New trends in graphic design: Using Long Shadows

A large amount of designers do not pay attention to the use of long shadows in graphic design. It is, however, becoming increasingly popular and actively used in creating icons for websites, logos and graphics products.

What exactly are long shadows?
Not difficult to guess, long shadows – it is shadow extending from the object, much more than usual.
Initially, this effect could only be seen in photographs where the sun was as close to the horizon (usually during sunrise or sunset), and all objects have an interesting extended shadow cast onto the ground. With this effect photographers have the ability to create dramatic shots. 
Long shadows have become really interesting when applied to graphic design, and has subsequently become popular.

How to create a long shadow effect?
To make long shadows you need to select an angle of approximately 45 or 120 degrees (depending on direction of light). The shadow must run off one side of the object. You must select the same shade but darker to get a gradient effect.

When a mere shadow cannot give a desired result, a long shadow can overcome this and create a bold effect. Thais, combined with a flat design logo, long shadows can create unusual perceptive effects.

What programs can be used for creation long shadows?
Adobe Illustrator is a professional program for graphic designers, and my personal choice. There are many different ways to create this effect in Adobe Illustrator and it is easy.
I have put together some steps to create a long shadow

Step 1
Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a rectangle with rounded corners of any size. In the example I used in the following sizes:   7 x 7 cm with a corner radius of 20px

Step 2
To keep it simple, we will apply effects to text, but the technique can be applied to any object. Write something on your icon.

Step 3
Keeping the text, go to the palette Appearance (Window> Appearance) and click Add New Fill at the bottom of the palette. Make sure the fill is created only in the palette below paragraph "Characters".

Step 4
And here the magic begins! Highlight the new fill in the Appearance palette and click on the Add New Effect. Select Distort & Transform> Transform and enter the settings as shown in the picture below. Later you can reduce the opacity (Opacity), for example to 12%.

Step 5
Select the rectangle, copy it and paste the copy over the text.
Click on the text and the top rectangle (make sure they are selected simultaneously), right-click and select Make Clipping Mask. Now the shadow of the text is within icons, and we can do the lower rectangle. Repeat the fourth step of the technique to create a rectangle the same long shadow.

Interested in graphic design? 
Why dont you see another of our blogs about choosing the best font for your design or colour choice for design

Blog written by Graphic Designer, Kseniia Ikonnikova