How to design a Death Metal Logo using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

Creating an extreme metal logo may seem like a daunting prospect and one that should be best left to the professionals, but with this tutorial today, you’ll be surprised to learn just how easy it is to create a vector metal logo all by yourself.


The first step to creating your metal logo is to thoroughly understand the band you’re making it for. For example, understanding the category the band fits in or what their target audience is will help you find inspiration from relevant sources. If death metal isn’t really your thing, you can always look up existing bands or put a unique twist on it by looking for inspiration in other places like ancient symbols or glyphs.


The next step is for you to start sketching your ideas onto paper. Aim for 2 or 3 sketches that you’re pleased with overall and if you’re not familiar with the basics of typography, that’s alright! Just try and make the letters as symmetrical as possible, especially the first and the last one. Some letters are a bit more complex and symmetry with these can be difficult. A tip for this is to make a mirror image of the most complex letter and then use that image as a template. 

When you’re happy with your sketches, scan them and get your band to pick out their favourite.


Once you have your final sketch, open a new document in Adobe Illustrator and import the sketch in by clicking on Import and then Place. Click on View and then Rulers and bring the rulers down to places where you want straight lines.


For the next step, lock down the sketch layer and open up a new one. Choose a stroke colour (bright red, orange or yellow works best) and set the fill colour to transparent. Next, use the Ellipse tool to draw circles over all the curves in your logo.


Open up another new layer, drag it under the circles layer and then lock the circles layer. Now using the pen tool, start drawing in the shapes as smoothly as you can, making sure to set the stroke colour to transparent and the fill colour to black. 

You can use this step to clean up the letters. For symmetrical letters, draw one half, duplicate it and then flip it over to get a perfectly symmetrical letter.


For the next step, open up another new layer and copy the letters from the last layer onto it. Setting the stroke to green and the fill to transparent, flip all the letters to get them symmetrical to the first half. Place the remaining letters onto the parts that match the other side and then lock the layer in. Go back to the layer before (the one with the pen stokes) and draw in the other letters, using the green outlines as your guide. Try and get them as smooth, legible and symmetrical as you possibly can.


When you’re done, click on View and then Grid and using the rulers, align and space the logo the way you want. Once you’re happy with how it looks, save and export the file as a JPG. This is useful if you want to show your band the black and white vector file and if you want to access the image outside of Illustrator.


You can probably stop here if you’re happy with your black and white vector image but if you or the band that you work for are looking to have a logo in colour or a different texture, you can go one step further and edit your image in Adobe Photoshop.

Before closing up the file on Illustrator, select all the letters and drag them out to a much larger size. Click on Edit and then Copy. 

Open up Photoshop and create a new document. Paste the letters as a Smart Object and then try out different styles and textures until you create something both you and your band are happy with.


And there you go! You now have a symmetrical metal logo that you’ve designed from scratch. Remember, practice makes perfect so if you’re not happy with it, keep at it.


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