How to Create Banner Ribbons with Adobe Illustrator

By 11/01/2017 January 22nd, 2020 Graphic Design
  1. Software: Adobe Illustrator
  2. Required Skill Level: Beginner
  3. Category: Graphic Design

Before we get started please use the below infographic to get yourself familiarized with the tools and their names.

Illustrator tool names Infographic


This Adobe Illustrator tutorial will teach you to create banner ribbons, aided by clear instructions and screenshots. The process is simple and we’ll walk you through it step-by-step.

Here are samples of banners you’ll learn to create:

How to Create Banner Ribbons with Adobe Illustrator

We will create the first one and use it as a template for the rest.

Let’s get started!

Step 2.

Now open the Stroke Panel (Windows > Stroke.)

  • Set the weight to 2 points
  • Change the cap and the corner under the stroke to round.

Step 3.

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a rectangle:

large rectangle

Step 4.

Now copy that rectangle by pressing Command+C (Mac) or Control+C (Windows) then Command or Control + V to paste it.

two large rectangles

Step 5.

Pick the Selection Tool from the “Tools” menu and drag the left and right corners of the 2nd rectangle to make it smaller and shaped almost like a square:

small and large rectangles

Step 6.

Move the smaller rectangle and place it on the left side of the big rectangle as shown at bellow:

move small and large together

Step 7.

Now, zoom in on the small rectangle. With the Selection Tool still selected, hover over the center line of the small rectangle, press the ‘+’ key to access the Add Anchor Point Pen Tool.  Click on the left-center point of the rectangle, to add a point to drag from:

add point

Step 8.

Select the Direct Selection Tool. Drag over your new left middle point while holding the ‘Shift’ key. Select the point and drag it to right to make a flag-like shape:

flag shape

Step 9.

We’ll now send the small rectangle behind the big one. First, we will select the small rectangle with the Selection Tool  (make sure to only select the small rectangle,) then right-click (or Ctrl+Click if you don’t have a right-click button,) go to Arrange > Send to Back. This places the small rectangle behind the big rectangle:

large flag shape

Step 10.

Next, select the Line Segment Tool, set the fill to none by selecting the red slash on the Fill and Stroke Tool.  Draw a line from the bottom left corner of the big rectangle and connect it to the lower right corner of the small rectangle:

draw line

Step 11.

Select the small rectangle and the line we just drew. Hold the Alt+Shift, drag the graphic to the right. Pressing “Alt” duplicates the graphic: hold Shift while moving to limit movement.

alt shift drag right

Step 12.

Now select the new copied graphic, right-click (or Ctrl+Click on a one button mouse,) select Transform and then Reflect.


Step 13.

We now need to Reflect Vertical, which flips the graphic on its side.

reflect vertical

Step 14.

Now select the 2nd small rectangle (flag-like shape) if not already selected. Hold the ‘Shift’ key and move the graphic to the right so it lines up with the big rectangle, just as you see below:

line up 2nd flag

Step 15.

Using the Selection Tool, drag over the entire graphic and hit Cmd+G on Mac (Ctrl+G on a Windows,) to group the objects together. Now when you work with the graphic, you can select any point and the entire graphic will move.

Step 16.

After you are done with step 15, select the Type Tool, pick your preferred font and type ‘Banner’ or whatever text you desire.

type banner

Step 17.

Press Command+A on Mac or Control+A on Windows to select all the shapes. Now well duplicate the graphic by holding Alt+Shift on your keyboard while dragging the graphic down to copy:

Step 18.

Next, let’s tweak the second banner. Begin by selecting the 2nd banner with the Selection Tool then access Effect > Warp > Arc:

arc effect

The small ‘Warp Options’ window pops up with available settings:

warp options

Step 19.

Click on Preview and you will see a very cool new banner shape with a bit of a curve:

You can change the ‘Bend’ settings as you please to get the exact look you like, then click ‘Ok’.

warp effect preview

Step 20.

Now select the Direct Selection Tool, click on the corners shown in the image below.  Hold the ‘Shift’ key and drag the top left point to the right and the top right point to the left.

drag right and left

Your results should resemble the new banner below:

drag flag points

Step 21.

Now for the 3rd banner! Select the Selection Tool,  drag over the 2nd ribbon to select the entire graphic, then press and hold the ‘Alt’ and ‘Shift’ keys. Drag the graphic downward to make a copy and now you should have 3 ribbons.

Step 22.

Select the 3rd Ribbon with the Selection Tool. Then go to Effect > Warp > Flag as shown below:

effect flag

Step 23.

Click on ‘Preview’ to see the changes made to the banner. Just tweak the ‘Bend’ settings, and you’ll see changes made.

Once the banner meets your approval, click ‘OK’.

warp options flag

Step 24.

Now that you have 3 banners that you like, it’s time to play with colors! Select a Ribbon with the Selection Tool, pick the desired color, and change the ‘Fill’ to that color.

That is all there is to it!

How to Create Banner Ribbons with Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator Banner Creation Wrap-up

You have now created three completely different unique banners, perfect for a picky client who prefers custom graphics.

In the process, you’ve learned several vital principles about Illustrator use.
Stay tuned as there will be more Illustrator tutorials shortly, ranging from beginning to advanced levels.


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