Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Representing opposites through negative space, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Type Tips, and in this episode, I'm going to show you how we can represent opposites or antonyms through the use of negative space. Here's my starting point. Now what I need here are two words that oppose each other, and that either have the same number of letters, or are within one letter difference. And I am going to essentially put one word inside the other. And this is going to be easier if I just type it all as one word.
So coming to false, between the letters, I'm actually going to type in true. Now it might be easier just to see the second word temporarily in a different color. And now we can remove that. Now I need to really tighten up the spacing between them so that the letters touch.
So I'll press command, or control + T to bring up my Character panel, and we'll start out by going to minus 100 tracking. And then I'm going to double click between each letter pair and adjust the kerning, the space between each letter pair. I should point out that in my Preferences, I'll press command, or control + K, to reach my Preferences, and then come to Type, I've set the tracking value to the smallest amount possible.
1/1000th of an em. And I'm going to adjust it by pressing Option, or alt and the left arrow to go tighter, or option or alt and the right arrow to go looser. And, if I need to go in larger increments, which at times I will, then I'll also hold down the command or control key, so that's option + command + left arrow, or control + alt + left arrow.
Now I need to bring the T over so that it closes off this space here with the horizontal crossbar. Now I'll move to the next letter pair, and I need to bring the A over so that it touches the bottom of the T. And I'll repeat this until I have my letters touching. Now in the case of the L and the U, they're probably touching just a little bit too much, so I'm going to go a little bit looser in that case.
I'll tighten up the space between the U and the S, between the S, and the E, and then between the two Es. Incidentally I'm using Futura Bold for this because it is very little variation in the thickness of the stroke and because the letters are geometric. So now let's place that on the center of my artboard.
And I'm now ready to convert to outlines. As an insurance policy I might just want to copy a version of that to a separate layer, and then hide that layer just so that I could come back to it should I need to, because this is the point of no return here. Type, and Create Outlines. Next, what I need to do is put a containing rectangle around all of the letters, and that's going to be necessary to help segment different shapes so that we can define the second word, the word that's currently in cyan by its negative space.
I'll come to my Direct Selection Tool, and I'll select the L. And I'm selecting the L because it is a flat-topped, and flat-bottomed letter. And then I'm going to come to my Transform panel, and just note its height. So I need a rectangle that is at exactly that height. So I'm going to copy that, and then I'm just going to draw myself a rectangle, and I'll come to my Transform panel, and I'll paste in that value.
I'm going to make sure that this rectangle has no fill, and no stroke. I might also want to make a few adjustments to the letter shapes. With my Direct Selection Tool, I'm going to come over to the first E, and I'm going to pull out its crossbar so that it touches the second E. And then on, essentially I'm going to do the same with the second E, pull out that crossbar.
I'm going to zoom out. And I also want to make an adjustment to the crossbar of the T. I need to continue this over so that it connects with the A. Now I'll go ahead and select everything, and my next step is to convert this to a Live Paint Group. I'll come and choose my Live Paint Bucket. This shares the same tool space as the Shape Builder Tool.
Now when I click onto my selected objects it will make it into a Live Paint Group, as that message tells me. Before I do this, I'm going to switch to black as the swatch that I will be painting in. You'll see that I have three small swatches above my cursor there, with black the selected one. I'll go ahead and click, and I can now fill in the different segments. So I'm going to make the cyan letters black, which effectively will make them invisible once the selection outline is dropped.
I also need to just attend to any areas that may go beneath the baseline as is the case with the U. I now need to define these letters by their negative space. So I'll change my swatch to white, and I can paint in the negative space, and now when I deselect, I'm missing something there.
I need some more negative space to indicate the R. Zooming in down here I see that I have a little bit of blue left over, so let me just come and address that. I'll zoom out and we see that we now have the second word implied through the use of negative space. This is how we can use the Live Paint Bucket in combination with positive and negative space to create this antonym or opposites type treatment.