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Go the Extra Mile with Text: How-to and Examples

Updated on August 16, 2015
Creative text design ideas.
Creative text design ideas. | Source

Go an extra mile with text

It's easy and quick to create graphics using text by formatting each letter individually. This can really make your graphics stand out

The alternative to the method I describe here is to create each letter individually, then format each one - this can be very time consuming.

None of the examples you will see below took more than five minutes to build. I used InDesign to create these examples. Illustrator has the same facility and the images are created in the same way using that program too.

The steps are simple:

  • Type your text ('jolo' in the example on the right).
  • Select the text box.
  • Click 'type' then 'create outline'.
  • Click 'object' > 'paths' > 'release compound paths'.

Now you can color, resize or add effect to each individual letter; each one (and its component parts) has become an image. You can transform each one individually - quickly and easily.

See examples below

Tools:

  • Drawing program

Source

Instructions:

1. One of the first things you'll notice is that letters such as o, p, d, b and so on can have their center sections colored individually.

In this example, I've simply colored the centers of the two letters using the eyedropper tool to select a color from the photograph.

This takes only seconds but can look very effective.

Source

2. Individual letters can quickly be resized.

Here you can see that the initial letter has been pulled out to be larger than the rest.

The two component parts of the exclamation point can be colored individually.

The red and the green were selected using the eyedropper tool - in seconds.

Source

3. Because every letter is now its own entity, it takes just seconds to make each letter a different colour.

The colours from the photograph have been used.

This way, everything harmonizes beautifully without effort.

Using too many colours in text can be overkill but it works here because each one has been carefully selected from the image.

Source

4. This is similar but the colors - again taken from the photograph - are more subtle.

Notice too that the font chosen is more sophisticated than the one in the example above.

This is a more classic, timeless font.

Even though the principle is exactly the same as the previous idea, the look is completely different.

Source

5. I did this example to show you another way in which individual letters can have special effects applied to them.

Notice that the initial letter has a shadow.

Using the colors from the photograph, some letters use two complementary tones.

When you're selling or promoting food, always try to show an image that will make the viewer's mouth water.

Source

6. This was probably the quickest and easiest example to create.

I love the square 'dots' in this font so it took only seconds to color them using the eyedropper tool to pick out the color of the table covering.

It adds a special touch to a very plain typeface.

The look can be subtle, as it is here,or as striking as you wish.

Source

7. Because each component part of a character can be dealt with separately, it was easy to add an outline to the upper portion of the exclamation point.

This makes it visible against the white of the image. You can adjust the outline to the size you prefer.

As you can see, it has also been enlarged and rotated slightly for emphasis.

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The only two programs I have which have this facility are InDesign and Illustrator. Of the two, InDesign is my program of choice.

Not only can it be used to create the small graphics you see here, it also is a professional tool used for creating complete books, magazines, brochures and other printed material. Creating PDFs is an absolute breeze too.

If you've seen InDesign advertised - and its high price - don't think it's beyond your means. I use the Cloud version for a small monthly fee. Another option is to purchase an older version (which has all the features of the current one) from Amazon.

See the links below.

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    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I use Painter X3 and Photoshop so when you said "The steps are simple: Type your text (jolo in the example on the right). Select the text box. Click type then create outline. Click object > paths > release compound paths." I figure you weren't using either of those, but I had no clue as to what you were using. This the confusion.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Judy Filarecki: Thank you,I will bear that in mind. I've never known a designer who doesn't use one of the programs mentioned though :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Judy Filarecki: The problem with that is that there MAY be other programs that have this facility. I wouldn't want people to think it was exclusively InDesign and Illustrator because I might be hopelessly wrong. As most designers use both (and I imagine every designer uses one), I don't believe that there's any reason to specify the program.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      @Judy Filarecki: I saw your response to holisticsriter, but I think the point is that it would have helped knowing the programs before the tutorial rather than afterwards.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I enjoyed your tutorial, but just like holisticwriter, I was very confused by the fact that you did not identify what program or programs were being used to do what you were instructing. You might want to re-organize your lens so people aren't so confused.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @TerriCarr: As I said above, the only two programs I have used that do this quickly are InDesign and Illustrator.There may be more though:)

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 4 years ago

      I am confused....Reading from the beginning of this lens, I can't tell which program you are working in. Is it in Squidoo or working with InDesign? Thanks! Nice stuff, by the way. You have clearly developed a lot of finishing skills for your lenses.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ThreeQuarters2Day: I wish you'd write about it :) It would have taken me over an hour to do the examples above in Photoshop so I'd love to know the knack.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @fullofshoes: It's a great, quick method :)

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 4 years ago from Nebraska

      Nice ideas. I use Photoshop and can do the same thing with text and fonts. I like increasing font size in individual words and using different colors for emphasis.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 4 years ago

      Love this!!!! Can't wait to try it.

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