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In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, author Mordy Golding shows how to create type that’s both beautiful and communicative, whether it’s destined for logos, brochures, signs, infographics, or simple documents. This course covers core typography concepts, such as working with Unicode and OpenType fonts, applying character and paragraph settings, managing text with styles and text threads, placing text along a path, and wrapping text around graphics.
When dealing with text inside of Illustrator, we can either focus on the characters themselves, which we've been doing in the previous chapter, or we can focus on the entire paragraph, which is what we're going to cover in this chapter. A paragraph is obviously defined in Illustrator by anything that is contained within a single carriage return. So we know there's something called the Enter key in our keyboard, or the Return key. Anytime we hit that Return key or that Enter key in our text, we are telling Illustrator that we are starting a new paragraph.
Now, of course I could have just two words and then hit the Enter key, meaning that I now have a new paragraph. Or I could have a whole bunch of words, or a whole bunch of sentences, but the important thing to realize is that inside of Illustrator, hitting that Return key or that Enter key defines a new paragraph. So you can see over here on my screen, I am working on this file called paragraph.ai, and if I click on this right now, you'll see this is an Area Type object. So I have a frame and I have a paragraph of type within it. Now, while it's true I can have a paragraph inside of Point Text, likely when you have a lot of text and you're dealing with Paragraph Settings, you're probably going to have those set to Area Type, because that gives you the ability to just resize the frame, like I am doing here, and you can see that the text automatically reflows within that one frame.
Now, to see the basic Paragraph Settings, I am going to click over here on the word Paragraph to bring up my Paragraph panel. If you don't already have these panels open, you could simply go to the Window menu, scroll down to where it says Type, and then choose Paragraph. So I am here looking at these settings, and the basic settings are really just across the top here, these icons which define what we refer to as the justification of the paragraphs. Now, there are several different options here. The first one here is called Align left. That means that the left side of my paragraph. or the text within my paragraph.
all starts in the same location, and then as the lines end and wrap to the next line, it simply ends wherever that's up to. So notice the text has not come all the way to the edge of the frame. Each line basically has a little bit of a different length. Now, if I choose the next option here called Align center, now you can see that the text is centered within the frame itself. Each line appears centered here inside of the frame. So again, the lines are still not the same length-- some of them are a little bit longer, some of them are a little bit shorter--but they're all centered here in the middle of the frame.
Notice the last line here is centered right now in the middle of the frame, and this is what we refer to as aligned center. We can also choose Align right, which means, again, all my text is aligned on the right side here. So I have everything flushed on the right, but on the left side here, I see that the line lengths are different, because everything is now being pushed over here to the right side. Now, you may hear type designers throw around terms like Align right or Flush right or Flush left. These are all different ways of saying the same thing.
Basically you have one side of your paragraph that's aligned straight, while the other one is not. But then you have these options here called Justified. If I click on this one over here, you can see that both the left and the right sides of my paragraph all meet the size of the frame. If I were to go ahead now and resize this frame, no matter what size I make it, Illustrator is always going to make sure that the left and the right sides of every single line of my paragraph match perfectly to the size of the frame. But the thing to focus here is the last line, because obviously all of these lines are going to start and end exactly where their frames are. So the question is, when I have just a few words here at the bottom, how does Illustrator treat that? I can either have the last line aligned to the left, which is the first setting here; I can have the last line aligned to the center; or I can have the last line aligned to the right.
The final option here is fully hustified, where if I click this option, Illustrator basically spreads it out, so that all lines, no matter how many words around that last line, will always stretch and match that size. This looks kind of weird with all this big space here, but there may be times when you're working inside of Illustrator where you have a certain type treatment that will require that. Now, if I go ahead now and I resize this, you can see, for example here, the spacing is not as bad. I do have a little bit of extra spacing on this line here, but you can see over here that the last line now all stretches out to match.
So all the lines now start and end exactly where the frame starts and ends as well. Now, I am just going to go ahead now and reset this frame all the way to kind of where it was before, and let's set it to align left over here. I just want to share with you some keyboard shortcuts. When you're working inside of Illustrator the last thing you want to do is keep running to the Paragraph panel to click on these little icons. Of course, you'll always see them here inside the Control panel, and usually the basic ones are here visible. Of course, you can click on the word Paragraph to temporarily bring up these options. But when you're actually working with text, since my entire frame is selected right now, all paragraphs would adjust according to the keyboard shortcuts that I am about to use.
If I press Command+Shift+L on my keyboard, or Ctrl+Shift+L on Windows, that would set my paragraph to align left. If I use Command+Shift+R or Ctrl+Shift+R, that aligns my paragraph right. And Command+Shift+C or Ctrl+Shift+C centers my text within my frame. Now, these keyboard shortcuts work with Point Text as well. So, for example, if I take my Type tool here and I click right over here to create a new Point Text object, and I type in, let's say, Say it with Flowers. Let's go ahead and take this right now.
I am using my keyboard shortcuts, Command+Shift+> to make my text bigger. You can see now how the point right now is in the center, because this Point Text object is Aligned center right now. See, how this setting now is chosen in the Paragraph panel. However, if I were to press Ctrl+Shift+L or Command+Shift+L, see how now my text shifts. The actual point stays in the same location; I am just aligning my text differently to that point. If I press Command+Shift+R or Ctrl+Shift+R, my text is now Aligned right, but again, my point stays in the same location.
I'll press one more time Command+Shift+ L to go back to align left, and you can see how that now adjusts the text within that Point Text object. So I can use these keyboard shortcuts to both Area Text and Point Text, but it's important to realize that at any time working inside of Illustrator, I can use these basic paragraph justification settings for left, center, and right. Of course, with Point Text objects, the justification settings, meaning these full justification options here, make absolutely no sense, because there's no bounds that defines where that text should go to.
Only an Area Text object has those bounds, so Illustrator knows exactly where to stretch or constrain that type to. Now, of course, there are other paragraph-based settings inside of Illustrator, and that's what we're going to focus on for the remainder of this chapter.
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