Join Justin Putney for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating character and paragraph styles, part of UX Design Tools: Illustrator.
In this video, we're going to take a look at the basis of using text in Illustrator as it applies to making wireframes. Specifically, we're going to take a look at character and paragraph styles, and how you can make your text elements reusable so that you can rapidly generate wireframes. So let's go up to File and choose New. And I'm going to stick with that default web profile, so that we have pixels and RGB color. First, I want to point out something about two different types of text. So I'm going to select the Type tool, in the tool bar.
And I'm just going to point and click. And before I start typing anything, I actually just want to increase the type size so that it's a little bit easier to read and I'm going to type out point text because this is actually a point text field. Now, I'm going to deselect this field while still keeping the Type tool selected and the way I'm going to do that is with the keyboard shortcut. Deselect is fairly easy to remember because you can think of it as the opposite of select all. Select all is pretty easy to remember because it's just Cmd+A or Ctrl+A on Windows.
So, to deselect all, you just add Shift to that. So I'm going to do Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac. And, of course, it'd be Ctrl+Shift+A on the PC. And this time, with my Type tool selected, I'm going to point and drag out an area. And I'm just going to type, area text, in there. And maybe I'll add a little bit more text in. Just hit Return a couple times. And type out, this is a paragraph. Now, if I were to go over and grab the Selection tool. And then scale this area text.
The text inside will reflow to fit the shape of the container. Now, if I were to do the same thing with the point text, the text itself will actually deform to fit inside the shape of the container. Now, there are certain instances where it's really useful to have text that you can easily deform, maybe you're, you're creating a logo and you want to manipulate the typeface a little bit. But for the purposes of a wireframe, maybe other than something like a headline, which you might want to scale up or down for different size layouts, for the most part, we're going to want area text, because we actually want it to reflow instead of scale and distort like that.
So, I'm just going to hit the Delete key to get rid of the point text. So, once we have text, just the same as all of our symbol elements, we want it to be as reusable as possible. So, we're going to use character and paragraph styles to do so. And to get those panels, we're going to go up to Window and go all the way down to Type. And inside the Type menu are all of the panels relating to type. Now, if you have the default Illustrator setup like I do, and the character and paragraph styles are actually docked together, selecting one of these will open up both.
If you don't, you can come back and find the other in the type menu, and I'm just going to select Paragraph Styles. So, I'll briefly mention character styles will work very similar to paragraph styles except that you have to select a little block of text, and it will apply there. So for instance, if I wanted to make just the word area here bold A character style would be the best way to do that. But, since we're not going to be doing type on that small a level for the most part in a wireframe, because most of our text is actually going to be placeholder, we really don't need character styles very much.
If we want our menu text to be bold, we can just do that with a paragraph style. So, for the most part, we're just going to focus on paragraph styles. So, let's take a look at how we create a new paragraph style. So, this style right now is different from the normal paragraph style that is default in Illustrator. And that's evident by the plus sign next to the style here. So, to create a new style, I could of course just click the Create New Style button. And what that would do is give me a paragraph style based on the content that I have selected and it would give me a default name.
But I want to get a little more done than that when I create my paragraph style, so I'm going to hold the Opt key, or Alt on the PC. And that will actually bring up the paragraph style options before the style is finally created. So I can give it a name, and maybe I just have kind of a generic wireframe style, so I'll, I'll give it that name. So, something to think about when you're creating text styles for your wireframe documents, is the client going to think that this is what the final type face looks like? And if you look at an application like Balsamic mockups, they purposely use, I believe it's comic sans.
Was something that no designer would really choose in any real design, and the purpose of that is not to make it look bad, it's to make it really obvious that this is a sketch, to make it look kind of hand drawn And that this is not what's going to be used. So, there's no confusion and the client doesn't spend any time reviewing that typeface and making comments about it. So, that's something to think about when you choose the typeface here. And for now, we'll just stick with something simple. Maybe we'll just pull up Arial. And what I want to do is just change the font style, just so we can see it in action, we can see the change happen.
So I'm going to change it to italic and just click OK. And you can see that created the new wireframe style, and one thing that's interesting about creating paragraph and character styles, the nice thing is because I had something selected, it picked up all the characteristics of that selection. But it didn't actually apply that new style back to the selection. So to do so, I actually have to click on the paragraph style, and there's still a plus sign there, so if I Alt+Click, it will apply the style and override everything, the plus sign was telling me there was still some overrides in place, the text wasn't exactly in line with the style.
So, the nice thing about doing this is also with the paragraph style, I can click anywhere, because it's going to apply to the whole paragraph, and click a style. So I'll click back to the normal paragraph style, and it resets that back to what normal was. Originally it's that 12 point Myriad Pro. So, now that we've created some paragraph styles, let's take a look in the next video at how to share those styles across multiple documents.
- Creating and positioning guides
- Building shapes
- Designing reusable symbols
- Creating character and paragraph styles
- Adding text
- Using artboards to organize and display content
- Exporting to multipage PDF