For this tutorial we teamed up with Designer Luis Felippe Cavalcanti in order to show you how to design a beautiful vintage Chocolate Box inspired by the Victorian Era. We show how to combine multiple font styles and ornamental elements to a coherent label design. Furthermore you will learn how to add special effects to your text such as drop shadows and 3d blocks.
For this tutorial Felippe used our Vintage Font Bundle which includes various fonts and a wide collection of graphic elements. Of course you can use any fonts and elements you like, so feel free to have a look at our other fonts or vector elements if you prefer a different style.
The software that we use here is Adobe Illustrator CC. Felippe walks you through the tutorial step by step, making it easy to follow and learn something new. Enjoy!
Start by preparing a text-layout for the packaging. You can either make a sketch or like we did here, create boxes to build a rough layout-grid. The Warp Tool allows to transform your rectangles to curved shapes (Select Object > Envelope Distort > Make it Warp).
Once the layout is set, we open the layers panel (if it's not appearing to you, go to Window > Layers); Create a new layer, put the grid on this layer, set 40 % opacity to the grid, put it below the current layer, and lock it. We use it as a reference to design our packaging. Now we define all fonts and sizes and place the wording onto our grid. In the 17th -19th century it was common that card and print designs contained many different styles, so don’t be afraid to combine multiple font styles here. For the company name, we use the font Royal Signage. Both the capital letter "A" and the last word "Co" are written separately. We will come back to this later.
Hierarchy of words and fonts used: Since 1857 - OldErika, Andy Baker Co. - Royal Signage, Manufacturing - OldErika, Crunchy Blackriver, Chocolate - Blackriver, Truffles - Delicious and original flavor - OldErika, Original Recipe / High Quality - Mirosa, Brighton - England - Blackriver, 300g - OldErika
Let's start with "SINCE 1857": Select Object > Envelope Distort > Make it Warp, select "Arch" as Style, define a good Bend to fit on the grid and press ok.
Now the company name: Apply the same thing to "ndy Baker" until it fits to the grid. Wonder why they are separated? If you apply the warp effect on the whole word, the high curve will distort the extreme parts (A & Co.). Doing it this way we have more control of the capitals.
We take the capital "A", go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort. We create some distortion that follows the curve – press OK, select "Co." and repeat. Now we select the complete company name and use Object > Expand > OK to turn our text into paths. (Note: Once turning text into paths it is not editable anymore!)
We use the ornamental vector elements from the Vintage Font Bundle. Open the file "Single Elements.ai" and keep it open as a secondary file, this way it’s easy to try out different ornaments and symbols by coping and pasting these into your project file.
For the word "MANUFACTURING" we use a simple ornament that we can extend linearly. Then we select the Direct Selection Tool (A), make a selection on the extreme part, click and drag holding shift to keep the alignment of the anchors and leave when it fits well. We duplicate it and place it below to get a nice frame. Now we group ornaments and the wording and warp it using Object > Envelope Distort > Make it Warp, we change the Style to "Arc" and apply some Bend that fits to the grid.
Let’s apply some effects to get a vintage look; Inlines, drop shadows, and strokes can help us with that.
First, we need to turn the text into paths. Press ctrl/cmd + shift + O, or select the word, right-click and "Create Outlines".
With "CHOCOLATE" still selected, we press Shift+X to invert the fill/stroke color, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and define a small negative number to offset the edges and press ok. Press ctrl/cmd + G to group the offset of all letters and press again Shift+X to invert the stroke/fill color, concluding that the outer part has only strokes and the inner is filled in black.
We repeat the process with "TRUFFLES". Consider the offset to appear in a minimum size, as this piece may get resized later.
Let's add some ornament to the word "CHOCOLATE". As it is our second most important word in the hierarchy, it deserves more attention.
We move an ornament close to "Chocolate", duplicate (Ctrl/Cmd + C, Ctrl/Cmd + F to paste in the same place). Reflect pressing Flip Along Horizontal Axis on the Transform Panel (Window > Transform) to create symmetry. We draw lines with the Line Segment Tool (\) holding shift and duplicate it to create a horizontal symmetry.
Now we want to focus on the word "TRUFFLES" and add a drop shadow: Select the text and press Ctrl/Cmd + C, then Ctrl/Cmd + F to paste on the same place, with the copy selected we use Selection Tool (V) to move it diagonally and fill it with black like in the image above.
We do the same with "CRUNCHY", keep the top part outlined and add a white fill color. We select some ornaments to fill the white space on the left and right side.
Tip: If an ornament gets too thin in comparison to the others in your design, add some minor stroke weight to be as close as possible to the line weight of the others. Be sure to set Cap and Corner style of the stroke to "Round".
For "Brighton" - "England" we use the warp tool again Object > Envelope Distort > Make it Warp, we select Flag as Style and define a good bend to fit our predefined grid. We add some little white stroke to make the font look lighter and fit to the rest around. We use the Pen Tool (P) and draw a curved line to follow up the wording.
After we finished all the main information for the packaging, let’s take care of the support icons and elements. We use the Ellipse Tool (L), holding shift, click and drag creating a circle, after that duplicate and resize holding shift + alt/option. We create 3 copies and bring it in position like shown above.
We right-click on the Text Tool and select "Type on a Path Tool". We click on the middle circle and write our text. We use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a little curved line inside the circle and use the same text tool to write "HIGH QUALITY".
We use an illustration from our Newsletter-Freebies, a "handshake" drawing. We place the illustration in the middle of our smallest circle. Now duplicate the smaller circle; bring it forward with right-click > Arrange > Bring to Front; then we select the illustration and the circle, right click and choose "Make Clipping Mask". This hides the overhanging parts.
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We duplicate the rounded stamp and place it on the other side.
For the company name we create a 3d block effect using the Blend Tool. (Learn more about the Blend Tool here: Blend Objects)
First we select the company name and make a copy in the same place (Ctrl/Cmd + C, then Ctrl/Cmd + F ), then we use the Selection Tool (V), click on the copy, drag diagonally holding the Alt/Option to create another copy.
Now let’s create a blend! Select both copies, go to Object > Blend > Make. To adjust the number of copies, double click on the Blend Tool located on the left toolbar; change the spacing option to "Specified Steps"; check the preview option and increase the number of copies until you see the solid 3d volume. We repeat the process in order to create a longer shape than the one we have just made. This one will be our long shadow.
We expand both blends going to Object > Expand and use the pathfinder (Window > Pathfinder) and select each object and press unite option.
The next step is to create our texturized drop shadow. Use the line segment tool (\), create a line, duplicate, and create a blend again. But this time set a number of copies so that you can see a blank space between the lines.
Expand one time and apply a rough effect with Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen, expand again to transform into an object.
We select the long shadow and bring it to front (Right-click > Arrange > Bring to front). Select the lines and the shape to create a clipping mask (right-click > Make Clipping Mask).
Now we organize the layers of this effect: Andy Bake Co.; 3D volume; Line long shadow. We change the fill color of the first 3D block to white and add some white stroke around the Andy Baker Co.
Next we design a seal for "THE ROYAL COURT". We draw two oval shapes and two oval lines in the inner for the text.
Right-click on the Text Tool and select "Type on a Path Tool", click on the middle oval line and write "WARRANTED BY THE". On the bottom path write "ROYAL COURT" with Old Erika Font, we increase the kerning to make the wording wider. We use some elements from the ornaments file, like a crown and stars to apply the royal touch.
Let’s add some botanical ornaments for a proper victorian style. We take 3 different types of leaves, position them like they’re coming out of the same branch and use the Eraser Tool (Shift + E) to erase some leaves and make a good composition. We only use the outlines to make it look like they're drawn with an ink pen. We place them behind the round seals and add another version to fill up space on the bottom part. We reflect it and place the mirrored branch on the other side for a symmetric composition.
Now we add a shape behind the overall composition to create a coherent label. Use Pen Tool (p) to draw a frame capturing the layout and then send it to back right-click> Arrange > Send to Back.
Tip: If your composition is symmetrical like in our case, it's easier to only draw one half of the shape, copy and reflect it. Then arrange the two paths to get a proper shape. You can connect both paths to one shape by selecting the overlapping anchor points, right-click > Join.
The best part: Colors! After choosing a color palette we try different schemes to emphasize some details and balance the composition. We decided to go with some wine-red and rose tones which fits great to our product content.
Voilà! Our final packaging design – ready to show it to our client. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial and of course, if you have any questions or feedback, please comment below and we are happy to help. Thanks and stay creative!
You are a big admirer of vintage label designs, stunning ephemera prints or beautiful crafted packaging?
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I would really love to see these tutorials on video. That would be great.
Thanks guys, keep up the great work.
The best tutorials are not on YouTube.
Super nice design & guide! thank you!
Appreciate the post. Gives an inside look at the complexity of design and the thought process going into it along with the skills required.