Hi Gals and Guys,
I am a huge nerd about Retrowave. Retrowhat?
It’s the love for anything neon, cyberpunk, 1986ish, chrome, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Syd Mead, hoverboards and Ridley Scott before he started doing pisspoor movies.
To first get you in the mood for this, enjoy this playlist!
Now I want to show some steps I did when doing the “Wave Noir” logo.
Why? Because, some day I’ll be dead. And if I didn’t pass on any of my knowledge it’d be all for nothing.
And that would suck. A lot.
So, the process I want to shed some light on is for this thing:
It’s a fake vintage 80s LP sleeve I wanted to do for posters/flyers for a party involving Retrowave music.
It’s all done in photoshop using pretty much no plugins whatsoever.
You might want to check 80s VHS covers for movies or 80s record sleeves to get a grip of the typography.
Google “80s VHS cover” and you’ll get a shitload of inspirations. It’s cool to have a look at retrowave artists or musicians like http://theoverglow.com/ but
I’d recommend drawing inspirations from actual 1980s designs not to get lost in a “too retro” look, missing the actual points of 80s design.
I started off with a simple 80s typo. I modified the “W”, cutting it of in the upper left corner to give it some dynamic edge.
The “Noir” is handpainted using a simple diamond-shaped brushtip. Graffito basics.
Next I added an interior border by hand (the photoshop option isn’t edgy or accurate enough)
I added an “inner glow” to that border. Note that there is no simple answer to how big it should be pixelwise or what color to use.
You have to use CAS (common artist sense) as I like to call it. The gut feeling that it is “right”. It all depends on the size you work in and
the final piece of art you want to achieve.
After that I added another layer that just adds handdrawn edges that have light comin in from above.
As a simple rule for myself I have the primary lightsource coming in from above when I do typography based logos.
Highlight the edges that get hit by that lightsource.
When the grayscaled design is done it gets interesting. And 80s.
I added a chrome-ish coloring to the interior “Wave” using a soft brush, as you would expect from an 80s airbrush.
I used the lasso tool to draw the mountain range in the middle and painted a pink transition from black towards white in the lower half
and a blueish transition from white towards black in the upper half above the selection I did with the lasso.
Now going back to the “interior border” I mentioned before, I’m adding some highlights there on various edges hit by light.
This is the part that needs the most Common Artist Sense. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend looking at other “chrome”-looking logos and figure out the
best spots to do reflections. As before the blueish comes from the top, the purple/pink highlights are below the “mountain range horizon”
What every 80s retrowave logo needs is shiny reflections!
I added some in white using a subtle soft brush on the parts of the edges that have the most light on them.
The Noir simple got some photoshop outer glow that is far from mandatory. I wanted to go for a more modern, anime-ish 80s thing here.
But you might just as well add it without a glow to get some paint/graffiti look.
What else? I added a grid in the background with a subtle outer glow,
Experimen with that to find the right vibe you want to achieve. I went for a purple “feel good” thing in my logo,
if you’d go for a toxic green you’d get a lot more of 1989ish cyberpunk and probably even venture into 90s Johnny Mnemonic territory 😛
Finally I added some paper dirt on top of the pic to simulate years of a life of not being played in a record shelf.
Also, I added some photoshop noise on top of everything to get some VHS lo-fi dirt in the pic
and desaturated everything to add to the vintage feel.
I hope this amateurish, rather short tutorial sparked some interest in retrowave logos and hopefully some insight into how to do it.