Fold an Origami Logo in Photoshop

Logo’s following an Origami style have been popular due to the fact that you can get an impressive effect with a few strategic “folds”. Impressed with the ones I’ve seen I decided to create my own: a green origami bird for the imaginary Origami Corporation.

In this tutorial I’ll show you the process I took to design this logo, and in the end you’ll have your own version and the knowledge to make more. Our final product will look like the image below, so when you’re ready fire up Photoshop and we’ll get started.

Step 1 – Setting The Document Up

First begin by creating a new document in Photoshop, the canvas size should be 540 by 400 pixels. We’re going to have a dark background so get your gradient tool ready and set the two colors to be a light black (#3e3e3e) and a dark gray (#565656). Set the gradient to radial and then drag it from the center of the canvas to the left edge.

Step 2 – Sketching and Planning

The tricky part of creating an origami logo is that you have to carefully plan out the folds; folds that don’t seem plausible can break your design. What I recommend doing is browsing sites like Flickr and look at some real origami. By studying real origami you may notice a few things, for example the shapes we’re limited to are triangles, diamonds and squares. With this and some other things you may have noted in mind begin sketching the bird shape below.

I used a small white brush (3px and 100% hardness) to draw this out. A good technique to get the straight edges we need is to hold shift in between clicks with our brush. This will give you a straight line from your first click to your second click. When you’re done turn the sketch’s layer opacity down to 20%.

Step 3 – Creating the Midsection

At this point I chose a 3 color palette to use on the logo, a base color, a lighter version of the base color and a darker version. You can see my palette to the right which uses a light green (#d9f679), green (#cbe86b) and a dark green (#b3ce5a).

Begin making the origami bird’s midsection by using your Pen Tool (P) to trace it out from the sketch. Change the color to your base color (#cbe86b) and it should look like the image below:

Duplicate the shape layer you just made and change the color to a lighter color (#d9f679). This layer will be our first fold in the logo which will go across the neck. Select this layer with your pen tool and delete the anchor points illustrated below:

step3_c

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Step 4 – Making Wings

For our first wing, which will be in front and above the rest of the layers, ready your Pen Tool (P) and set the color to our base color (#cbe86b). Then just simply trace your wing, remember that the bottom two anchors in your triangle should be touching the chest of the bird.

To make the second wing, duplicate (CTRL+J) our first wing layer and change the color to the darkest (#b3ce5a) in our palette. Then grab the anchor point at the top of the triangle and drag it up and backwards. After that place the layer behind the other layers.

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Step 5 – Beak and Tail

Let’s now add the beak and finish off the tail to our origami bird. With your Pen Tool (P) ready and dark green (#b3ce5a) selected begin creating a triangle shape near the head of the bird below the rest of the layers. Look at the image below for reference and notice that the top of the triangle goes in the same direction as the head and that there’s also a slight 1-2px indention from the top of the head.

We want to be able to see a fold from our tail, so create another shape layer below the rest. For this one simply start with an anchor point at the right corner of the tail, go down a little bit then left and bring it back up. Use the image below for reference.

Now your done “folding” your origami bird logo delete or hide your sketch layer and you should see something similar to the image below!

step5_c

Step 6 – Finishing Touches

Let’s do one more thing to our origami bird to add depth using some shadows. We’ll start with adding a shadow from the wing to the body of the bird. Do this by creating a new layer named “Shadow” and making it a clipping mask (CTRL+ALT+G) of the body shape layer.

Now with your Lasso Tool (L) select the general area you want the shadow to be (so it doesn’t bleed everywhere else) and use a large black soft brush (50px with 0% hardness). With the brush click once below the wing so you can only see a little shadow, and then while holding shift click again at the end of the wing much closer to the top. Use the images below for reference.

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Repeat this step everywhere you think a shadow would be cast, then turn all the shadow layers down to 40% opacity. When completed, you should end up with the origami bird below.

Last let’s add some nice type to really make it look like a logo. I used a great free font called Quicksand, provided by Andrew Paglinawan. Use the character settings displayed below and the final image as a reference.

step6_e

Conclusion

Finishing this tutorial you should now be able to create your own origami inspired logos. You could even try more complicated figures and objects instead of a bird, or maybe create some unique typography.

If you’re running into any trouble feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to sort your problem out, you could also contact me directly.