How to create a retro ribbon badge

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
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Ribbon badge complete.png
Key
This article uses these graphical conventions
Tutorial template icon window.pngWindow 〉〉 Tab/Panel in Window
ButtonMenuChoiceKeyboard

Introduction

This tutorial will show you how to create a retro-looking badge with a ribbon using only the tools available in Scribus.

It was inspired by this Inkscape tutorial.

You will be taken through each step quite carefully but absolute beginners should make sure they already know the Scribus basics before trying it. If you've never used Scribus before you might find it all a bit too confusing.

Warning
This is a very long tutorial so you may want to stock up on juice/beer/crisps/etc. before you start.

Specific techniques used in this tutorial

  • Creating polygons.
  • Aligning objects.
  • Transforming objects with scaling, rotation and translation.
  • Adding text to a path.
  • Combining shapes.
  • Performing path/shape operations.
  • Changing manual tracking on text.
  • Putting an outline on text.
  • Editing shape nodes.
  • Making a column of shapes.
  • Nudging objects with the keyboard.

Font

To follow this tutorial to the letter you'll need to download the Fundamental Brigade font from here.

The download consists of multiple files but you only need "Fundamental Brigade.ttf".

Install the font before you start Scribus.

The Colours

  • Start Scribus and create a new document (A4/Letter portrait will be fine).
Figure 1

You'll need four colours for this tutorial:

  • Badge - R 55, G 69, B 72.
  • Stars - R 166, G 166, B 166.
  • Badge Text - R 204, G 204, B 204.
  • Ribbon - R 55, G 200, B 171.

Use the Tutorial template icon window.pngColor Editor - menu EditColors… - to add these to your document.

If you don't know how to do this see the Scribus Help Manual via the Help menu, section "Documentation / Editing Colors". If you don't have this manual installed, look at the "Colours" section on this other tutorial and substitute RGB for CMYK. If you're still struggling, try asking about it on the Scribus Forum.

The Badge Background

The first thing you'll create will be the background of the badge.

  • Choose menu InsertInsert PolygonProperties… to open the Tutorial template icon window.pngPolygon Properties dialog.
  • Set "Corners" to 13.
  • Leave the "Rotation" at 0.
  • Check the "Apply Factor" box.
  • Change the "Factor" to be -10% (negative 10%).
  • OK the Polygon Properties dialog.
Figure 2
  • Click near the top left your document.
  • Enter a Width and Height both of 200pt.
  • Ensure that the "Remember Size" box is checked.
  • Ok the Enter Object Size dialog.

That's you first shape, now you need its companion.

Now, repeat the actions above with the following changes:

  • In the Polygon Properties dialog also set the "Rotation" to 13.
  • When clicking to draw the second polygon click over to the right of the first so they're easier to manipulate.

Now you'll colour the polygons and move them into position.

  • Select the first polygon - to the left - and go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "None" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Badge" from the colour list.
  • Select the second polygon - to the right - and go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours again.
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "None" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Ribbon" from the colour list.
  • Choose WindowsAlign & Distribute to open the Tutorial template icon window.pngAlign & Distribute palette (A&DP).
Warning
You'll need this palette quite a bit so keep it open all through this tutorial, if you can. If you can't keep it open, open it when you're asked to use the A&DP.
  • Drag-select the two polygons and, in the A&DP, press the "Center on Vertical" icon, then the "Center on Horizontal" icon.
Warning
The two polygons have been centred about themselves but the alignment isn't perfect because of the way Scribus draw these shapes, so you'll need to manually adjust their positions.)
Figure 3
  • Deselect the polygons and re-select the top one.
  • Use the Cursor arrow keys on your keyboard until the shapes have been aligned to your satisfaction.
  • Select the top polygon and right-click choosing LevelLower to Bottom from the menu.
  • You've now got your basic badge shape - see figure 3.

The Badge Lines and Text

You'll now create the lines and text that go onto the badge itself.

  • Drag-select your polygons.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.
  • Drag the group to the top-left of your document to give you some room.
Figure 4
  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesCircle
  • Click on your document to the right of your badge.
  • Enter a Width and Height of 140pt and OK the dialog.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors, press the "Line Color" icon and select the "Badge Text" colour.
  • Choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add… button on the bottom-left and select "Scaling" from the drop-down menu.
  • On the top-right, change both the scaling factors to 90%
  • In the "Origin" box select the centre circle.
  • Change the "Copies" value to 1.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Select the new smaller circle and go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Line
  • Using the "Type of Line" drop-down menu select the dotted line type 8th down the list.

You should now have something that looks like figure 4.

Now for the text.

Figure 5
  • Click on the inner circle that you've just created.
  • Choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add… button on the bottom-left and select "Scaling" from the drop-down menu.
  • On the top-right, change both the scaling factors to 70%
  • In the "Origin" box select the centre circle.
  • Change the "Copies" value to 1.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Create a text frame under the circles that is the same width of the larger circle.
  • Add the text "100% MADE WITH" (without the quotes) to the text frame.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text
  • Change the font to "Fundamental Brigade" and the font size to 16pt.
  • Change the font colour to "Badge Text".
  • Shift-select the smaller circle above.
  • Choose menu ItemAttach Text to Path

You should now have something that looks like figure 5. Obviously the text is in the wrong place so you'll need to fix that.

  • With the text object selected, go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text and open the "Path Text Properties" sub-tab. You might have to scroll down to see it.
  • In the "Start Offset" input field enter the value of 152pt.
Warning
You won't be able to use the arrows - to the right of the input field - to get this precision so you have to type it, but you can use the arrows to get close and then alter the value as needed.

The text should now be in the correct position at the top. (If it's not, change the value to suit.)

Figure 6
  • Drag-select the circles and the text.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.
  • Shift-select the group of polygons to the left.
  • In the A&DP make sure "Relative To" is set to "Last Selected".
  • Press both the "Center on Vertical" and "Center on Horizontal" icons.

You should now have something that looks like figure 6.

The Stars

Now you'll create the stars to add to the badge.

  • Choose menu InsertInsert PolygonProperties… to open the Tutorial template icon window.pngPolygon Properties dialog.
  • Set the number of "Corners" to 5.
  • Set the "Rotation" to 0.
  • Set the "Factor" to -52% (minus 52%).
  • OK the dialog.
  • Click somewhere in the middle of the gap to the right of your badge.
  • Enter both Width and Height as 30pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Go to Properties 〉〉 Colours
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "None" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Stars" from the colour list.

You've now got your first basic star. Next the two companion stars.

  • With the star still selected, choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add… button on the bottom-left and select "Scaling" from the drop-down menu.
  • On the top-right, change both the scaling factors to 70%.
  • Press the Add… button on the bottom-left again and select "Rotation" from the drop-down menu.
  • On the top-right, change "Rotation" to 10%.
  • Change the "Copies" value to 1.
  • OK the dialog.
Figure 7

Your first companion star has been created. De-select everything then drag the new smaller star to the right of the original so you can see it properly.

  • With the smaller star selected, choose menu ItemDuplicate
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z press the "Flip Horizontal" icon.

That's the other star created. Drag it to the left of the larger star - see figure 7 - but don't worry about aligning them properly just yet, you'll do that later.

The Ribbon Front

And now you get to the main event of this tutorial, the ribbon. Are you glad you've stuck with it so far?

Hold on tight, there's a lot to do.

First you'll create the main body of the ribbon.

Figure 8
  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesCircle
  • Click below the bottom-left-hand of the badge.
  • Enter a Width of 400pt and a Height of 100pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • With the flat ellipse selected, choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add… button on the bottom-left and select "Translation" from the drop-down menu.
  • On the top-right, change the Vertical value to 50pt.
  • Change the "Copies" value to 1.
  • OK the dialog.

You should now have something that looks like figure 8.

  • Drag select both ellipses.
  • Choose menu ItemCombine Polygons

You've now made a single polygon out of the previous two. Now you'll create something to manipulate that new polygon.

Figure 9
  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesDownward-pointing Triangle (near the bottom of the menu).
  • Click just above the middle of the badge.
  • Enter a Width of 200pt and a Height of 600pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • De-select everything and re-select the long triangle.
  • Shift-select the combined ellipses.
  • In the A&DP make sure "Relative To" is set to "Last Selected".
  • Press the "Center on Vertical" icon.
  • Press the "Align Tops" icon.

You should now have something that looks like figure 9.

Figure 10
  • De-select everything and re-select the long triangle.
  • Shift-select the combined ellipses.
  • Choose menu ItemPath ToolsPath Operations…
  • In the "Operation" box press the "Intersection of the Shapes" icon (the third from the left).

The result in the top-right-hand area should look like figure 10. If it doesn't, check the "Swap Shapes" box.

  • OK the dialog.
  • Select the new "double curve" and choose menu ItemSplit Polygons
  • De-select everything and re-select the lower curve.
  • Right-click and choose Delete from the menu as you don't need it.

You've now got the start of your ribbon.

  • Select the remaining upper curve and choose menu ItemDuplicate
  • Drag the duplicate to the side for later.
  • Create a text frame under the original ribbon that is around the width of the ribbon.
  • Add the text "SCRIBUS" (without the quotes) to the text frame.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text
  • Change the font to "Fundamental Brigade" and the font size to 40pt.
  • In the "Advanced Setting" sub-tab change the "Manual Tracking" to 8%.
Warning
Changing the manual tracking as you've just done was only because the font you're using here has a small gap between characters. If you're using these techniques with another font you may not need to do this.
Figure 11
  • With the text frame selected, shift-select the the original ribbon.
  • Choose menu ItemAttach Text to Path

The text - see figure 11 - looks totally wrong but that's easily fixed.

Figure 12
  • With the text selected, go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text and open the "Path Text Properties" sub-tab.
  • In the "Start Offset" input field enter the value of 295pt.
  • In the "Distance from Curve" input field enter the value of -39pt (minus 30pt).
  • Check the "Show Curve" box to see what's happened.

You should now have something that looks like figure 12 but you're not finished yet. (If your copy doesn't look right try changing the values of "Start Offset" and "Distance from Curve" until it does.)

  • Un-check the "Show Curve" box. You don't need to see it anymore and it will spoil the effect.
  • Change the colour of the text to "White".
  • Click the "Outline" icon under the colour choices.
  • Click the "Outline" icon under the colour choices again but keep pressing until a little window appears.
  • Change the "Linewidth" to 2%.
Warning
You can change the colour of the outline to "Badge" if you want to but black looks fine.
  • Select the duplicated ribbon.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors
Figure 13
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "Badge" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Ribbon" from the colour list.
  • Drag-select both the ribbon and the text.
  • In the A&DP press both the "Center on Vertical" and "Center on Horizontal" icons.

If the text has disappeared, de-select everything, then select the ribbon, right-click and choose LevelLower to Bottom to get the text above the ribbon.

You should now have something like figure 13.

Warning
You can use the "Preview Mode" to see your document as it would be printed without all of the messy lines. Click on the little "eye" icon at the bottom-right of the main Scribus window to enable it. Click it again to disable it.
  • Drag-select the ribbon and text.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.

The Ribbon Ends

You're close to the finish line now, on the home stretch.

Now you need to make the ends of the ribbon and this is the really tricky part.

Figure 14
  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesRectangle
  • Click anywhere below the ribbon.
  • Enter a Width of 40pt and a Height of 50pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Double-click the rectangle to open the Tutorial template icon window.pngNode Editor dialog.
  • In the Node Editor dialog press the "Add Nodes" icon (second from left, top row).
  • Click the rectangle you drew in the middle of the right-hand vertical edge.
  • In the Node Editor dialog press the "Move Nodes" icon (top left).
  • Go back to the rectangle and drag the node you just added to the left so that the X-Pos and Y-Pos in the Nodes Editor dialog read as X=25pt and Y=25pt. See figure 14. (Or you can change the values directly in the entry fields.)
  • When done, press the End Editing button.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "Badge" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Ribbon" from the colour list.
Warning
You might want to zoom in a bit for this next bit of work. To do so click the "+" magnifier icon near the left of the bottom of the main Scribus window. To zoom back out press either the "1" magnifier icon or the "-" icon.

Now you'll make the "frill".

  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesRight-pointing Triangle
  • Click anywhere below the shape you've just been drawing.
  • Enter a Width of 20pt and a Height of 2.5pt (two point five).
  • OK the dialog.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "None" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Badge" from the colour list.

You've got a starting triangle but you need to make more.

  • With the triangle selected, choose menu ItemMultiple Duplicate
  • Change to the "By Rows and Columns" tab.
  • Change the "Number of Rows" value to 20.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Drag-select all of the triangles.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.
  • Shift-click the earlier shape with the "kink" in it.
  • In the A&DP press both the "Align left sides" and "Center on Horizontal" icons.

Almost finished with the ribbon end now, just a couple of things left to do.

Figure 15
  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesRight-angle Triangle (third one down).
  • Click anywhere below the group you've just made.
  • Enter a Width of 15pt and a Height of 10pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z
  • Press the "Flip Vertical" icon.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors
  • Press the "Line Color" icon and select "None" from the colour list.
  • Press the "Fill Color" icon and select "Badge" from the colour list.
  • Shift-click the group of shapes including the "frill".
  • In the A&DP press both the "Align left sides" and "Align bottoms" icons.
  • Drag-select all of the shapes you've just created.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z
  • Change the "Rotation" to 350 degrees.

You should now have something like figure 15.

  • With the group selected, right-click and choose LevelLower to Bottom from the menu.
  • Choose menu ItemDuplicate
  • With the duplicate selected, go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z
  • Press the "Flip Horizontal" icon.
  • Right-click and choose LevelLower to Bottom from the menu.

Putting it all Together

It's great that you're still reading this. I hope you've been following along in Scribus too.

Now you need to finish the ribbon off, align it with the badge and move the stars - remember them? - into place.

Figure 16
Warning
You'll need to be zoomed in to get this next bit just right.
  • Drag one of the ribbon ends - you can guess which one - over to the corner of one end of the ribbon.

There's no way to get Scribus to align these automatically, you'll just have to do it by eye but you need to put the corner of the small dark-grey triangle under the corner of the bottom corner of the ribbon. See the red arrow in figure 16.

Figure 17
  • Once you've got that looking correct, do the same for the other ribbon end at the other end of the ribbon and you'll get something like figure 17.
  • Drag-select all the parts of the ribbon and right-click choosing Group from the menu.
  • Right-click the group and choose LevelRaise to Top from the menu.

Now you'll align the ribbon with the badge.

  • Select the ribbon.
  • Shift-select the centre of the badge (you'll actually select one of the circles but that's fine).
  • In the A&DP press both the "Center on Vertical" and "Center on Horizontal" icons.

The ribbon is way too high up the badge but you can fix that easily.

  • Keep the down-arrow on your keyboard pressed down until the ribbon is where it looks good. (Use the up-arrow button if you went too far.)

I'd suggest putting the top of the ribbon around or just below the centre of the circles but it's up to you.

Now there's just the stars to do.

  • Drag-select all of the stars.
  • In the A&DP go to the Distribute tab.
  • Click the "Make Horizontal Gaps between items equal to the value specified" icon. (That's a really horrible name for an icon!)
  • De-select everything and select the larger centre star.
  • Use the up-arrow on your keyboard to nudge the larger star up until it's in a place that you like (around 15 points higher looks good).
  • Drag-select all of the stars.
  • Right-click and choose Group from the menu.
  • Right-click the group and choose LevelRaise to Top from the menu.
  • Shift-select a circle in the badge.
  • In the A&DP go back to the Align tab.
  • Make sure "Relative to" is set to "Last Selected" (otherwise you'll make a mess).
  • In the A&DP press both the "Center on Vertical" and "Center on Horizontal" icons.

Now the stars are way too low but you can fix that easily too.

  • De-select everything and select the stars.
  • Use the up-arrow on your keyboard to move the stars to somewhere that looks nice. Making the gap between the top of the large star and the bottom of the text the same as the gap between the bottom of the small stars and the ribbon looks good.
Ribbon badge complete.png

And, that's it, finally. You're done.

How's about that? That wasn't too hard was it? Well, okay, it was probably a lot of work but the result was worth it. Wasn't it?

Warning
All of the text on the badge and ribbon is still editable. You'll need to ungroup various objects to get to the text but they can be changed to whatever you want. If you do change the text remember to alter the "Start Offset" value to make it centred again.