How To Create a Vintage Toy Packaging Design (Illustrator & Photoshop Tutorial)

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial I stumbled across some packaging designs for old cap gun toys recently, which gave me the inspiration to reproduce the style myself

Follow along with today's tutorial to create a vintage toy packaging design using both Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop We'll begin in Illustrator to draw the main product illustration, lay out the type, and compose the design Then I'll show you how to give the artwork a vintage appearance in Photoshop with the help of some textures, filters and brushes which will help to mimic the appearance of aged prints But first, if you want access to a massive library of assets to use in your projects, check out Envato Elements The vintage packaging design I'll be creating in this tutorial is based on old wild west cap gun toys You can see the originals were supplied in cardboard boxes, which were produced with low-cost, limited colour printing, typically using red or blue ink, or no ink at all so the natural colour of the cardboard formed part of the design The actual product was pictured as an illustration, sometimes with quite a simplistic appearance, which makes it an easy art style to replicate

So to begin, open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document The size doesn't matter for now since this is just for tracing the outline of the cowboy gun I'm using a photo of a Colt Single Action Army for reference from Wikipedia Go to File > Place to import the image, then scale and rotate it to fit Turn down the opacity to around 30%, then go to Object > Lock > Selection to avoid accidentally moving it out of place

Select the Pen tool, then clear out the default white fill, leaving just the black stroke Begin tracing the main outline of the gun by clicking and dragging bezier curves At any points you want to form a corner, hold the ALT key and click the point to remove the bezier handle before continuing Trace around the entire outline of the gun and finish the back at the starting point to form a complete path In the Stroke panel, increase the stroke weight to around 3pt

Zoom back in to the image, then begin tracing the areas inside the outline These paths can be open ended, but they should start and end within the width of the outlining stroke To deselect the path, hold the CMD key and click on some empty space on the artboard before starting the next path Other details like the circular screw heads can be easily drawn using the ellipse tool Select the main outline, then go to Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste in Back

Switch the black stroke to a black fill Hold the Shift key while drawing a selection across the illustration to capture all the individual strokes, but not this currently selected outline Go to Object > Expand to convert those strokes into shapes Click the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel to merge them into one outline Shift-Click the black fill shape again to add it back to the selection, then click the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder panel to punch out the stroke lines from the black fill

Select and delete the negative space within the trigger guard with the Direct Selection tool Create another new document to compose the full design I've set mine up in Millimetres and the CMYK colour mode Select the rectangle tool and draw a shape to fill the entire artboard Remove the black stroke, then change the fill to red

I'm using 100 magenta, 100 yellow and 10 black Lock this rectangle to avoid accidentally moving it Draw another rectangle across the artboard Set this one up with no fill but a white stroke In the stroke settings, adjust it to 20pt, aligned to the inside

Copy and Paste in the gun illustration, then change the fill to white Go to Object > Transform > Reflect and choose vertical so it sits the other way Use the Type tool to begin laying out the brand name I'm using a suitable font named Colt from the Adobe Fonts library Give this text a white fill, then go to Object > Transform > Shear

Choose Vertical, then enter -8 degrees Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort Drag the two left corners apart to stretch the text Go to Object > Expand Appearance to permanently apply this effect Use the Rectangle tool to draw a shape as the basis for a banner graphic

Place some text on top to complete the ficitonal Western Frontier brand name Here I'm using Futura Bold, also available on the Adobe Fonts Library, but with the tracking set to 200 Give this text the same red fill as the background by using the eyedropper to sample the hue To accurately line up the text with the banner, it first needs converting to outlines from the right-click menu Hold Shift to select both objects then they can be aligned horizontally and vertically using the Align panel

Grab the Pen tool, then with the rectangle selected, add a point halfway down the left and right side Switch over to the Direct Selection tool and nudge these points inwards while holding the shift key Select both the banner and text again, then go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp Choose the Flag preset, then adjust the Bend amount to -30 Apply a Shear transformation using -10 degrees Rotate and position this banner over the other text

To add an outline, we first need to go to Object > Expand, then right click and choose Ungroup so the banner shape can be selected individually Go to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter a value of around 15mm Use the eyedropper tool to quickly give this offset shape the same red fill as the background Make any final position adjustments before selecting all the items that form the brand logo, then right click and choose Group

To add a similar border effect to the gun illustration, add an offset path Since this illustration is made of several pieces, unite them all into one shape using the Pathfinder, then give it the red fill The offset shape is currently sitting on top of the white illustration Right click and choose Arrange > Send to Back so the illustration reappears The whole illustration then needs bringing on top of the text

Click it to select everything, then right click and choose Arrange > Bring to Front Use the type tool to add some more elements to the design Set 'Made in' using the same Futura formatting with 200 tracking, then enter USA in the Colt font, both with a white fill Scale them so they're the same width and position them on top of each other Draw a Star shape as decoration, then select all three items and use the Align panel to centre them up

Add a circle to contain the elements, set with a white stroke with a weight of 3pt Group these elements, then position the graphic within the main layout Draw a rectangle across the artboard to add a band which will contain some text Use the Arrange > Send Backward shortcut of CMD (or CTRL on Winwdows) and [ to place it underneath the revolver illustration The awkward looking piece within the trigger guard can be deleted with the Direct Selection tool

Lay out some text using the same formatting used elsewhere for consistency Setting the fill to red gives it that knocked-out appearance against the white background Using inspiration from those authentic examples found on Google, this fictional concept can be finished off with some more text elements to fill out the remaining space Additional star graphics help add some visual interest An easy way to create consistent spacing is to nudge them a specific number of times, or one big nudge while holding the Shift key

I'm not making my design to any specific packaging dimensions, so any remaining space can be effectively cropped by adjusting the size of the background rectangle Unlock the elements first, then alter the shape size by moving the bottom selection handle That's the main design concept complete for our fictional toy packaging, but it doesn't have much of an authentic vintage appearance To remedy that, we'll switch over to Photoshop Illustrator is great for composing a design and constructing graphic elements, but Photoshop is much more powerful when it comes to working with textures and raster effects

Select All and go to Copy, then create a new document in Photoshop It will automatically load the correct proportions but the pixel size will be quite small Go to Image > Image Size and increase the width value to create a larger canvas If you were actually working on a live packaging design you would obviously set a specific size at 300ppi, but this artwork is just for fun Paste in the Illustrator artwork and scale it to fit

The easiest and best way to add a vintage paper or cardboard effect is to use the real thing in the form of a stock image or texture download This Old Paper Texture is by Lukasz Szwaj on Shutterstock Open the texture image, then Select All with CMD+A, Copy with CMD+C, Close the document with CMD+W then Paste with CMD+V Use the CMD+T shortcut for Transform in order to scale the texture to fit the canvas To allow the paper texture to interact with the underlying artwork, change the blending mode to Multiply

You can affect the result by altering the levels of the texture with the CMD+L shortcut Darkening the texture makes it show up more You can also bring out the detail by increasing the contrast between the midtones and shadows Altering the Levels might make the texture a little too yellowy, so use the CMD+U shortcut for Hue/Saturation to decrease the saturation slightly Next we'll add some effects to the main artwork to give it an old print look

First right click the layer and choose Convert To Smart Object so the filters are added non-destructively When designs are printed onto paper, the ink bleeds slightly at the edges This is an aesthetic that is common with old prints To simulate this in Photoshop to go Filter > Noise > Median Choose a value that subtly rounds off the corners, but doesn't blur everything too much

1 to 2 pixels will suffice Another filter that helps to simulate bleeding ink is the Filter > Distort > Ripple effect Change the Size to Large, then adjust the slider to a small amount, like 8% Finally, add a quick Sharpen filter to reduce the blurriness from the Median filter Old prints are usually quite distressed where the ink has worn away over the years

Add a Layer Mask and use one of my free brush packs from Spoon Graphics to add some wear and tear I'm using my Grain Shader brushes this time, which are linked to in the description area below Add a quick sharpen filter to the layer mask to bring out the grainy details You can also affect the result by adjusting the levels to increase or decrease the brightness and contrast As a finishing touch, I also added some crease lines from a pack of Folded Paper Textures by Simon Birky Hartmann

These are available to Access All Areas members on Spoon Graphics Number 5 is just the texture I'm looking for Paste it into the document at the top of the layer stack and scale it to size To capture just the brightest white areas that form the folds and crease areas, switch to the Channels panel and hold the CMD key while clicking the main CMYK channel to load its selection Switch back to the Layers panel and turn off this texture layer

In the artwork's layer mask, fill this active selection with black using the ALT+Backspace shortcut to add the creases to the rest of the distressing effects Use the CMD+D shortcut to Deselect to see the finished design The final result is a vintage packaging design that takes inspiration from old wild west cap gun toys Creating the basic concept was pretty straight forward with Illustrator's graphic tools, but it didn't look very realistic Processing the artwork in Photoshop with textures and filters really helped to give it an aged and distressed appearance, to make it look just like those authentic examples from the 40s

If you want a ready-made revolver graphic to follow along with this tutorial, download my Free Wild West vector graphics pack from Spoon Graphics It contains a flat illustration, and a more advanced one with additional shading effects, plus a load of other graphics you can use to build western themed designs Subscribe to the channel if you want to stick around for more of my content, and be sure to join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics if you want to download all my free resources in one big bundle As always thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one

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