How to Create a Vintage Wine Poster in Illustrator

How to Create a Vintage Wine Poster in Illustrator

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many places. Sometimes it seems to come through osmosis for me. What I mean is that I am often inspired by retro themed design without really trying to be. I’ve seen so much of it over the years, that it’s just kind of “rubbed off”.

I admire designers like Paul Rand and Saul Bass. As far as illustrators are concerned, there are far too many to list; so I’ve created a mood board that’s filled with loads of gorgeous color, and features a modest amount of Mid-Century graphics, illustration and design that may inspire you to follow along.

Reference image and color inspiration board of vintage mid-century poster ads

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a retro/vintage look wine poster using the DupliTone Halftone brushes. My Illustrator artboard is sized at 8” x 10”, at 300 dpi. Okay, let’s begin by taking a look at the sketch I created for this piece.


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Artwork during this time period emphasized well-designed geometric shapes and minimal details; often with unique and playful compositions. I'll be using this and my mood board as inspiration throughout my retro design.

I have color coded the line work in this sketch to help make it easier to see the shapes when they overlap. Everything was drawn using the pen tool or by creating shapes using the rounded rectangle tool in Illustrator. Each object was created on a new layer.

The pieces of each of the hands and the golden/yellow frame were united together to make compound shapes. To do this Direct select each part of the hand. Using the Pathfinder tool, click on Unite. Repeat this step for the other hand and for the frame.

Outline sketch of mid-century inspired poster on artboard in Adobe Illustrator


The line work has been drawn using the 15 pt. round brush. The hat and green wine glass are set at .25pt stroke and the two circles and two white wine glasses have a .5pt stroke.

Drawing of wine classes and circles using round brush in Adobe Illustrator


Next we'll add the color into the shapes, leaving the larger two wine glasses with a stroke color that matches the background color.

Drawing of man and wine bottle with outlined wine glassed in Adobe Illustrator


It’s now time to start working some of that magic with the DupliTone Halftone swatches.

I filled the cloud area with the 10% clean halftone swatch.

Cloud shape filled with clean halftones in Adobe Illustrator

I want to change the color of the halftone to have green dots. To do this you will have to change the color of the swatch pattern.

Double click the square swatch in the Swatches panel. Select the main element in the pattern. Change the color of the element to your desired color. Double click the fill color and choose a color from the Color Picker or from your own ColorPalette.

Click + Save a Copy in the Pattern Editing Mode bar at the top of your Illustrator window. Give your new pattern a name so that you can find again for future use.

💡 TIP: If you think that you will be using the same halftones in the different colors of your palette, edit and save them ahead of time to speed up your workflow.

Creating a new pattern swatch of halftones in Adobe Illustrator

Next, I want to change the scale of the halftone pattern in the cloud shape.

To do this select the object you want to scale and double click the Scale tool on the left hand tools window.

Changing the scale of pattern swatch halftones in Adobe Illustrator using Scale tool

In the pop-up window, select Uniform and Transform Patterns. Make sure that Transform Objects is not selected. Select Preview to see the changes.

Insert your chosen percentage in the Uniform box. When you are happy with the new scale, click Ok.

Next, I applied the 50% halftone swatch to the frame. I changed the color of the dot pattern and also changed the scale of the pattern.

Mid-Century inspired drawing with shapes selected in Adobe Illustrator

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For the stripe on the coat I used the marquee tool to create a thin rectangle and used the 20% Clean Halftone.

Filling shapes of drawing with Duplitone Halftone swatches in Adobe Illustrator

I created two diagonal rectangles using the 20% Clean Halftone swatch to swipe across the lower half of the imagery.

Two diagonal rectangles filled with DupliTone halftone swatch in Adobe Illustrator

The wine bottle has a funky/bubbly edge made by following the shape of the bottle with the Pen tool.

Shadow of wine bottle filled with halftone swatch in Adobe Illustrator

For the trio of blue colored blocks I used the Gradient Edge Wide 02 brush.

Three blue rectangles with halftone fill selected  in Adobe Illustrator

To create the overlapping rails along the bottom edge I used 40% Clean Halftone.

Creating more shapes in the mid-century inspired poster in Adobe Illustrator

For the four splash lines above the wine bottle I used the 70% Clean Halftone.

Lines added above wine bottle in mid-Century inspired wine poster in Adobe Illustrator


I love the transparent look of shapes overlapping, so I chose to set many of the objects to Multiply. To change the blending mode of the objects go to Window > Transparency > Multiply and leave the Opacity setting at 100%.

Setting shape appearance to Multiply in transparency panel in Adobe Illustrator


The last step that will further enhance the vintage look of this design is to add in a texture layer. I used the Scratched Pop Can 30 texture from the Diet Vector Textures pack and changed the color of the TIFF to the background color.

To change the color of the TIFF file, first select the texture and using the eyedropper tool, choose your desired color.

Mid-Century inspired wine poster with texture overlay in Adobe Illustrator

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That’s it, we are done with this boozy poster. I hope you enjoyed this how-to.

If you do recreate this poster, please don’t forget to share it on social media using #retrosupplyco or @retrosupply on Instagram.

Mid-Century inspired vintage wine poster created in Adobe Illustrator