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Tracing hand-drawn type


From:

Designing a Logo

with Nigel French

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.
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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Logo
2h 57m Intermediate Sep 17, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

A great logo is often basic, composed only of essential parts, but simple is not always easy. Designer Nigel French distills over a decade of professional design and teaching experience in Designing a Logo. He discusses the principles and techniques of what makes a logo work, and explains type-only designs, type treatments, and logo symbols in depth. He also explores how to work with clients on defining job parameters and selecting a final design, as well as how to prepare the logo for print and web publication. Nigel demonstrates each of these techniques in the course of designing a new logo for a real client, so viewers can either follow along or apply the techniques to their own work. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Choosing the right typeface
  • Exploring transparency, warped type, and other treatments
  • Working with line, shape, and imagery in a logo symbol
  • Considering current trends in logo design
  • Fine-tuning a design after client selection
  • Drawing up usage guidelines
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator InDesign
Author:
Nigel French

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.

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A: Discover more on this topic by visiting graphic design on lynda.com.
 
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