Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Tracing hand-drawn type

From: Designing a Logo

Video: Tracing hand-drawn type

There are many, many successful logos that use hand-drawn type. And with hand- drawn type you can convey a really personal, informal, friendly feel. But what we don't want to do, if we going to go down this route, is that we don't want to use a script typeface because if we do, it's going to look exactly the same as somebody else's logo who used the same script typeface. Much better to draw our letters ourselves and also much more characterful.

Tracing hand-drawn type

There are many, many successful logos that use hand-drawn type. And with hand- drawn type you can convey a really personal, informal, friendly feel. But what we don't want to do, if we going to go down this route, is that we don't want to use a script typeface because if we do, it's going to look exactly the same as somebody else's logo who used the same script typeface. Much better to draw our letters ourselves and also much more characterful.

So I'm going to look at two different approaches to creating hand-drawn letters in Illustrator. I spoke to my client and I said, "How's your handwriting?" and she said, "Well, it's not bad." So I had her write out the name of her company and I scanned it and that's what I have here. And then with that scan I Live Traced it. And this is the result I got or rather this is the cleaned up result I got. So let's just quickly run through that. I won't subject you to watching me clean it up too much because that's a little bit tedious to watch. But I'm going to select the image of the scan, Live Trace and then click on my Tracing Options.

And I have got quite a lot of crumbliness around the shapes of the characters and that's just because it was done with the pencil. I'm going to try and eliminate some of that by blurring the image slightly. Then turning on my Preview to see if that makes a difference. I think it does help, yeah okay. So I'm going to trace that. I'll now want to get in and work with the shapes that Live Trace has created and modified them. So I need to click on the Expand button, choose my Direct Selection tool just swipe over that and then delete that. Now I can come in and adjust the Bezier control points and the anchor points to change the shape of these letters and it's going to be a somewhat painstaking process but hopefully worth it. So that's one approach.

Now the other approach. If you have a tablet stylus, pressure sensitive pen then you can hand-draw your letters in Illustrator using the Brush tool. This too can be a painstaking process and I found it to be easier drawing myself some guides first before I get started. So I know where the base line of my letters is. So I'm going to come over to my Layers panel and I have this layer here, Guides. I have typed out my words in brush script. Not because I wanted to look like brush script but just because I want the proportions of the letters to be broadly similar and then I have drawn myself guides corresponding to the Baseline, the Descender line, the X- height and the Ascender height which all may sound a bit technical for something that's going to end up looking fairly child-like and informal but it does help, believe me.

So then I'm going to zoom in and I want to make sure that my Brush tool options are set correctly. So let's just take a look at those. I want to Fill new brush strokes unchecked and I want Keep Selected unchecked also. So now I'm going to write my letters. Well that's okay. It's not great but I'm going to live with that for now. I can come and modify the shapes of the characters using my Direct Selection tool clicking on the outline, want to make sure that I just highlight the path and then I pull those shapes around may be adjust the Bezier control points. Before you know it, you have lost the whole hour to this technique. So be careful.

So I'll do some of that getting it just how I like it. I want to make sure that my Strokes have the right end to them. So I'm going to single click on my Stroke panel and see I want this one here the Rounded Cap and this one here the Rounded Join. That's going to prevent us from having any sharp points to the tips of our letters and I think what I wanted to do next is increase the Weight of the stroke that we have here. Let's change that to 2 pt weight. Now I'll go to my Object menu and to Path, because I want to turn my strokes into paths and to do that I'm going to choose this one Outline Stroke. That's not looking too bad at all.

It seems that when I choose outline stroke, things get a little bit thinner than they had been before because it's loosing the stroke that was there before. So I'm going to now having made my strokes into fills I'm going to give those fills a stroke. Let's see obviously we want a black stroke and yeah we will go for two point stroke and then I'm going to return to the Path > Outline Stroke. Hang on I have got my Guide selected as well. So I'm going to lock my Guides Apple+Alt+Semicolon or Ctrl+Alt+ Semicolon to lock them and then we will try that again. Path > Outline Stroke.

Lastly, we're going to go to my old friend the Pathfinder panel and I want to add all those shapes together. We have got lots of overlaps and unnecessary anchor points there. So I'm going to hold down my Alt key and click on the Add To Shape Area to remove any of those. And of course I can further fiddle with that and pull the anchor points around to my heart's content.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Designing a Logo
Designing a Logo

31 video lessons · 60318 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Designing a Logo.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.