Difficulty: 7/10
Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CS6

This tutorial will show you how to create a badge made up entirely of vector graphics. You can therefore change its size freely at the end of the tutorial without losing any quality!

Take the time to follow these steps: you will learn many useful techniques that will prove useful in other Photoshop projects.

Note 1: I created a Photoshop action that produces the same badge. You can download it by clicking here. Note that the layers produced by the action are different than the layers produced when you complete the tutorial: the purpose of this action is to show you how the final badge should look like. 

Note 2: The format used for referring to keystrokes is: KEY1+KEY2. Example: the keystroke Ctrl+; means that you need to press the Control key and the semicolon key. The respective macOS keystroke cmd+; indicates that you must press the command key and ; on your keyboard.

 

STEP 1: PREPARING THE DOCUMENT:

1.1 Select "File > New" from the menu, to create a new document, 800 x 800 pixels:

Create new document

 

1.2 Click on “View”, on the main menu; make sure that Snap is checked; click on “Snap To” and make sure that all options are activated:

activate snap

 

1.3 Press Ctrl+R (Mac: cmd+R) to show the ruler. Right-click on the ruler and select “Percent”:

Photoshop ruler units

 

1.4 Finally, let’s insert some guidelines that divide the document into 10 rows and 10 columns.

  • IN PHOTOSHOP CC: Select “View > New Guide Layout” from the menu and apply these settings:

insert guides

 

  • IN PHOTOSHOP CS6: The "New Guide Layout" command is missing in Photoshop CS6. To help CS6 users insert the guides quickly, I created an action that does the job for you. It's called "CS6: Insert 10x10 guides" and it's included in the free action set provided at the beginning of this tutorial. Download and decompress the zip file; load the action set in Photoshop and run the second action on the new document you created in step 1.1.

To hide / show the guides, press Ctrl+; (Mac: cmd+;) or check / uncheck the menu option: “View > Show > Guides”. We don’t need the guides at the moment, so you may hide them now.

 

STEP 2: CREATE THE OUTER SHAPES:

2.1 Right click the shape tool on the toolbar and select the Polygon tool:

insert a polygon

 

2.2 Move your mouse to the top of the work area; click the “Fill” color swatch and select the black color:

select black as fill color

 

2.3 Move your mouse a bit to the right; click the Stroke color swatch and set Stroke to “No Color”:

set stroke to "no color"

 

2.4 Now click anywhere inside the document, to insert the shape. It doesn’t matter where exactly you click, because we will align (center) the shape in the next step.

The “Create Polygon” dialogue box shows up. Insert these settings and hit OK:

create polygon dialogue box

 

Note 3: You can ‘play’ with the settings in the “Create Polygon” dialogue box to create different badge shapes:

different badge shapes

 

2.5 A new layer named “Polygon 1” has been created in the Layers panel. We will center it both horizontally and vertically. Hold down the Shift key and click the Background layer, to select both layers:

select both layers

 

2.6 Select the menu command: “Layer > Align > Vertical Edges”

align shape

Now select the command: “Layer > Align > Horizontal Edges”

 

2.7 The polygon shape should now be centered over the background:

centered polygon

 

2.8 Press Shift+Ctrl+N (Mac: Shift+cmd+N) to create a new blank layer. Name it “White circle”:

create white circle layer

 

2.9 Go to the toolbar. Right click the Shape tool and select the “Ellipse Tool”:

create ellipse tool

 

2.10 Move your mouse pointer to the top of the work area; click the "Fill" color swatch. This time set White as the fill color. Keep “Stroke” to “No Color”:

set white as fill color

 

2.11 Move the mouse pointer a bit to the right; click the little gear icon and select “Circle (draw diameter or radius)”:

define ellipse shape settings

 

2.12 Click anywhere inside the document. The “Create Ellipse” dialogue box shows up. Enter the following settings and hit OK:

create ellipse dialogue box

 

2.13. Let’s center the white circle. Go to the layers panel. With the “White circle” layer selected, hold down the Shift key and click the “Background” layer. This way you'll select all 3 layers:

select white circle and background

 

2.14 Use the menu commands: “Layer > Align > Vertical Edges” and “Layer > Align > Horizontal Edges” to align the shapes (see step 2.6)

 

2.15 Select the “White Circle” layer. Press Ctrl+J (Mac: cmd+J) to duplicate it. Rename the new layer to “Black circle”.

insert black circle layer

Double click the "Black circle" layer thumbnail: the Color Picker window shows up. Pick the Black color and hit OK.

 

2.16 Press Ctrl+T (Mac: cmd+T). Go to the top of the work area and set the Width and Height to 99%:

99 percent

Hit the Enter key twice to confirm. Your document should look like this at this point:

badge so far

 

STEP 3: CREATE A CIRCLE OF CIRCLES

In this step I will show you a smart Photoshop feature, which you can use to create a variety of impressive effects. In our example I will create a circle which is made up from smaller circles. You can use this technique to create a large variety of interesting graphics as I will show you soon, in another tutorial.

3.1 It’s time to use the guidelines that we created in step 1.4. Press Ctrl+; (Mac: cmd+;) to show them, or select “View > Show > Guides”.

At this point I would like to remind you of these very useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • Hold down Ctrl+Space and click, to zoom in to the clicked point (Mac: cmd+Space)
  • Hold down Ctrl+Alt+Space and click, to zoom out (Mac: cmd+option+Space)
  • Hold down the Space key and drag the mouse to pan over different parts of the document.

 

3.2 Press Shift+Ctrl+N (Mac: Shift+cmd+N) to create a new, blank layer. Name it “Circle of circles”:

circle of circles new layer

 

3.3 Zoom in to the top of the badge (remember the zoom keystrokes in 3.1):

zoom in at the top

 

3.4 Go to the toolbar and select the “Ellipse Tool”:

ellipse tool

 

3.5 Move your mouse pointer to the top of the work area; click the "Fill" color swatch. Set White as the fill color. Keep “Stroke” to “No Color”:

set white as fill color

 

3.6 The mouse pointer should have a crosshair shape. Move the pointer at the top, exactly where the 50% vertical guide crosses the 20% horizontal guide:

crosshair pointer

 

3.7 Click on that point. The “Create Ellipse” dialogue box shows up. Enter 4px in both the width and height fields, check the "From Center" box and hit OK:

create ellipse dialogue box

The first circle has been added to the point where you clicked:

first circle

 

3.8 Hold down Space and drag the mouse so that you pan over the bottom of the badge. Place the crosshair pointer exactly where the 50% vertical guide crosses the 80% horizontal guide:

crosshair pointer

3.9 Click on that point. The “Create Ellipse” dialogue box shows up. Enter 4px in the width and height fields and hit OK. The second circle has been added onto the point where you clicked:

insert second circle

 

3.10 Go to the Layers panel. You’ll notice that a new layer named “Ellipse 1” has been created and is selected. Hold down the Shift key and click the “Circle of circles” layer, to select both layers:

merge two circles

 

3.11 Press Ctrl+E (Mac: cmd+E) to merge the two layers. Rename the merged layer to “Circle of circles”.

 

3.12 Press V to select the Move tool. Press Ctrl+; (Mac: cmd+;) to hide the guides. Press Ctrl+1 (Mac: cmd+1) to zoom to 1:1.

At this point the Photoshop document should look like this:

so far

The layers panel should look like this:

layers so far

 

3.13 With the “Circle of circles” layer selected, press Ctrl+T (mac: cmd+T)

Go to the top of the work area and enter 2.5 (or 2,5) in the transformation angle field:

set angle

Hit the Enter key twice to apply (or click the check-mark at the tool options bar).

 

3.14 Now here comes the trick. Keep pressing Shift+Ctrl+Alt+T (Mac: Shift+cmd+option+T). Each time you press these 4 keys simultaneously, Photoshop will be adding 2 circles. Repeat as many times as needed to complete the big circle:

adding circles

 

3.15 (PHOTOSHOP CC only): Go to the layers panel. There you will find a host of layers named “Circle of circles copy X”. The first layer should be named “Circle of circles copy 71”:

circle layers

 

3.16 (PHOTOSHOP CC only): With the “Circle of circles copy 71” layer selected, scroll down to the bottom of the layers’ stack. Hold down Shift and click the “Circle of circles” layer. This will select all intermediate layers:

select all circle layers

 

3.17 (PHOTOSHOP CC only): Press Ctrl+E (Mac: cmd+E) to merge the selected layers. Rename the merged layer to “Circle of circles”.

The layers panel should now look like this:

circle of circles new layer

 

STEP 4: CREATE THE INNER GRAPHICS:

4.1 Select the “Black circle” layer. Press Ctrl+J (Mac: cmd+J) to duplicate it. Rename the new layer to “White circle 2”.

 

4.2 Double click the “White circle 2” layer thumbnail to display the color picker. Set White as the fill color and hit OK.

 

4.3 Press Ctrl+T (Mac: cmd+T). Move your mouse at the top of the work area and enter 60% in the Width and Height fields:

60percent white circle

Hit the Enter key twice to apply (or click the check-mark at the tool options bar).

The Photoshop document should now look like this:

so far

4.4 Now we’ll create a horizontal bar and we will apply a clipping mask to give its left & right edges a round shape.

Go to the Layers panel and select the “Black circle” layer. Press Ctrl+; (Mac: cmd+;) to show the guides.

 

4.5 Go to the toolbar and select the “Rectangle Tool”:

select the rectangle tool

 

4.6 Go to the top of the work area; click the Fill color swatch and set White as the fill color. Keep “Stroke” set to “No Color”:

set white as fill color

 

4.7 Click and draw a rectangle that covers the area defined by the thick blue line in the screenshot below:

draw rectangle

A new layer named “Rectangle 1” has been created.

 

4.8 Press Ctrl+; (cmd+;) to hide the guides.

Press Ctrl+T (cmd+T). Go to the top of the work area; enter 60% in the Height field (leave the Width field to 100%) and press the Enter key twice to confirm:

rectangle 60percent

Your Photoshop document should now look like this one:

so far

 

4.9 Now we’ll create the clipping path. Go to the layers panel and select the “Black circle” layer. Press Ctrl+J (cmd+J) to duplicate it. Rename the new layer to “Black circle 2”. Select the “Rectangle 1” layer and press Ctrl+Alt+G (cmd+option+G) to create the clipping mask. Observe the effect on the left and right edges of the “Rectangle 1” layer:

rectangle reduced width

 

4.10 Select the “Black circle 2” layer. Press Ctrl+T (cmd+T). Go to the top of the work area; enter 94% in both the Height & Width fields and press the Enter key twice to confirm:

94 percent

Observe how the reduction in the size of the “Black circle 2” layer affected the left and right edges of the “Rectangle 1” layer:

so far

 

STEP 5: ADDING TEXT & OTHER DESIGN ELEMENTS:

5.1 Press T to pick the Text tool. Go to the options bar (at the top of the work area), set Black as the text color and choose the "Center Text" mode:

format text

Type the text of your preference. Using an interesting font can make a big difference.

You may also select the Custom Shape Tool and add a custom shape of your choice:

custom shape tool

 

5.2 In my example I added two horizontal text layers and a custom shape above them:

design elements

 

5.3. In the final part of this tutorial I will show you how to add two circular text layers. It’s slightly tricky to create a nice effect; I will try to be as much descriptive as possible.

Go to the Layers panel and select the “White circle 2” layer.

 

5.4 Make sure the "White circle 2" layer is selected.

Go to the Paths panel (select: “Window > Path” if the panel is not visible).

There you will find a path named “White circle 2 Shape Path copy 2”. Click and drag it on to the “Create new path” icon, at the bottom of the Paths panel:

duplicate path

 

5.5 A new path named “White circle 2 Shape Path copy” should now have been created in the Paths panel (in Photoshop CS6 its name should be "Path 1":

duplicate path

We’ll use the shape of this circular path to put some text at the top of the circle. But first we need to increase its size. Press Ctrl+T (cmd+T). Go to the top of the work area; enter 130% in both the Height & Width fields and press the Enter key twice to confirm:

130 percent

 

5.6 Press T to select the Text tool. Go to the options bar (at the top of the work area) and set the font color to White. Select a font of your preference, set its size between 10 to 30 points.

If you have Photoshop CS6, create press Ctrl+Shift+N (cmd+Shift+N) to create a new, blank layer.

 

5.7 Move the pointer at the top of the circular shape. The pointer shape changes to a cursor over a dotted curved line:

circular text click

Click and start typing your text. When you finish, hit the Enter key to confirm. A new text layer has been created in the layers panel. Rename it to “Circular Text 1” and click the eyeball on the left of the layer name to temporarily turn off its visibility:

turn off text

 

5.8 Now we’ll add some circular text near the bottom of the badge. Select the "White circle 2" layer.

Go to the Paths panel and repeat the step 5.4 to duplicate the “White circle 2 Shape Path” path:

 duplicate path

5.9 Press Ctrl+T (cmd+T). Go to the top of the work area; enter 140% in both the Width and Height fields and press the Enter key twice to confirm.

 

5.10 Press T to select the Text tool.

If you have Photoshop CS6, create press Ctrl+Shift+N (cmd+Shift+N) to create a new, blank layer.

 

5.11 This time move the pointer at the bottom of the circular shape and click to start typing. As you see, your text appears up-side down:

bottom text

To fix this, go to the toolbar and select the “Path Selection Tool” (or press Shift+A until you select the little black arrow):

paths selection tool

Move the cursor over the text until the cursor shape changes into a double-headed arrow:

double headed arrow

Now click and drag the cursor upwards, until the text flows along the inner side of the circle:

restoretext

 

5.11 Go to the Layers panel and rename this new text layer to “Circular Text 2”. Finally, restore the visibility of the “Circular Text 1” layer by clicking the eyeball to the left of the layer name.

 

5.12 That’s it. You should have created a badge that looks like this one:

final

 The badge is made up entirely of vector graphics. You can therefore change its size (press Ctrl+Alt+i or cmd+option+i) without losing any quality!

 If you have any questions / recommendations, please use the "Contact" link at the site footer to send me an email.

Regards
Panos

 

5.0/5 from 3 ratings.
How do you rate this?
Follow along closely...There's a LOT to learn
2019/08/01
Your review
Excellent lesson! Thanks for sharing!
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
GREAT tutorial
2019/06/27
Your review
So many cool tricks - THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write and screenshot all the details. I really appreciate that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vector control!
2019/06/26
Your review
Wow! You took the mystery out of vector imaging, Panos. Thank you so much for this outstanding tutorial for creating badges in Photoshop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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