My ‘Tour de France’ posters

16 Jul 2013

While I was creating this infographic for Grinta! magazine, I was thinking why not turn this into a poster design for the 100th edition of the Tour of France. The idea of designing a poster on this subject had already been on my mind for a while, but this time I had a few concrete ideas & finally some time to actually create them…

The 100th edition of the Tour

The fact that this year is a special one for the Tour of France, as it is the 100th edition, sparked the idea of designing a poster. The French landscape I used for the infographic seemed perfect as a starting point.

To fit the landscape on a poster I had to change the composition from landscape to portrait, by moving and rearranging fields and other elements. I also decided to use a bit of the same typographical style by using the typefaces Trend and Thirsty Rough. The smaller words however such as la, ième and du were drawn manually based on Trend Ornaments.

Once I was on a roll, I figured I design another one, using the place names of all the stages. So for the 2nd poster I thought of placing all the names in the background, in combination with this interesting geometrical cog shape that I used for the Parts group in this infographic.

details of my Tour de France posters

While I was thinking of selling them on Fab (they were only on sale on Fab EU and US until July 22nd), I thought I need to create a few more. While browsing around the idea crossed my mind to use illustrations for the letters TOUR. The letter T and O were already defined as a handpump and a cog, so I started to play around a bit with different elements until I had a legible word. After I finished the first one, I thought it would be nice to create the same poster in two other color variations as well.

When I completed the design of the first poster, I felt it needed some texture, but I wanted to keep things 100% vector-based. This way they were resizable to any possible size without quality loss. This gives me the best flexibility, and I could keep the file size low as well and don't having to worry about dpi or resolution.

details of my Tour de France posters

Creation of the texture

First I looked for a subtle light pattern with a nice speckle texture. After opening the texture file in Photoshop I followed these steps:

  1. Play with Levels: Image > Adjustments > Levels
  2. Change Color Mode to Grayscale: Image > Mode > Grayscale
  3. Enlarge the image by 200%: Image > Image Size > Width 200%, Height 200%
  4. Play with Levels again: Image > Adjustments > Levels
  5. Place the image in Illustration File > Place
  6. Image Trace the image: Control bar > Image Trace drop down menu > Sketched Art
  7. Expand the result: Object > Expand
  8. Remove the white background box using the Direct Selection (white arrow)
  9. Manually tweak the dots where needed for a perfect pattern
  10. Create pattern: Object > Pattern > Make
  11. In Pattern mode I chose Grid and other default settings
Showing some of the steps of the creation of the texture

In the posters with the coloured background I used 3 overlaying texture patterns (see image below). The first pattern uses a big white dot. The 2 other patterns were created starting from the 1st pattern, but I scaled it down to 50%, and also rotated it 180°. Then also I've used a color that is darker than the color of the background but within the same hue. So I tweaked the color of this pattern swatch for each poster separately choosing a dark color with the same hue (dark stone red, dark teal and dark khaki green). In the Appearance panel I stacked 3 fills of patterns using different Opacity modes for each.

Appearance and Layers panel

Creating these posters was a really fun challenge, and I'm happy how they've turned out. Hope you enjoyed the extra small tutorial about how I created the texture background, and you feel inspired to do some design experimenting in Adobe© Illustrator yourself.


  1. 1 Joyce 16 Jul 2013

    Beautiful work!

  2. 2 Daniel Jones 27 Jul 2013

    You are a very talented graphic designer. Great work

  3. 3 Sarah M 03 Aug 2013

    Hi Veerle,
    I just love your 100th anniversary poster. My friends and I have just been in France cycling and we followed Le Tour. We are all from New Zealand. Is there any chance that I can buy a copy of this poster? We would just love it framed!
    I look forward to hearing fom you

  4. 4 Ben 05 Aug 2013

    Hi Veerle, what method did you use to create striped text shadow?  Thanks


  5. 5 Veerle Pieters 07 Aug 2013

    @Sarah M

    Is there any chance that I can buy a copy of this poster?

    Thanks for the kind words Sarah. Sound like you had an excellent vacation :) The posters aren’t available anymore unfortunately. This was a very limited sale. I’m sure I’ll do another someday when time permits.

  6. 6 Veerle Pieters 07 Aug 2013


    what method did you use to create striped text shadow?

    That’s a bit too much to explain here in the comments section. I’ve noted it down for a tutorial idea :)