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In Illustrator CS5 Web and Interactive Design, Mordy Golding shows how to create pixel-perfect graphics for use in web sites, video compositions, and mobile apps. This course covers a wide range of workflows, from creating online ad campaigns, web sites, icons, to taking art from Illustrator to Flash Professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and creative techniques along the way, Mordy provides insight and instruction for taking projects from initial concept straight through to production. Exercise files accompany the course.
Illustrator offers a variety of ways to style your text. For example, I can come over here to the Window menu, choose to open up, underneath Type over here, something called Character > Paragraph. I'm going to choose Character here, to start off with. You can see, by the way, it's grouped with the Paragraph panel as well. But if I go to the Character panel, you'll see that I have the ability to click on some text. In this case, it's the point text object. I can choose different fonts, font styles. I can choose point size, and a variety of other text settings that are here.
However, if I choose to style text in this way, it can be a very tedious process, especially if you consider the way that most people will think about text across an entire web site. Most people rely on something called CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets. By defining style sheets upfront, you can quickly change the way that your text looks across an entire web site. Well, Illustrator also has a feature called paragraph styles and character styles, which simulate how CSS actually works.
Now, while the styles that we use inside of Illustrator don't instantly become CSS styles later on, using these styles here inside of Illustrator will make our lives that much more easy, and will also prepare us mentally for how we're going to eventually code these as CSS. So to see how that works, I'm actually going to close the Character panel. I'm going to switch to a different document here. Right now, this is page_design2, which just has some raw text inside of it. But I'm going to come over here to this document called text_styles. Now here is a separate document. I've created a one large text frame, an area text object.
I've put some regular text inside of it. I started to style the text, based on how I eventually want that text to look. So, for example, I would take, let's say, my Type tool, highlight the first line of type, change its color. In this case, here I've given it a color here. I've applied this deeper blue color to this text. To bring up the Character panel, the keyboard shortcut is Command+T, for type. That will be Ctrl+T on Windows. You can see that I've styled this with Chaparral Pro, bold. I've set it to 32-point size, so on and so forth.
I've done the same for these other styles that I am eventually going to use. I'm also going to open up here my Paragraph Styles panel. So over here, we have our Character and our Paragraph panel. That's for character and paragraph formatting. But you'll also have, in addition, in Illustrator, the Character Styles and the Paragraph Styles panel, which we added to our workspace when we defined our custom web workspace. You'll notice that in this document, I already have some styles called paragraph styles set up, things like h1, h2, h3, so on and so forth.
If you actually click on these, you can actually see that these are already styled, and they highlight, identifying which style they're linked to. So, for example, if I click over here in the paragraph style, I can see that's currently set to p. So let's see how we actually create these paragraph styles. I want to take you to the process of actually creating this, so that you can define your own styles. Now note, also since I eventually am going to be using CSS for this, and of course, this is going to be HTML, I am naming these styles what they eventually are going to be. This will make life a little bit easier for me when I started to convert this to code, or if I'm handing it off to a developer who will then turn that into code, they have a better idea of my intent when I designed this.
So I'm actually going to take this p paragraph style, and drag it to the Trash here. I'm going to delete that. Yes, I'm going to choose to delete the style selection. Notice over here that this paragraph right now, no longer has an association. It's set to the default, which is called normal paragraph style. We'll talk more about what that plus means in just a moment. But I'm now going to go ahead and show you how to define your own paragraph style. Now the easiest way to create your paragraph style is to first style your text on the artboard. So as you can see over here, if I highlight this text, you can see that right now, it's set to Georgia, Regular, and 18 pt.
If I go to my Paragraph panel, it says to have 6 points of space added on top of the paragraph. So that's a little bit of a buffer room over here that I can add. Think about it as padding, for example. I've set that up using the Character and Paragraph Styles panel. Now I actually want to turn this now into paragraph style. So all I really need to do is just place my cursor anywhere inside of this paragraph style. Simply come over to the Paragraph Styles panel. While I can click on this button at the bottom here to create a new style, I rarely do that, because it does not give me the opportunity to name my style.
It just calls it like paragraph style 1, paragraph style 2, so on, and so forth. So I really want to name it right from the start. Remember, naming things is going to be important, especially if I know that later on I'm going to turn this into CSS or HTML with standard names over here. But I'm going to come over here to the flyout menu of the Paragraph Styles panel, and choose to create a new paragraph style. In doing so, I am immediately asked to name that paragraph. So I'm going to call it just p. Click OK. Notice now that style has been created.
So I'm going to double-click on it, and that's going to allow me to see the settings for this paragraph style. So this is yet another way for me to also define my paragraph style. If I don't want to first style them on the artboard, I can quickly just define the style, double-click on it to open up the paragraph style Options dialog box to now change the settings of that style. So I'm going to come over here to where it says Basic Character Formats. Here I can change the font family, the font style, the actual point size, and I can choose some other settings here. I will tell you that eventually, this is going to become regular HTML text that's driven by CSS.
You can focus on some of the main settings here, but some of them are really not important, for example, kerning which really doesn't exist within a web browser; it's not important, so I'm not going to bother by choosing that setting here. However, the leading, which is the amount of space that appears between each line, and the tracking, which controls the amount of space in between each letter, those settings do actually occur in CSS. So feel free to use those if you want to. Notice, by the way, that if these settings are set to blank, that means they pick up the default settings inside of Illustrator. This is somewhat similar, if you understand what CSS is, to a cascade that happens in a web page.
We know that by default, certain web browsers have certain settings that are picked up in the cascade. Where do these actual settings come from? They're not from our browser, because we're inside of Illustrator. They actually come from something called character styles, which we'll talk about just a little bit later. But for now, we're focused on the paragraph style. I can choose over here Advanced Character Formats, so I can choose things, for example, like Horizontal or Vertical Scale to kind of squash or squeeze my text. I don't really recommend the use of that. But what you might find helpful though, is actually choosing a language. You know if you choose, for example, English, that means that Spell Check will actually know that that text is English, and it will spell check it, and also hyphen it correctly according to those English libraries.
This might be helpful if you want to make sure that the text that you're using is spelled correctly. However, keep in mind, if the text that you have here is really just placeholder text for a text that'll eventually place into HTML in your web site, well, it really doesn't make a difference what kind of spelling you have here inside of this text. I'm going to choose over here Indents and Spacing, where you can choose left, right, and first line indents. You can also choose alignment, meaning align left or align right or centered. You can also choose to add space before or after your paragraph, which again is similar to padding. Now, there isn't an exact one-to-one match between what CSS supports and what Illustrator supports in paragraph styles.
But remember, we're not actually defining the CSS right now. We just want to get into the right mindset. We want to make sure that our text is going to look pretty close in our mock-ups that we're creating inside of Illustrator. So they eventually will be able to look that way inside of our final design. Because of that, a lot of these other settings really don't make much sense; for example, Tabs, Composition, Hyphenation. These are all things that are going to change in the real text that we have laid out inside of the browser. One thing that is important to note, however, is the character color. You do have the ability to specify what color you want that text to be.
Of course, the OpenType Features don't apply to web design. Hopefully, one day we'll get through a point where we have some of the really fancy OpenType Features available to us within a web browser. But for now, the OpenType Features are relegated purely towards print, or of course, if you're going to be exporting your type as graphics, and not as text itself. So once you get all of these settings correct, you would simply click OK, and that would be your style. Now notice over here this little Plus sign at the end. Normally, that means that there is some kind of an override. There is something in that paragraph that doesn't match all of the settings that are there.
Normally if you click on this, again, a second time, Illustrator will clear those overrides, so that now the entire paragraph conforms to the settings that you specified. Again, the text that we're dealing with here inside of Illustrator really is just for a mock-up, so if there is a Plus sign there, it really is not the end of the world. But clearing the Plus sign can ensure consistency in your design. If you'd like to, you can reorganize all the styles inside of the Paragraph Styles panel. So I can just take the p style, for example, drag it up over here so now it appears in the order that I might want to apply them on a page.
Then what I'll do is I'll simply save this document. I'll choose File > Save. So, great. I now have this document here called text_styles.ai. The reason why I kind of do things in a separate document here is because many times I'm working on mock-ups of multiple pages in my design. I don't want to worry about having to design text one way on one page and then go to a completely different document on a different page, and worry about whether or not those settings are going to be the same as they were in the previous page. So by creating a separate document called text_styles, I'm also putting myself into that mindset of how CSS really works.
Now we know that there are several ways to apply CSS, but a popular way of doing this is to create a link to an external CSS file that controls the way that text appears across an entire web site. So now, we're going to kind of simulate that here inside of Illustrator as well. I'm going to come down to my page_design2 page. This is the page that has just the raw text inside of it. I want to start styling this. So I'm going to now import the paragraph styles that I created in that other document, so that I can use it now inside of this document. So I'm going to close the Character and Paragraph Styles panel.
We don't need that right now. I'm going to come into my Paragraph Styles panel. I'm going to click on the little flyout menu here, and I'm going to choose Load All Styles. When I do that, I'm going to get a dialog box that's going to ask me to point to another Illustrator file. I'm going to choose to point to the text_styles.ai file, which is in our Chapter 05 of the exercise files. I'll choose Open. Notice now that Illustrator loaded all the styles that were available inside of that document now into this document. So now I can really get started styling this text.
The beauty about this is that a) all my text is going to look consistent across an entire web site, but it's also a lot easier for me to quickly style the text, instead of dealing with the Character and Paragraph panels, and worrying about selecting all different parts of text. So let me show you what I mean by that. I'm going to take my regular Selection tool, and click on the word "Mission," over here. I'm simply going to apply the h1 style to that. Now notice over here, I have a Plus sign, which means that this is an override here. So I'm going to click once more. Now it's going to take that full setting of h1.
If you want to avoid the double-click that you have to do over there, you can hold down the Alt or the Option key. That would be Alt on Windows or Option on Mac, as you apply the styles. So let's see what I mean by that. I'm going to take my Type tool here, I'm going to click just inside of this text right over here, I'm going to hit Command+A to select all of this text, I'm not going to come over here to the p, and I'm going to Option+click on the p setting. That's going to automatically override all the settings, and set it to the p paragraph style. Next, I'm going to come over here to where it says who we are, just select that one line.
Remember, I don't need to select the whole line. A paragraph style will be consistent across the entire paragraph. So, all I need to do is just indicate to Illustrator which paragraph I want to deal with. Paragraphs are always indicated by a hard return, so as long as my cursor is blinking anywhere inside of that paragraph, I can just simply come over here, and just Option+click on h3 to make that an h3 style. Let's see how I'll quickly style the sidebar text here on the bottom. So I'm just going to move my cursor over here, click once to highlight this text, press Command+A, Option+click on sidebar p, simply click on just Monthly Specials here, and turn that into sidebar h4.
I actually notice there is a spelling error here. Let me go ahead and change that. Next, I come over to this paragraph. Again, put my cursor inside the paragraph, Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all the text inside of the paragraph. Set it to sidebar p. Now this time, I did not hold down the Option key, so that's why I see the Plus sign here. I can just click again to go ahead and clear that override. Just one thing to note: if you double- click too quickly, it's going to open up the Paragraph Styles dialog, so that you can make a change for that. So when you want to clear the override, if you're not using the Option key, just click once, pause for a second, and then click again.
Next, I'll go ahead and just put my cursor where it says, Did You Know? We'll turn that to a sidebar h4. Then we'll just do the same thing here again. Let's make this a sidebar p. I'm going to make this over here say, Sign Up! That's going to be a sidebar h4. Again, I'm holding down the Option key as I'm doing this. Notice how that forced the last line over here outside of this frame. I'm simply going to switch to my regular Selection tool to expand the frame. Now I can see the word "Join" here. That's going to be a different style. Actually, I'm just going to put my cursor inside of that style. I'm going to Option+click where it says sidebar p more. That goes ahead now and sets that for right, and changes its color and its font.
So now with a few clicks, I was able to actually go ahead and I restyle my text. Now the truth is, when we think about workflow, if I go back to my text_styles document, and I realize now that I want to make some kind of a change, just changing any style here in this document will not update any other document. This is a completely separate file. All I did was I've used this as a source, I've taken the styles from this document, and imported them into another. What I can do, however, is make a change in this document. Then I can come back to this document page 2 over here.
I can delete one of those styles. Let's say I made a change to the way that paragraph appears. I can delete the paragraph. Then I can choose to re-import styles again. It will automatically sense that all these other styles are the same, but it will re-import now the new version of the paragraph style. But then I would need to go ahead and reapply that paragraph to the text, because it will no longer be associated with that style anymore. But that's the way that you kind of go about updating your text inside of Illustrator. Using paragraph styles is extremely powerful. Like I said, it really puts you in the right frame of mind when you think about eventually coding your page using HTML and CSS.
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