Old-fashioned text using Adobe Illustrator

Robert LaneGraphic Design, Tutorial

old-fashioned text using Adobe Illustrator

I recently created a tri-fold brochure for a coffee shop that features an old-fashioned text using Adobe Illustrator. You can view this brochure and even purchase the Coffee Trifold Brochure from GraphicRiver.net. For the photos, I created the half-tone image effect in Photoshop. The logo type looks nice and stylized, but it is relatively easy to create using Adobe Illustrator.

1. Download all of the necessary assets.

You will need to download a free font from Dafont.com called Bebas Neue Font. Do that and install it on your computer before you launch Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes fonts will not show up unless the program is closed until after they are installed. You will need to create a new Illustrator document on your own or you can download mine. My document is 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall. The download also includes screenshots to help you understand each step below. They are named according to the step to which they correspond.

2. Create the line of type you want.

Inisde the new document you just created type anything that you want using the Bebas Neue Font that you recently installed. I recommend single words or tiny phrases. If a line gets too long it might not look quite right, but it can be done. It is totally your decision. If you downloaded my file you can see that I have created a few lines of type already. You can use these if you so desire. For the sake of this tutorial I will type the word ‘coffee’ at 75 point size with a black fill. I use this large size to make it easier on myself in the future. Work out your letter spacing at this stage it is much easier to alter at this point than it will be later.

3. Convert the word you typed to outlines and duplicate it twice.

To create outlines make sure your word is selected and go to the ‘Type’ menu at the top and select “Create Outlines” from the drop-down. Illustrator will create a group in your layers panel with shapes that look the same as the word you just typed. The text will not be editable any more at this point but that is just fine for our purposes. Ungroup this group by going under the “Object” menu and selecting “Ungroup.” Now merge all of these shapes together using the “Pathfinder” panel. Bring up this panel using the “Window” menu and selecting “Pathfinder.” While holding down the “Option” key click the “Unite” icon in the “Pathfinder” panel, and then click the “Expand” button as well. You now have a “Compound Shape” that looks exactly like the word you typed in the beginning. Duplicate this shape two times by selecting “Copy” & “Paste in Front” from the “Edit” menu. You will need to do this twice.

4. Nudge those copies down and to the right.

Go to your “layers” panel and you will see three copies of the compound shape that you created a few moments earlier. Select the bottom most shape by clicking the circle next to it’s name in the “Layers” panel. With this shape selected hit the down and right arrow keys on your keyboard twice each. Now select the next compound shape from the bottom and nudge it down and to the right by hitting the down and right arrow keys just once. With this shape still selected change it’s fill color to white. If everything has gone according to plan you can see how our effect is starting to come to life.

5. Use the “Pathfinder” panel to finish off the effect.

Select only the two layers you just nudged down and to the right. Leave the original layer unselected for now. Hold down the “Option” key and click the “Minus Front” icon in the “Pathfinder” panel, and then click the “Expand” button. Now select the new shape you just created and the original compound shape at the same time. Hold down the “Option” key and click the “Unite” icon in the “Pathfinder” panel, and then click the “Expand” button.

6. Finish off your word with a little style.

You just created a compound shape and it should look like a faux shadow type effect. It also gives the type a three dimensional appearance as well. We are not through yet. You could use this word as-is, but I think we should take it to the next level. With this shape selected go under the “Effects” menu and select “Warp > Rise.” In the dialog box check the “Preview” check box, and make sure the “Horizontal” radio button is selected as well. I left the “Distortion” set to 0 on all counts and set my “Blend” value at 10, but you could change the settings to suit your personal needs. Click OK. If your type has the look that you want go under the “Object” menu and select “Expand Appearance” and there you have it. I copied and pasted this shape into InDesign and went about finessing my type even further by adding some styles.

Quick Question:
You can create this old-fashioned text using Adobe Illustrator and perhaps even retro type projects. Was this clear enough for you? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.