How To Create a Retro VHS Cassette Style Poster Design in Illustrator

How's it going everyone, this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Illustrator Today we're going to have fun creating a retro style poster based on the artwork of old VHS cassette covers

We'll use Illustrator to construct the design with text and shape elements, then we'll quickly send the final artwork over to Photoshop to give it an aged appearance with texture overlays You can find plenty of inspiration from Google Images and Pinterest, where you can pick out common aesthetics and mix and match the different elements to create your own custom design This is the artwork I'll be producing in this tutorial, it uses the popular trend of colourful stripes and retro shape patterns, combined with simple text elements that represent the various features displayed on the authentic examples Open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document I'll be creating an A3 sized poster, which is a preset in Illustrator, but with the units set to Millimetres and a portrait orientation

Bleed will be required is you want to get the poster printed, so we might as well add it, then for the same reason the color mode is set to CMYK A retro style colour scheme is the foundation of any retro design I used Coolors to find a cool palette You can hit spacebar to randomly generate different colours, then lock certain ones to narrow down your selection You can either note down the hues, or take a screenshot of the page

Paste in the screenshot to Illustrator and create a series of filled shapes for each of the colours Use the Eyedropper tool and hold Shift to sample each hue from the image Select one of the filled shapes to load the appearance, then use the Rectangle tool and draw a shape to cover the entire artboard, including the bleed area Making sure you have Smart Guides turned on under the View menu helps snap to the bleed guides To avoid accidentally moving this background out of place, go to Object > Lock > Selection

Use the rectangle tool again to draw a long thin shape across the full artboard as the first stripe and give it a fill from the palette Hold the ALT key and drag a copy of the stripe rectangle to form the next stripe, align it exactly underneath the first You can press the CMD+D shortcut to Transform Again, which will continue duplicating the rectangle and adding more stripes Add an extra 3 to make 5 stripes Head back and select each stripe in turn and alter the fill colour to each colour from the palette

With the Eyedropper tool, you can toggle it back to the Selection tool to select the next shape by holding the CMD key Hold ALT and drag a copy of the last shape to near the bottom of the artboard and squash it down in size vertically Select both of these shapes by holding the Shift key while clicking them both, then go to Object > Blend > Make Head straight back to Object > Blend > Blend Options and adjust the settings to Specified Steps, then alter the number of lines to create a gradual reduction in size Before adding the text elements, use the Rulers to add guides around the edge of the artboard

You can then select each one and hit the Enter key to move it a specific amount, such as 10mm to add a margin around the edge to help balance the design You might need to right click and select Unlock Guides to move them, then lock them again when you're done to avoid accidentally moving them out of place Begin setting out some text elements with inspiration from authentic VHS covers Simple sans-serif typefaces were commonly used, so I'm using Helvetica Neue (or Noyeh if I was to try and pronounce it right!) Set every font element with a fill from the colour palette, so for this particular element the same fill as the background colour effectively knocks out this black strip Combining bold and normal font weights is a good way to set up a visual hierarchy between the elements, as well as adjusting the size and colour

Balancing the size of elements against each other is also a good trick to incorporate when composing the layout Draw a square that's scaled to the same height as another text element to house a text element of its own Select both the elements, the give the square an extra click to make it the key object so it doesn't move out of place, then use the Align panel to centre them up Using alternative variants of a font, such as Helvetica Condensed is also a good way to mix up the different type elements This area of the design is typically where the logo is placed

The original VHS covers often have little pattern graphics made up of dots We can also create this kind of effect with the Blend tool in Illustrator Draw a circle, then hold the ALT key and drag a copy off to the side Reduce this circle down in size while holding both the ALT and Shift keys With both items selected, go to Object > Blend > Make, then go straight back to Blend Options

Change the settings to Specified Steps and evenly space out the dots Go to Object > Expand, then Ungroup the elements Before deselecting the shapes, drag a copy of the row vertically while holding the ALT and Shift keys Add a further 5 rows with the CMD+D shortcut Alter the length of these rows by selecting and deleting a random number of dots from each one, then select all the shapes and group them together before placing the graphic into the composition

The final artwork is looking pretty good, but it's far too clean to be a retro design, so let's transfer it over to Photoshop for some ageing When you open up the Illustrator file in Photoshop the dimensions will be preserved Download the Vintage Paper Texture Pack linked in the description, then open up one of the textures Select All, then Copy and Paste into the main canvas Scale the texture to fit the canvas, then change the blending mode to Multiply to allow the stains of the texture to be applied to the artwork

You can tone down the effect by reducing the opacity of the layer Duplicate the layer and press CMD+I to Invert the texture, then change the blending mode to Screen Press CMD+Shift+U to desaturate it to remove the inverted colour information to apply some texturing to the darker portions of the artwork You can also boost the texturing by altering the levels, Press CMD+L to open the Levels histogram, then clip the highlights for the inverted texture and the shadows for the normal texture layer The final result is a cool retro style piece of artwork inspired by old VHS cassette covers

Illustrator is a great tool for composing designs with simple shapes and text elements, while Photoshop offers some more advanced adjustments when applying textures to finish off the effect If you enjoyed this tutorial be sure to leave a thumbs up on the video Subscribe to the channel to stick around for more, and take a moment to check out my Spoon Graphics website to grab my free resources bundle Thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one

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