Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Painting the background with an Illustrator symbol, part of Designing a Typographic Grunge Poster.
In this movie, I'm going to make a symbol and paint with that symbol behind the word communication. I will set the word communication to white, and then we will see it emerge from the background texture as I paint with the symbol. Let's start out with a consolidated view so that we can concentrate just on our work in progress. I'll come to the layers panel and, I will create a new layer for the symbol. And that is going to go underneath, the communication layer.
I'll then target the contents of the communication layer, which incidentally I've converted to outlines, so that you can follow along, even if you don't have the template gothic type face. And I'm going to make that white. Then, I need to make sure I am on the symbol layer, and I will lock the communication layer. So the first thing I need to do is make the symbol. And the symbol is going to be made from the word communication and for. An ironic twist, I got to put that into arial and I will make it bold.
I'm using Arial because Helvetca was public enemy number one for grunge typographers in the 90s. Arial has surpassed Helvetica in terms of its ubiquity, and it is essential the same. There are a few subtle differences, but Arial is designed to be more or less the same. It has the same line count as Helvetica. Now, in order to make this into a symbol, I need to convert it to Outlines because you can't use text as a symbol.
I'm going to make that a little bit smaller, and then Cmd+Shift+O to convert it to Outlines. I will then come to my Symbols panel And I'm going to drag that onto the Symbols panel. I can name it, but that's unnecessary. I can see what it is right there. I'm now going to delete this instance of the symbol on my art board. Now I'll come to my symbol tools. I'll tear off that whole panel, and we'll start out with the symbol sprayer. You can change the brush size of this left bracket smaller, right bracket bigger.
And I'll now start painting with that symbol. And it's going behind those white letters on the layer above. Now I'll move through my different Symbol tools, to customize my symbol group. Especially the Symbol Sizer. Which doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot so I'm just going to check the options on that, and I'm going to increase the intensity. So when I have something that I'm happy with, I'm now going to come to the layers panel. I am going to duplicate that layer. And then I'm going to spin it around through 180 degrees so that I get twice as many.
So we now have that solid wall, or almost solid wall, or solid enough to see the word communication reversing out from it. Wall of type painted by all those multiple instances of the word symbol. Now what if we decided that we wanted to just change that symbol. What I'm going to do is I'm going to drag one instance from symbol panel and then I'm going to edit that symbol. And the edit that I want to make is I would like the counters, the areas inside the letters, the o and the a, I'd like those to be solid.
So with this selected, I am going to come to the object menu, and choose compound path, release, and that's going to fill those in like so. I can actually go and delete them. Okay, and now we'll leave isolation mode. And we can see, that's affected every instance of that symbol. So it makes our wall of type that bit more solid. Okay, this has now served its purpose, so we can get rid of that. Any change that we make to the symbol will effect all of the symbol instances, that's the point I was trying to make there.
And we are going to be changing the relationship of the word communication to that background. But for now, I'm going to leave it like this. And we'll move on to the next step of adding in our supporting type.
Looking for more Type Projects? Find them on Nigel's author page.