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How To Create Custom Type Designs in Adobe Illustrator

September 21, 2019


How’s it going everyone, welcome back to another
Spoon Graphics video tutorial. Today’s video is all about custom type in
Adobe Illustrator. Now I have to admit I’m a bit of a noob when
a comes to hand lettering, so in this tutorial I’m going to share some secrets on how you
can still create cool looking typography by customising ready-made fonts. Once I’ve brushed up on my hand lettering
skills enough to be able to draw out custom type from scratch I’ll make a video on scanning
and vectorising your artwork, but today I’ll show you how us mere mortals can make use
of the high quality fonts with OpenType features that have been made by the typographic gods. The tutorial will then continue with some
customisation of the type to add shadows, offset accents and highlights to create a
bright and colourful typography designs. So begin by opening up Adobe Illustrator and
create a new document. I’m using a generic A4 layout but with the
document rulers set to pixels. I always like to go to View>Hide Artboards
to give myself a large workspace to play with. Since we’re going to use ready-made fonts
in this tutorial, we need to find a suitable typeface to work with. Now chances are you’re going to have to spend
some money here because the majority of free fonts available on the web just don’t come
packed with the OpenType features we’re looking for. If you’ve ever bought any of the bundles I’ve
recommended in my newsletters, chances are you’ll have the font I’m using plus many others
in your collection already. Otherwise you can pick up Bonbon, which is
the script font I’m using in this video, from the link in the description. What these premium fonts have over the typical
free font is a range of OpenType features. These are alternative characters for each
letter that often include variations with ligatures or swashes. They allow you to put together unique typographic
designs that disguise the fact that it’s made using a font, rather than being a handmade
piece. Type out your chosen wording and set the font
with the Type tool and scale it to a suitable size. Open up the OpenType panel to find the settings
for these special features and play around with them to see the various styles available. When working on logos or typographic designs,
it’s sometimes worth duplicating your text and applying the different settings to each
one so you can easily compare the letters. So the first one is plain with no OpenType
effects, the second adds Contextual Alternates, the next one is all Swashes and so on. Make another copy of the text that you’ll
use as your final design, then pick and choose your favourite letter styles and replicate
the settings on each character. Here I’m using a Stylistic Alternate for the
letter H, contextual letters S and T so they flow nicely, then the Tilting Alternate for
the letter L adds a nice swoosh that sweeps back and crosses the T, which is an effect
you would otherwise only be able to create by hand, or with some serious path editing,
so it just goes to show how investing in premium fonts can really up your game in your design
work. Once you’ve found a cool looking type layout,
move your design into some empty space on the artboard, then right click and select
Create Outlines to convert it into a solid shapes. Each letter will be an individual shape, so
click the Merge option from the Pathfinder panel to blend them into one continuous outline. Next go to Object>Path>Offset Path and
enter 10px. This will be automatically grouped with the
original, so right click and select Ungroup. Ungrouping will accidentally separate any
unconnected letters, so be sure to hold shift and select all the portions of the word. Give the originals a white fill to make them
visible against the black offset, then hit the Merge button from the Pathfinder panel
to combine them again. Select all the pieces of the black offset
version and merge them back together too. With the offset version still selected, go
to Edit>Copy, followed by Edit>Paste in Back. Hold the Shift key and nudge the duplicate
down and to the right. Shift and select both the offset shapes, then
head to Object>Blend>Make. Go straight back to Object>Blend>Blend
Options and change the setting to Specified Steps. Increase the value to a high number to generate
a smooth transition between them. Permanently apply this blend effect by going
to Object>Expand, which makes loads of individual shapes. Blend these together with the Pathfinder’s
Merge button to simplify it into one outline. Select the inner white text outline and go
to Edit>Copy, followed by Edit>Paste in Back. Nudge this shape about 5 pixels down and to
the right, then give it a bright colour fill like #ff2468, which is a vibrant pinky red. Click the original white text again to select
it and add a black stroke in the bottom of the toolbar. In the Stroke panel, change the alignment
to the Outside, add the Round Cap option and increase the stroke weight to around 8pt. We can further customise the type by adding
hand made shapes to accentuate some of the curves and strokes. Zoom in and select the Pen tool. Set up the appearance with just a black fill,
no stroke. Draw a path that extends from the black outline
into the shape, following the direction of the outline to create a tapered point. Complete the path back at the start to make
an enclosed shape. Continue adding these shapes elsewhere in
the design, where a brush stroke would naturally overlap the other letters if the type was
drawn by hand. If you need to adjust the shape, switch to
the Direct Selection tool to alter the bezier curves. This little trick helps take the overall appearance
further away from being made with a ready made font and gives it more of that custom
hand lettered appearance. One final embellishment we can add is some
highlights. Select the Ellipse tool and hold Shift while
drawing a small circle. Give this circle a vibrant fill, such as this
cyan colour of #86f8ff. Grab the Direct Selection tool and click and
drag each of the two side points outwards which holding the Shift key to stretch the
shape out into a tapered brush stroke effect. With the shape still selected, click the New
Brush icon in the Brushes panel, then select New Art Brush. Hit OK on the default settings (or one setting
to potentially change is to select Tints for the colourization method, so the colour can
be changed in the future). Switch the fill and stroke around in the toolbar,
then select the Pen tool. Draw a path that follows the outline of the
text, to the right hand side of the first letter’s stroke. Click the newly created brush from the Brushes
panel to see the tapering effect applied to the path. Depending on the size of your original circle
the scaling need to be adjusted by altering the Stroke weight. Continue adding paths across the type wherever
you want highlights to appear. Stick to a basic pattern, like only adding
them to one side of each letter, but make sure they follow the outline of the text by
dragging those bezier handles until they match. Once you’ve drawn all your paths, with one
still selected, go to Select>Same>Stroke Colour to select them all, then apply the
tapered brush effect and change the Stroke weight as appropriate. Select the Rectangle tool and draw a shape
over the design, which will still have the same colour fill applied. Right click and go to Arrange>Send to Back
to use it as a nice background to your artwork. So I hope these tips help you create some
cool typography of your own. It just goes to show that you don’t need to
be a hand lettering master to be able to create nice typographic designs if you have the right
tools. If you are a whizz at illustrating your own
text, the same techniques can be applied to your artwork once it has been traced to give
it more impact. If you enjoyed the tutorial or learnt anything
new stick around for more by subscribing to the Spoon Graphics YouTube channel, or join
my mailing list at spoon.graphics to receive a heads up about deals on quality design resources,
along with my written tutorials, articles and freebies. So as always thank you very much for watching,
and I’ll see you in the next one.

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