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Outlining type

From: Designing a Logo

Video: Outlining type

Here are some famous logos that use outlined or stroked type, where the color of the outline of the letters is different from the letter shapes themselves or where the letter shapes are shadowed or in some cases where the letters have an in line. We are going to see how we can apply these techniques in Illustrator to our logo in progress and hopefully, you will be able to explore how these may be applicable to your particular logo in progress. All right, let's now go over to Illustrator. I'm in the document that's called logo_outline. You can follow along with this or just work in your own document from scratch. Okay, here I'm in Illustrator with some different variations on working with outline type.

Outlining type

Here are some famous logos that use outlined or stroked type, where the color of the outline of the letters is different from the letter shapes themselves or where the letter shapes are shadowed or in some cases where the letters have an in line. We are going to see how we can apply these techniques in Illustrator to our logo in progress and hopefully, you will be able to explore how these may be applicable to your particular logo in progress. All right, let's now go over to Illustrator. I'm in the document that's called logo_outline. You can follow along with this or just work in your own document from scratch. Okay, here I'm in Illustrator with some different variations on working with outline type.

The first one I'm going to look at is, not exactly outlined but just a simple drop shadow. The point being here though this isn't just the copy of the letters offset and put behind the original but rather is a drop shadow effect, and that's just easier in terms of editing in the future. And how we get this is just type in our text and let's make that something out of the black. We'll have it be red. Now, I want to give this a shadow, I'm going to come to the Effect menu and choose Stylize > Drop Shadow.

Now, because we don't want to have any soft edges, if I turn on my preview, that how it's going to start. These gradated soft edges are going to be difficult to reproduce in certain situations so it's not going to be robust enough for our logo. So, we want to make sure that we got the Blend Mode set to Normal, the Opacity to 100, the Blur to 0. There's our shadow and now we just mess around with the Offset amount so I want a very minimal 1 point. And this is a live effects so the point being, if I edit my text, the shadow updates with it.

OK, moving along to our next technique. All right, let's now take a look at the second outlining technique. This is a simple one, but it's an important point because when we apply a stroke to our type traditionally using the Fill and Stroke properties on our Tool panel, the stroke weight changes the letter shapes because half of it goes inside the letters and half of it goes outside the letters. If I un-apply that stroke, there we see the letter shapes and now if I re-apply that, we see that half of the stroke weight is going inside the letter shapes. So, it's actually changing the shapes of the characters. Ideally, we'd like to avoid that and here is how we can avoid that.

Rather than applying the stroke and fill using the Stroke and Fill properties here, I'm going to apply them using the Appearance panel. So, if I choose my Appearance panel, I'm going to select both of these and then from my panel menu I'll choose Add New Fill. You see that when I do that, the fill is now on top of the former Stroke property. I'm going to come and click on the stroke and I'm going to make the green color that we are using. What we can do here is to avoid the stroke changing the character shapes as I drag the stroke underneath the fill. Watch carefully when I do that and there we see that the stroke is now going completely outside of the letter shapes or rather we are only seeing the portion of it that goes outside of the letter shapes. So I might just want to bump up the weight of that stroke. So that's the preferable way of applying a stroke to types so that we avoid changing the shape of the characters.

I'm now going to zoom out, Apple+0 and let's take a look at this technique. It's like a variant of that where I'm offsetting the stroke by having a copy of the type behind the original. So, if we look at the Appearance panel we see that I have got one fill that has a wide stroke and than I have another fill behind that, that is filled with green, no stroke on that but there is a transformation and that transformation is a live effect chosen from under the Effect menu and that is causing the green copy to be offset.

With the green copy behind it, we see the white stroke that is on the black original that is at the top of the stack. I think what I'll do here is duplicate that, holding down the Alt key and dragging away from it. And then on the duplicate, I'm going to delete that transformation and then delete that fill just by dragging both of them in turn to the Trashcan. So with my type selected, I'm going to come back to the Appearance panel and choose Add New Fill and I'll change the color of that fill to my green color and then I'm going to move that fill underneath the existing fill and stroke and of course it's sitting directly beneath it so, we are not seeing it at the moment. But we did select it and I'm now going to go to the Effect menu and choose Distort & Transform > Transform. Now, this is not quite interactive as you might like, you have to use this sliders here and it's a little bit numerical but if I turn on my preview, what I want to do is I want to move it horizontally and not quite that much, may be about that much and I want to move it vertically.

Now if want it to go down, I need to make the vertical a minus number, so I need to move to the left and that is almost exactly what I want. Let's have -2, here we go. The advantage here is that rather than stacking up different copies and then you go and edit one of those copies, and everything that's beneath it also need to be edited, I can edit this type and it will have that same effect applied to it.

Okay, moving along with our different approaches to applying strokes to our characters. I'm now going to zoom out, Apple or Ctrl+0. Let's take a look at this example here, and this is again a slide variant on once that we have already seen. I have got multiple copies with multiple strokes. So, let's just take a look and deconstruct path. Using my Appearance panel, I have got type filled with green as the stroke and then behind that is another stroke of a thicker weight. Now if I throw that stroke away, I'll select both pieces of type. I'll throw that stroke away just by dragging it to the Trashcan. And you will see that the white stroke on the green type currently not visible because it is against the white background.

But if I now choose Add New Stroke, I just need to make sure the white of that stroke is heavier than the existing stroke, well, it is a different color and it goes behind the existing strokes. I'm going to make it two points and I'm going to make it green and now when I drag it down in my stack in my Appearance panel, it sits behind the first stroke and I have got some nicely multipley outlined type. Moving along all the way over here. So I want to begin with type which I'm then going to need to convert to outlines and then I'm going to offset that path to make this much larger type shape its going to sit behind the type and form this interesting background for it.

I'm going to do this one from scratch. So, I'm going to put in my type and I'm using a font here called Cooper Black, which is very brown and cuddly. The font I used in the original example was Helvetica Rounded, which I don't have on this machine, so I'm using Copper Black as an alternative. All right, let's set the fill of that to piper and I'm going to copy it because I need a copy of that to paste back in, after I have done the next few steps. So, Apple+C or Ctrl+C will copy that to the clipboard and then I'm going to choose, Create Outlines to convert my type to vector shapes. And now, I want to offset the path. Just before I do that, I'll change the color to the green I'm using and come up to the Effect menu and choose Path > Offset Path and turn on my preview and that's what we are going to get with that 10 pt offset, which is a little bit too much. I'm going to make that 8 pt.

You might want to experiment with the type of joins, since I'm starting with such a rounded original that you might want to experiment with these. Choosing Round may give you a better result depending on the font that you are working with. And then I'm going to click OK and there I want to paste that copy back in front, Apple or Ctrl+F or Edit > Paste In Front, and it's going to go exactly on top of that. OK, now let's take this one step further, what if we now want to put a stroke on the bubbly shape in the background. Well, I'm going to select that and this time rather than doing it from under the Object menu, I'm going to do it using my Appearance panel and I'm going to choose Add New Stroke. Black is fine, that's actually the color that I want. I'm restricting myself to two colors for most of these examples because I want my logo to be in only two colors. Now I'm going to come to the Effect menu and choose Offset Path.

It's there because it was the last thing that I used but typically, we will need to come down to Path and slide over to Offset Path. And let's turn on my preview. That is a bit too much. So I'm going to reduce that to about 3 points and that's exactly what I'm after. So this is my offset path applied to the bubble shape that is now behind the type. So in this movie, we have been looking at different techniques for putting a stroke around type and working with multiple strokes and offsetting the paths of those strokes. In the next video, I'm going to be looking at putting type on a path, specifically putting type around a circle.

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Designing a Logo

31 video lessons · 60397 viewers

Nigel French
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