New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at lynda.com. See what you can learn

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Deke's Techniques: Crafting an infinity symbol to match a specific font

In this free Deke’s Techniques video, Deke McClelland gives you the infinity symbol. The best part about this technique: you don’t have to settle for a one-font-fits-all symbol that doesn’t match your typeface of choice. Rather, Deke uses the Width tool and Variable Width preset feature in Adobe Illustrator to create an infinity character that honors the slopes and rhythms of a typeface that has no symbol of its own—in this case, Adobe Caslon Pro:

Use your typeface's numbers as your base for a custom infinity symbol.

Deke begins with a trick many school-age kids already know, using the Type Orientation command to turn an 8 on its side:

Use the Type Orientation command to turn the number 8 sideways.

Although, that’s not quite what we’re after. Let’s face it, this looks like an 8 on its side. But Deke uses that character to create a base outline for his new infinity symbol. After turning the sideways 8 to outlines, he uses it as a guideline to draw the primitive shape. (Be sure to watch the video to see how he cleverly uses the Path > Average command to find the right position for the anchor points.)

Use the sideways 8 as a guide to draw a rough infinity shape.

Next, Deke copies the primitive path and applies a thick 24-point stroke:

Deke uses the Width tool at each of the anchor points to thin out and thicken up the shape in a pattern similar to the other numbers in Caslon Pro—making the horizontal segments mostly thinner and the vertical ones thicker.

Customize the shape by adjusting the anchor points of your path.

After roughing in the general width variations, you can double-click a point with the Width tool to edit the points to an exact measurement. In this case, Deke sets the thin areas to 10 points and the thick areas to 24 points exactly.

Further customizing the width of the points.

The results are OK, but a little lumpy. This is due in part to the Variable Width feature’s reaction to a closed path (it works more elegantly on an open path). So Deke saves this pattern as a Variable Width preset, and then he can tweak it on a line segment, which is much friendlier to work with:

Saving the pattern as a preset.

Applying the new custom preset to a line, he can make sure the widths are precisely in place and aligned with the exact divisions along the line:

Making sure the preset is applied correctly.

Then this new Variable Width preset can be saved and applied to the original primitive symbol. The result is this graceful Caslon-esque infinity:

The final customized infinity symbol.

And since Deke’s Photoshop and Illustrator knowledge is seemingly infinite, he’ll be back with more Deke’s Techniques next week!

Suggested courses to watch next: • The entire Deke’s Techniques Collection • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

See what you can learn


Share this article:

Tags:

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
  
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

All articles

Featured articles

A lynda.com membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Become a member

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.