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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.
So we know that we can create type on a path inside of Illustrator, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the difference between applying this setting to both an open path and a closed path, because it really requires an understanding of exactly how type on a path is similar to Area type. So in this movie here I am going to start by creating just a blank document. I will press Command+N or Ctrl+N to get a new document. I am just going to use my default settings here for Print Profile, but I will choose a wide orientation, and then I will click OK. So maybe I just want to create just a simple Type on a Path object.
I am going to take my Line tool, click and drag to draw a line across the screen right here, and now I am going to switch to my Type tool, and you will notice that when I mouse over this path, it automatically changes the Type on a Path tool. I am not holding down the Option key or the Alt key on my keyboard right now, and the reason why Illustrator creates this behavior is because it knows that this now is an open path. So there is no area that is enclosed by this shape, so turning this into an Area Type object makes absolutely no sense. I probably want to actually create text along this path.
Now, if I wanted to, I can press the Option key or the Alt key and now I'm basically going in the other direction. I am telling Illustrator, no, I don't want to create a Path Type object. I really do want to create an Area Type object, and that's why now my tool changes to this tool with the parentheses. However, normally when working with an open path, Illustrator assumes that I now want to put Type on a Path when I'm using the Type tool. So I am actually going to click, let's say, right about over here, and I will type in a phrase like maybe, Flowers are wonderful. Now, I want to make this type a little bit bigger, so I am going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A. That selects all of my type. And I can now use the keyboard shortcuts, Command+Shift+> or Ctrl+Shift+> to make my type larger.
And because we've been using Chaparral all along here, I'm simply going to change the Font to be Chaparral Pro as well. So now I'm going to switch to my Direct Selection tool, so I can now see the different parts about the Type on a Path object. Remember that I now have basically a start point, which is right here, and I have an end point. My text can only appear within the bounds of this start and end point. And then of course I have this centerline over here, which allows me to determine which side of the path the type goes along. Now, because I originally clicked on this part of the path right over here in order to create this Type on a Path object, that's where Illustrator defined the start point.
It didn't create the start point at this end of the path. It happens wherever I click the mouse. And then it simply goes ahead and it goes to the other side of the path until it ends and it creates the end point right there. Now, if I were to go to my Paragraph Settings here and I were to make some adjustments--like, for example, I would choose to center this-- it would center it between these two lines. If I choose Align right, it again sticks to this side of that line over here. Because the start and the end point really are just like the two sides of a rectangle when dealing with a type frame.
So if I knew that I really wanted my text to be aligned to the center of the path itself, I'd want to make sure that the start point-- I am going to drag it over here to the left--actually snaps to the anchor point here, so that now I can choose a center alignment and the text now centers itself to the overall path. Now, this is how it works when dealing with an open path. Let me actually take my Selection tool here and simply drag it up over here to the top. And I'm going to create another shape. I am just going to switch to my Ellipse tool. I am going to click and drag to create a circle.
I am actually going to hold down the Option and Shift keys--and if you are on Windows that would be Alt and Shift--to draw a perfect circle out from the center. And maybe I want text to appear across the top part of this circle over here. I am going to press D on my keyboard for Default. That just gives it a regular white fill and a black stroke. It's actually going to change to a Stroke and Fill of None in just a moment, but just so that you can get a better idea of what you're seeing here on the screen, I've just made it a little bit more visible. Next, I'm going to press the T key on my keyboard for the Type tool and, again, because this is now a closed object, the default behavior is that if I mouse over the path, Illustrator gives me the parentheses thinking that I want to turn this into an Area Type object.
So I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key to actually convert this now to the Type on a Path tool. And because I want my text to be centered right here on the top, I'm going to Option+ Click right here on this anchor point. But look what happens: my insertion point is down here on the bottom. Well, that doesn't make any sense. Let's say I type in the word "Flowers are wonderful" here. You can now see that the phrase, Flowers are wonderful are centered along the bottom part of the circle, but I wanted them to be centered along the top of the circle.
Why did this happen? Well, let's switch now to the Direct Selection tool and we'll understand why. When I first clicked over here, that defined my start point. Now, remember, Illustrator then goes ahead and travels all the way to the end of the path and puts the end point exactly where that end of the path is. But that's when dealing with an open path. However, this is a closed path. It's a circle. A circle never ends. The same place that you start on a circle is also where you end when drawing a circle. So basically by clicking once here on a closed path, I defined not only a start point, but also an end point to that exact same location.
So then where is the center point? The center point is all the way down over here. And that's why my text is now aligned in the center of this entire text frame area. So now that I know that, there are two ways for me to address this problem. The first way is that I can kind of think ahead. Next time that I want to put type on a path on the top half of the circle, I am going to start clicking on the bottom center of the circle, but that's counterintuitive. I mean really, I am kind of forcing myself to do the opposite. So I can also make a change to my text after I've already created it.
I can take my Direct Selection tool and click on this center point and I can click and drag to actually adjust where that center point goes. And because I have Smart Guides turned on, I can actually rotate the text so that now it's here at the top, and it will snap automatically to that anchor point when it reaches the top. So hopefully this explains some of the behavior that you've been seeing when working with Type on a Path inside of Illustrator. Just keep in mind, again, that Type on a Path inside of Illustrator is very similar to Area type, and it makes a big difference on whether you're working with open paths or closed ones.
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