trace the image, forcing the resulting vector content to turn black. This setting is useful when you want to get the main shape from the tracing. An image tracing object comprises the source image and the tracing result, which is the vector artwork. By default, only the tracing result is visible. However, you can change the display of both the original image and the tracing result to best suit your needs in the View menu you will see in the Image Trace panel.

  6. Click the Open The Image Trace Panel button (trace_panel.jpg) in the Properties panel.


    The buttons at the top of the Image Trace panel are for converting the image to grayscale, black and white, and more. Below the buttons at the top, you’ll see the Preset menu. This menu is the same as in the Properties panel. The Mode menu allows you to change the color mode of the resulting artwork (color, grayscale, or black and white). The Palette menu is also helpful in limiting the color palette or assigning colors from a color group.

  7. In the Image Trace panel, click the triangle to the left of the Advanced options to reveal them. Change the following options in the Image Trace panel, using these values as a starting point:

    • Threshold: 230 (The default setting—any pixels that are darker than the threshold value are converted to black.)

    • Paths: 95% (For path fitting. A higher value means a tighter fit.)

    • Corners: 80% (A higher value means more corners.)

    • Noise: 90 px (The default setting—reduce noise by ignoring areas of a set pixel size. A higher value means less noise.)

  8. Close the Image Trace panel.

  9. With the stick tracing object still selected, click the Expand button in the Properties panel.


    The stick is no longer an image tracing object but is composed of shapes and paths that are grouped together.

Cleaning up traced artwork

Since the stick image has been converted to shapes using the Image Trace command, you can now refine the shapes to make the stick look better.

  1. With the stick artwork selected, click the Ungroup button in the Properties panel to break apart the different shapes and edit them separately.

  2. Deselect the artwork by choosing Select > Deselect.

  3. With the Selection tool (selection_tool.jpg) selected, click the extra stick at the top of the image that was traced. Use the figure as a guide. Press Delete or Backspace to remove it.

  4. Click the stick shape to select it. To change the color, click the Fill color box in the Properties panel. In the panel that opens, make sure that the Swatches option (swatches-button.jpg) is selected at the top. Select a brown color to fill the stick shape.

    To make the edges a little bit smoother, you’ll apply the Simplify command. The Simplify command reduces the number of anchor points that the path is made of without affecting the overall shape too much.

  5. With the stick selected, choose Object > Path > Simplify.

    In the Simplify options that appear, by default the Reduce Anchor Point slider is set to an auto-simplified value.

  6. Drag the slider to the left to remove a few more points.


    Dragging the slider to the left reduces the anchor points and simplifies the path. The closer the slider is to the minimum value on the left, the fewer the anchor points there are, but the path will most likely look different. The closer the slider is to the maximum value, the more it will look like it did before you applied the Simplify command.

  7. Click More Options (more_options.jpg) in the Simplify options to open a dialog box with more options (circled in the previous figure). In the dialog box that opens, make sure Preview is selected to see the changes happen.

    You can see the original number of anchor points (Original) of the stick and the number of anchor points after applying the Simplify command (New).

  8. Drag the Simplify Curve slider all the way to the right (Maximum). This is a great starting point, and the artwork will look like it did before you applied the Simplify command.

  9. Drag the slider to the left until you see New: 20 pts (an arrow is pointing to it). You’ll need to drag a little and then release to see the New value change. Click OK.


    For the Angle Threshold, if the angle of a corner point is less than the angle threshold, the corner point is not changed. This option helps keep corners sharp, even if the value for Curve Precision is low.

Finishing the logo

For the last part, you’ll move the stick artwork into place, group the bird logo, and move everything into place.

  1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

  2. Drag the stick over the feet of the bird.

  3. To put it behind the bird, click the Arrange button in the Properties panel, and choose Send To Back.

  4. Click the Arrange button again and choose Bring Forward until it is in front of the gray square but behind the bird.

  5. Drag across the gray square, bird, and stick to select them.

  6. Click the Group button in the Properties panel.

  7. Drag the logo into position so it looks like the figure.

  8. Choose File > Save and then choose File > Close as many times as necessary to close all open files.

8. Review questions | Next Section Previous Section

Adobe Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Adobe Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Adobe Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.adobepress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020