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Art by Renee Fleck

A quick way to create unique geometric shapes in Adobe Illustrator

Start firing up Adobe Illustrator, designers! We’re about to share a super simple technique for creating unique, geometric shapes in Adobe Illustrator almost instantly.

Using the effects that live under Adobe Illustrator’s Distort & Transform tool, we’re going to show you how to generate complex forms that you can use in branding projects, graphic designs, illustrations, and more! Let’s jump straight into it.

Distort & Transform → Zig Zag

To achieve cool shapes with sharp or soft edges, draw a simple circle, then apply the Zig Zag effect under Distort & Transform:

  1. Create a circle using the Ellipse Tool
  2. Effect → Distort & Transform → Zig Zag (make sure the shape is selected)
  3. Move the sliders around until you get your desired effect and configuration

Pro tip: Alternate between ‘Smooth’ and ‘Corner’ points within Zig Zag to get either round or sharp edges. Toggling between ‘Relative’ and ‘Absolute’ options will also change the shape’s overall form. Keep experimenting until you get something cool!

Distort & Transform → Pucker & Bloat

To create expressive twinkling stars and floral-like forms, start with either a simple square or circle, then apply the Pucker & Bloat effect:

  1. Create either a perfect circle or square using the Ellipse/Rectangle Tools
  2. Effect → Distort & Transform → Pucker & Bloat (make sure the shape is selected)
  3. Toggle the slider from left to right to experiment with different forms

Pro Tip: Move the slider towards Pucker to give the object a pinching effect (great for twinkling stars). Move the slider towards Bloat to inflate objects (like the flower-like formations below).

Keep Experimenting!

The possibilities are endless with these two tools. Try experimenting with different fill strokes and layering on multiple objects to create even more dynamic shapes. To help you get those creative juices flowing, here’s how other designers like to play with unique shapes and forms in their own compositions:

  1. Shot Link
  2. Smoothies bottle branding identity illustration illustrator logo logodesign packaging pattern smoothies visual identity
  3. Data ! Lands ! abstract content data dataviz infographics information science shapes story
  4. UI Concept for Mobile App color design icon layout mobile poster screen typography ui vector
  5. PSA! abortion illustration pattern planned parenthood pro choice protest queer type typography women womxn
  6. Fun Biz 1.3 badges brand circle concessions design fair graphic identity logo mark stamp
  7. Stay Home! Quédate en casa! Restate a casa! comission corona virus covid 19 covid19 design gara home illustration im staying home me quedo en casa medical restate a casa stay home
    Shot Link
  8. A team animation character color graphic icon illustration infographic logo love minimal symbol ui vector
  9. Wine & Flowers brand branding clean design flat icon illustration logo typography vector

Row 1: Oksana, Tristan Kromopawiro, Script & Seal. Row 2: Nino Lekveishvili, tye, Cody Paulson for Malley Design. Row 3: gara, Lucia Pham, Gonza Moreira.


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