This tutorial is primarily intended for beginners, that is why it contains detailed instructions for creating the objects of the Pricing Tab artwork. Dynamic Shapes Tool and Dynamic Corners Tool (VectorScribe Studio plugin) were used in the process of work. I will compare their functions with the functions of the standard tools of Adobe Illustrator in order for you to see the advantages and to make the right choice.
Create a new document with an artboard of 800 x 600px (RGB).
Now take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create two rectangles in the upper side of the artboard.
The color of the objects is not important right now. First we need to put together the basic elements of the pricing tab. To make the edges of objects look sharp, use only integer (whole) values for their sizes.
Using integers for the sizes ensures they fit into the pixel grid, avoiding the edges becoming blurred through anti-aliasing.
The names of the products and their prices will be located on the labels. Create the shape of the first one with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M).
Keeping the rectangle selected, go to Object > Distort & Transform > Transform… and set the horizontal offset value and the amount of copies.
With the help of the Transform effect it is easier to work with the identical elements and you can always change the distance between them determined by the live Effect at any stage via Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).
On top of that, any changes to the underlying shape will immediately be replicated across all copies.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and set a new point in the center of the upper side of the rectangle.
If you have the Smart Guides mode on (Cmd / Ctrl + U), then you can easily find a center. Move the created point straight up holding Shift.
The main elements are created and placed on the artboard.
Start creating smaller details. Create teeth in the header of the pricing tab. With the help of the Dynamic Shapes Tool (VectorScribe Studio plugin) create a 10 x 10px square at an angle of 45°.
I prefer to use this tool as it allows you to dynamically control the parameters of the shape in the Dynamic Shapes panel (Window > VectorScribe > Dynamic Shapes) and immediately turn the shape at the constrain angle. To do this, hold down Shift in the process of its creation.
Drag the square straight up; by holding Opt/ Alt and Shift that will lead to the simultaneous duplication of the object.
Now go to Object > Blend > Blend Options… and set the number of steps in the dialog window. Then go to Object > Blend > Make ….
Keeping the blend object selected, go to Object > Blend > Expand.
Now select the left rectangle of the header and click on Unite in the Pathfinder panel.
We got a rectangle, the right side is of which has teeth.
Create a rectangle at the bottom of the header. Its height is 5px, and the length is 800px.
Proceed to the final formation of the elements of the pricing tab, starting with its header. Let’s create a seamless pattern, with which we will fill in the created objects. Turn on Pixel preview mode (View > Pixel preview) and zoom the workspace to the maximum, somewhere on the side of the artboard. At maximum magnification (6400%), we will clearly be able to see the pixel grid. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create a step-like shape, as it is shown in the following picture.
The points of this shape are located at the points of intersection of the pixel grid. The shape is filled with neutral gray color so that the pattern can be applied to objects of different colors.
You’ll learn how this can be done a little bit later.
Drag the newly created object to the Swatches panel or go to Edit > Define pattern….
Fill the rectangle featuring the toothed side with a light orange color. To mix the colors I am using the HSB color mode in the Color panel.
Add a new fill to the object in the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and apply the pattern created in the previous step to it.
Apply the Multiply blending mode to this fill and decrease the opacity to 25%. This can be done directly in the Appearance panel.
With this pattern, our work should resemble a retro style.
Fill the lower rectangle of the header with linear gradient that contains two shades of brown color. The darker slider of the gradient must reproduce the shadow from the upper rectangle.
Create texture for this shape using the technique described in the previous step.
Copy the rectangle with an orange fill and paste it back (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + B), delete the fill with the pattern in the Appearance panel, then fill the shape with white color and move it at 1px up by pressing the Up Arrow key.
That’s how we created glare on the teeth of the shape. Create a rectangle of the artboard size and place it below all the created objects, then fill it with light yellow color.
Create texture for this shape with the help of the pattern and Appearance panel.
Fill the rectangle at the bottom of the header with vertical linear gradient, which consists of two shades of yellow color.
Now, create the shadow of this item. We can easily do this using the Appearance panel. Add a new fill to the object, place it below the first one and apply vertical linear gradient from white to black to it.
Keeping the fill selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and set the vertical offset value.
Apply the Multiply blending mode to the fill. The shadow is ready.
Proceed to designing of the labels. Delete the Transform effect from the Appearance panel. We applyed this effect at the beginning of this tutorial in order to put the pricing tab correctly together. Once all the elements of the label are ready and grouped up, we will repeat this effect.
Fill the shape of the label with a light orange color.
To round its corners, I will apply the Dynamic Corners Tool, which is one of the tools of the VectorScribe Studio plugin. To open its panel, go to Window > VectorScribe > Dynamic Corners.
This tool has many advantages over the Round Corners effect (Window > Stylized > Round Corners…), in particular, it allows you to apply different radii of rounding to the corners.
We need to round all the corners of the label. You can learn about other features of this tool from the video user manual. By the way, the standard Illustrator Round Corners live Effect does not work properly if applied to corners of anything other than 90°. We have an opportunity to prove that. If we tick Standard in the Dynamic Corners panel (which replicates Illustrator’s standard rounded corner method), we’ll see the rounding radius after applying the Round Corners effect. In our case, it appeared to be larger than the True Radius.
Create a circle in the upper part of the label. Select it and the label, then click on the Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel, creating a hole.
Add a new fill of gray color to the shape of the label in the Appearance panel.
Go to Effect > Texture > Grain… and set the parameters of the effect shown in the picture below.
Apply the Multiply blending mode to this fill and reduce the opacity to 60%.
Create a rectangle at the top of the label. Fill it with a vertical linear gradient, which contains three shades of green color. With this gradient we are trying to reproduce the distribution of light on the surface of the object.
Select the shape of the label and green rectangle, and then take the Shape Builder Tool (Sift + M), holding down Opt/ Alt, delete the part of the rectangle, which goes beyond the label and the circle in the opening.
Create a texture for the green shape, using the above described technique.
Select the shape of the label and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… . Set the effect parameters in the dialog window.
Proceed to the creation of the mounting of the label. Create two circles with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L).
Copy the smaller one and paste it in front (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F). Turn off the visibility of the copy of this circle in the Layers panel — we will go back to it later. Select the two circles and go to Object > Compound Path > Make or use Cmd / Ctrl + 8 shortcut.
Turn on the visibility of the upper circle, then fill it with a radial gradient from white to gray and apply the Multiply blending mode to it.
Copy the compound path and paste it back (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + B). Increase the size of the new object and move it a little bit down. Fill this shape with a radial gradient from white to dark gray color, then apply the Multiply blending mode.
Thus, we have created a shadow.
Create glare. Copy the compound path and paste it in front twice (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F). Shift the upper copy a little bit down, then select both copies and press the Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.
Recolor the resultant objects in a light gray color.
Create two vertical rectangles and fill them with a vertical linear gradient, which reproduces the light distribution on the surfaces.
Copy these rectangles and paste them back, then move them slightly to the left. Fill the new objects with another linear gradient, which corresponds to the glares and the shadows on the edges of the shape.
Now create a horizontal rectangle and a glare on its edge.
Select the vertical rectangles, group them up (Cmd / Ctrl + G), then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow… and set the parameters of the effect.
Do the same actions with horizontal rectangles.
The label is ready. Group up all of its objects and apply the Transform effect, as I promised you earlier.
Now create the tabs in the shape of the stars, which will inform the users about the discounts. To create these shapes, there will be no better tool than the Dynamic Shapes Tool. First I will try to create a tab shape with the help of the default Illustrator Star Tool, so that you can compare. So, take the Star Tool and click in the workspace of the current document. As a result of these actions, a dialog window with the tool settings appears. Enter the desired amount of points on the star, the inner and outer radii and then click OK.
It did not come out the way I wanted it to be? I find it difficult to predict the result first time, don’t you? Remove the resulting object. Now let’s try to control the parameters of the stars during its creation. To change the internal radius of the star, hold Cmd / Ctrl during its creation. In this case, you have to press Cmd / Ctrl after you have clicked the mouse.
If you want to position the created shape by constrains angles, hold down Shift when you create it. Do you want to change the number of beams? To do this, use keys Up Arrow (to increase) and Down Arrow (to decrease).
Too many keys have to be pressed at the same time? I think with after the third or fourth attempt with enough experience you will get the desired result that you will then unfortunately not be able to edit after creation. Now we need to round the corners of the shape. Round Corners effect is designed for that (Effect > Stylize > Round Corners…). But as I have already mentioned above, it cannot apply the True Radius corners.
Now try to create the shape of the tab with the Dynamic Shapes Tool. This is how can we control the parameters in the shape in the Dynamic Shapes panel; we just need to find the right values and the desired shape will be created immediately, without agonizing trial and error and required knowledge about the shortcuts (here I must admit that I recently learned about the shortcuts for Star Tool).
Even from the amount of the information in this and the previous step, you can clearly see the benefits of the Dynamic Shapes Tool over the Star Tool.
The process of creating a tab is shown in the pictures below. All we need is to duplicate the shapes, change their settings in the Dynamic Shapes panel and apply different fills.
You can learn about the other features of this tool in the video user manual.
It’s time to add the information to our pricing tab. I will be using the product information, pricing and discounts of the Astute Graphics. You can check prices in real time by clicking on this link: Astute Graphics’ order page. With the help of the Type Tool (T) write the name of the product on the tag.
In order to add volume to the text, copy it and paste it back. Fill the copy with a dark gray color and move it a few pixels down and to the right.
I was using the same technique when writing about the trial versions of the products.
Print the prices and information about the discount.
You can find the fonts, which I have been using in this work, in the pictures for these steps. If you cannot find them in your OS, you can Google them in the Internet.
I use inner shadow for the “PRICING PLANS” tag. To learn how you can get this effect, you can find in my tutorial on Vectorboom: Inner shadow in Adobe Illustrator.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and you have found new and useful information for yourselves. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I understand that something that is obvious to me may not be as instantly clear to other users.
Download the pricing tab artwork
Click here for Illustrator CS3 and CS4
Click here for Illustrator CS5 and above (also PDF compatible)…
About the author
My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found the job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials.