It has been a little bit more than six months since I moved to San Francisco, California. As you might know, I am from Brazil so it's quite a big change, however I've been having an amazing time here, constantly learning new things. That's why I've decided to try something different for this tutorial, a Psychedelic image using Illustrator and Photoshop.

I think it's very important for a designer to have as many visual references as possible. That is useful because it will give you more ideas when trying to come up with design solutions and that way you won't end up doing the same thing all the time. But just looking at references is not enough, at least not for me. I have to do things in order to learn the little subtleties that make a design look like a legit representation of a period in time, psychedelic in this case.

So in this tutorial I will show you how to create a psychedelic design using Illustrator and Photoshop.

Step 1

Open Illustrator and start a new document. The idea is create a psychedelic design using typography elements only. Start typing the first phrase you want to use, in my case I typed "Abduzeedo Six Months" using the font Butterfield Demo. You can download it at http://www.dafont.com/butterfield.font

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 2

Add 3 more phrases and make sure they match the lenght. It's impossible to do that without adjusting the kerning of each sentence. So in some you will have to increase while for others reduce the kearning.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 3

Once you have the 4 sentences rotate them to create a square.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 4

To connect the sentences you will have to create some elements. I add some basic rectangles matching the letters that start and end the sentences. Use the image below for reference.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 5

Once you finish creating the connectors for the sentences you will have an image like the one below.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 6

With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a square, in black, then move the square made out of the sentences on top of this square and change the color of the text to white.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 7

Create a new square, this time with white like the image below. The idea here is add a new square made of texts. To do that just repeat the first steps of this tutorial. The size of the fonts will be the same, but the sentences will be shorter though.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 8

Create a third square of text, this time you can reduce the font size. I simply duplicate the second square and resized it to fit the area. Note the way I inverted the colors for each square.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 9

For the colors use #662D91(1) for the biggest square, #DA1C5C(2) for the biggest text square, #BE1E2D(3 red) for the second big square, #FBB040 (4 - yellow), #2B3990(5) for the dark blue, #27AAE1 (6) for the light blue.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 10

Open Adobe Photoshop and create a new document. I am using 2560x1440 pixels for the size. Fill the background with #383324 for the color. It's a dark green.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 11

Copy the vectors from Illustrator and paste them in Photoshop.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 12

Now it comes the time to add some textures in order to make the design look old and sort of destroyed. The texture I am using is a stock image courtesy of Shutterstock called Closeup of rough blue and you can find it at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-83457697/stock-photo-closeup-of-rough-bl....

Once you placed the image in your document, mask it so it will only be shown on top of the vector design.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 13

Change the Blend Mode to Divide. Divide is a really cool Blend Mode because it sorts of give the look and feel we are looking for when it comes to old and dated designs.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 14

The colors were too saturated so let's try to change that. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue and Saturation. Change the Saturation to -35. Make sure that this layer is on top of the vector and then go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. By doing this the Hue and Saturation will be applied only to the vector.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 15

Again place the texture, this time on the whole document.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 16

Change the Blend Mode to Divide at 20% Opacity.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 17

In order to create a trully psychedelic image we need a crazy background. I am using a nice image from Markovka called abstract seamless pattern with underwater life: fish, seaweed. Endless romantic texture with doodles, courtesy of Shutterstock.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Conclusion

Change the Blend Mode to Overlay at 40% and we have a nice an subtle background. As you can see the whole process of creating a psychedelic design was quite simple. I was heavily inspired by some old posters I saw in a book and as I said before I wanted to exercise that in order to understand the little details that make a design look like that, especially the typography and combination of colors.

Psychedelic Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

Download the Photoshop File

Download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.