I was impressed with how much grunt work can be handled within AI's image trace function:

Object -> image trace -> make and expand

However, for more sophisticated logos, things become less straight forward. Consider a logo like this:

enter image description here

In this case, image trace clips off the lighter portions of the logo. I've only found two (slightly drudge-laden) workarounds:

  • Flatten the highlights to make a more mono-tone look (then need to apply own gradient afterwards)
  • Retrace by drawing lines and joining (but this only looks professional with squares and the like, circular elements are hard to ensure exact proportions -- at least for me)


Are there more refined approaches for this kind of task? Or feel free to add or improve upon my ideas mentioned above.

  • 2
    Redraw manually. – Scott Jul 20 '20 at 8:01

Redrawing manually is probably the best way. Sometimes the best results require a little drudgery.

There's no real need to use the Pen Tool for this if that's what scares you. The Curvature tool is nice for making almost perfect curves without too much effort.

It could be constructed as follows:

  1. On top of the raster image, draw simple curves made with the Curvature tool, making sure the ends overlap

enter image description here

  1. Create the final shapes with the Shape Builder tool, and remove the overlaps.

  2. Fill the pieces with gradients.

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