Halftone pattern backgrounds are very popular and in this tutorial we are going to explore how to create one of these from within Illustrator. The goal with the tutorial is that you shall get comfortable with the blending modes and symbols in Illustrator.
Step 1: Creating a Fill
After you have created your document, grab the Rectangle Tool and drag out a shape at the size of the document artboard. Set the fill color to black for now and remove the stroke.
Step 2: Applying a Gradient
With the shape still selected, click on the little gradient icon below the color pickers to fill it with a gradient. Open up the Gradients Panel (Window > Gradient) and set the type to general. Set the left color to R: 173 G: 0 B: 0 and the right one to R: 41 G: 0 B: 0, both shades of red.
Step 3: Adding the Halftone Pattern
Create a new layer. Open up the Symbols Panel (Window > Symbols) and click on the little folder icon at the bottom left of the panel. This will allow you to open any symbol library. Chose “Dot Pattern Vector Pack”. Go ahead and drag the first symbol from the list onto the artboard.
After you have the symbol in place, right-click and select “Break Link to Symbol” in order to be able to modify its apperance. Also take the time to scale it down a bit and fill it with white.
With the symbol still selected, bring up the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and chose Soft Light as the blending mode, while dropping the opacity down to about 40-50%.
By adding a bit of text and setting its blending mode to “Overlay” as well, you can get this as a finished result. As I said in the beginning, this tutorial is just the underlying effect to teach you about blending options and symbols within Illustrator.