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How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator — Step-by-step Guide

How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator — Step-by-step Guide

As a graphic design enthusiast or professional, spirals will most likely be among the first things to spark your interest. 

Things like the Fibonacci sequence and golden ratio will inform you how the mathematics of the universe follows this unique pattern almost exactly. 

It is only natural then that Adobe Illustrator offers us a plethora of tools that will enable you to create any kind of a spiral you can imagine.

We will list a couple of them here.

The first and most obvious way is to create the spiral using Adobe Illustrators spiral tool.

 

How to create a spiral using Illustrator’s Spiral Tool in 4 Simple Steps 

The spiral tool appears when you hold-click the line tool.

Location of the Spiral Tool in Illustrator

 

 

Step 1

After you selected the Spiral tool, simply click anywhere on the artboard. This will prompt the spiral property box.

There are three parameters here that you can tweak to get the exact spiral that you’re looking for: Radius, Decay and Segments. 

 

 

Step 2

Set the number of segments: segments are constitutive units of a spiral, basically a single path.

How to make a Spiral in Illustrator Step 2

Step 3

Select the radius: This parameter sets the distance between the outermost segment and the center of the bounding box of the whole spiral. Therefore, reducing it will make the spiral appear “denser” while increasing this value will make it more spread.

How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator Step 3

 

Step 4

Figure out the decay: This number responds to how long the second segment will be compared to the first one (and each subsequent segment compared to the former)

How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator Step 4

Therefore, decay of eighty percent (80%) will result in segment 2 being 80% of the length of segment 1. 

How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator Step 4 B

Contrary to what you might expect, a larger number on the decay corresponds to a more gradual “shrinking” of the spiral.

 

How to Make a Spiral with the Polar Grid Tool

But perhaps this is not what you are looking for and you’d like your spiral to have equal spacing between the rows. In this case, we will use another method:

We will use another tool, located in the same toolbox. So hover your mouse over the line tool, and this time pick the polar grid tool.

Polar Grid in Illustrator

 

Step 1

Click where you’d like to place your spiral. This will open the polar grid tool properties.

How to Make a Spiral with the Polar Grid Tool Step 1

 

Step 2

Pick the number of concentric dividers. This is your most important setting as it refers to the number of “rings” your spiral will have.

 

Step 3

Set the radial dividers number to 0. We don’t need these when creating a spiral.

How to Make a Spiral with the Polar Grid Tool Step 3

 

Step 4

Select the upper half of the polar grid. Be careful not to select the anchor points dividing it in half. Go to the edit menu and select cut.

How to Make a Spiral with the Polar Grid Tool Step 4

 

Step 5

Deselect everything. Go to the edit menu again and click paste to place. Then using the arrow keys, move the top half one row to the right.

How to Make a Spiral with the Polar Grid Tool Step 5

 

(Bonus Hint: snap to point )

 

Step 6

Select all paths ( all that originated from the initial polar grid ) and go to Edit > ungroup. Do it a couple of times until the option becomes unclickable.

 

 

Step 7

Go in and delete the surplus lines. Basically select half of the middle, and then every other concentric line to the end of the spiral. Now simply delete the selection.

How to Make a Spiral in Illustrator using the Polar Grild Tool Step 7

Here’s how that looks.

How to Make a Spiral using the Polar Grid Tool Step 7B

Now you have a vector path for your spiral. Naturally, the final look will depend a lot on which kind of a stroke you pick.

In the case of the first spiral, where the distance between rings of the spiral gradually decreases as we approach the center, selecting a tapered stroke might be a necessity so as to not get overlapping lines.

The second kind of a spiral where the distance between rings is universal is much more forgiving in this regard. You mainly just have to consider the thickness of the line.

 

Frequently asked questions on How to make a spiral in Illustrator

 

How to write text in a spiral? 

Once you’ve created a spiral, select the “type on path ” tool. Select the spiral and start typing. 

Drag the lever in front of the text to adjust its position on the spiral.

 

How to edit the spiral created with the Spiral Tool in Illustrator? 

Once you have a spiral path on your artboard, you edit it like you would any other path, using anchor points and handles. You can also ungroup a spiral to be able to individually affect single segments.