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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 10 of 21

Illustrate Original Letterforms

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

10. Illustrate Original Letterforms

Lesson Info

Illustrate Original Letterforms

So we've been over um manipulating an existing fun um you know, a lot of these different uh types and these methods rely on the timeline that you have so if you have a little bit more of a timeline then maybe we want tojust illustrate these letter forms from scratch and then we can sketch him out and then we can take him in to illustrate actually make those so what I want to start with and I want you guys to do the same thing is go ahead and take these sketchbooks out and get a pencil or if you don't like a pencil you can use whatever but I want to start sketching a word out and we're gonna use the pencil teo pencil sketch favorite kind of see the different ways that this different routes that this word khun take sketching so like we did before let's figure out a word here let's figure out a word that's got some personality to it um may I don't want to say a phrase whom maybe a short phrase or a big word but I want to do something that has a little bit of a you know a vibe personality ...

um so what do you got let's hear word or phrase or something like that that we can illustrate wash away wash away this guy's coming up hot with amaro here wash away its fine that'll be great okay, so what we're going to dio is we're going to write out and I want you guys do the same thing I'm doing and you don't have to do with the way I'm doing it I just want you to do what whatever happens when you think about wash away so um I'm going to start sketching out the's letter forms and see what each thing does and the reason I want to start here is because after what we've done on um on illustrator manipulating existing fun uh we're totally free now we can make anything we want my only real criteria is that I want to re create whatever we're going to make with the pencils so I don't want teo do something thatis so ambitious that isn't going to be time effect because like I said, I don't think there's any value in over complicating something unless there is a specific need to overcomplicate it just because something is simple just because something is director easy to dio doesn't make it bad sometimes I think when you overcomplicate your work it's more for you than it is for the client and it's more like you indulging yourself so um a clean piece of sketch paper um I have mine horizontal because I think that's probably going to make the most sense when we've taken into the computer uh wash away let's just start messing around here so there's right away I'm thinking that the aids and the w sort of like um they near each other, you know? So we got those diagonal lines coming in, so so what I'm doing now? Okay, so I gotta w intern, eh? I know that's a little bit hard to see. Um, would you guys rather me use a sharpie just so you could see it? Are you cool with this pencil? You call you say it's? Okay, so all right, so I did do this a little curvy thing here. Maybe the curvy thing makes more sense going through, but now I have the s so if I'm doing it s it's really gonna have to it's really gonna have to work with the other things um or it can complement it, you can either make everything work well or have a cool little juxtaposition of pointy straight kirby s so right now that aye so here's a good example of what we're doing. I mean, all of these really are just really basic shapes. So when you're sketching this stuff, you're just doing some basic stuff and it doesn't hurt to think about how you're gonna redo it an illustrator. So I think it's valuable say, um, well, I'll have to do is that that that an illustrator and this would make it make this job work a little quicker again, speed is important um I understand that may take all the fun out of it, but once you get going doing it, you realize that you really get to do everything you want to dio um despite the timeline so what I've realised here since I'm sketching is that the ass is going to come up around across the a for me so this is a perfect example of what other elements can do other things and how all these letters can have relationships so now that we have this s um maybe this h comes out behind it um because I don't know if there's gonna be a great way to make this age curve with this but maybe this s okay see how this ass is going around? Maybe I kind of take this line and start making a cross the h so what I'm kind of doing here is using this curved area to make it have a movement throughout the whole thing. So if this is going, if this is coming up around here like this and crossing over that well, then maybe I should probably let this w come all the way around, okay? So that was gonna come up a curve around and this is going to come, I'll stick with the curves um maybe that little thing comes around we'll have to figure out we have to resolve how the dub you process maybe across is like this but the whole goal here and what you're sketching um is just to see well, I didn't realize the s and the h we're gonna have that relationship until I sketched out on paper but now is the time for you to sit there and doodle and take every line and see how far it can go and and all that stuff because you're not going to be you're not going to be restrained by any fun this is all just gonna be an original illustration so I'm gonna do that um now we have away I'm gonna stack these just because, um and this little peak of the w seems like it's gonna make sense for a to fit in there well and then looks like this is what it wants to come down and, um cross that a for me I'm talking about wait and then we have another w and this is cool too, because you're gonna have a chance to have two w's in your thing and you know, for what it's worth the client's gonna realize the w's aren't the same because it's not a fun, it was like, oh, that's great what fun is that it's not a fun lady I made it myself okay, um let's just create little relationship there with the s again um and now I'm getting off center and I need to figure out if that's gonna work to get off center or do I want to stay the course and keep all this perfectly align I think for the sake of this I'm gonna be okay with it being off center because I think it could work me and perfectly stacked on top of each other too so and you don't have to worry about this being you know, in stone it's not instead you're going to redo all of this stuff the pencil anyway so um whatever you end up sketching out here once you get into illustrator you can change it um gonna curl that little why around and while this does look like a capital why I think it's a good opportunity for me to take that tail and bring it all the way around so and this is really bob ross it feels really good to sit here talking about these happy little lines and everything that is great. This is a dream come true for me right now. Okay, so I'm gonna take this why and bring it around because that's fun okay, so I think that in orderto make the y little stronger I want curl around that top and I definitely keep thinking about a way to introduce water into this and maybe we can do that um inside illustrator but there's definitely an opportunity to find a place for water bubbles or something like that I could faded away but that would be like more of a photo shop thing to make it kind of fade itself out you know? So you know, if I was doing it in a different way I would stack washing away on top of each other and photo shop I would tear out the bottom of it um and which I actually will show you more and a distressed um applying an advantage in distress effects I have a whole other course about that sort of thing. Okay? So this's kind of where I stand maybe this one no, like I said what's cool about this is you're gonna make this stuff and realize it doesn't work and be able to race it and throw it away it's important to like like we were talking about before anita said that um you know it's you get into something and you want to be able to throw it away so no that if it's not good throw it away. So this style you know, going back to what we discussed earlier this style is going to help you find your motivated like I want to do this that I want to do this thing I want to carry out the thing that I sketched out my sketchbook anybody uh, cool with me checking out what they're working on or no, stay away from me! I don't think you have a choice. Tyler's got this consistent movement that's happening through the whole thing. So, he's, what he's doing? As opposed to what I am doing where I did one he just kept doing it so he's on his third version of how this thing works, he did the first one and it's not gonna work like that. What tyler's done is he started realizing, uh that's not what? I don't want to do it that way. So he goes to a second one and takes the whole thing and realise there's one constant wave of movement that's going through the whole thing. And then on the third one, he found some other spots. He saw that this okay, so he's taken the h the crossbar of the h and making it come down and be part of the why he's making the w come up across the a he's making this w come down across the so he's realizing all of it what he's probably gonna end up doing is just keep repeating this over and over until the last thing he has is exactly what it wants. That's good, thanks. So I'm seeing I don't know I think she realizes this but I'm seeing one big drip here so her goal here is making the whole thing say one big drip which is perfect um so every letter is dictated by does it fit into this big drop shape which is perfect so jenna has jenna's correctly your sweater's jenna is taking each tale of the w's and taking them around so her bigger thing is that having this horizontal thing that goes through all of them so the horizontal flourish is sort of the element that's repeating itself over and over again and again she's using the same type of thing we're tyler's gym where let's try it may not work let's try it again it may not work this is this is great so like this w comes around and swirls around this asked across it so this is a very, very very playful method of doing it and I think I have a whole lot of whole our personality in this percy is doing the same thing that I was doing where we're just repeating over and over again he's seen how all these little things interact um this is one of the first ones that dennett stacks that we're going sideways here so that s kits to come around across the a yeah this is great so he's just like that works but it made me think of this this made me think of that that made me think of that and I'm gonna keep going going, going, going and then probably the one that's down in this bottom corner is gonna be the end of the one that he would end up wanting to go so you guys are all doing exactly what I think and this is just what I think it's not the right way the wrong way like that this is just what I think is the best way to go about this where let's just see let's explore this word and explore the different ways that khun d'oh and uh do it with a pencil as opposed to a pin tool so we can get it all out so I've been so wrapped up in my one now I'm seeing your guys I'm like me they're doing the little thumbnails but when I do this, um it's very often that I will do something big because I do want to bring it into illustrator afterwards and, you know, I just want to get these lines nice and strong and sort of see what it is, but I do you know, I have sketchbooks at the exact same way that you've done where it just has a whole bunch generate generations of the same thing, so thinking aboutthe wash away, I wonder if I can start putting little drip ends to some of these tales so, like, if they are made out of water than obviously, the ends of them will be will be kind of the bubble or the you know what I'm saying. So I'm going to go to each little thing and put a little thicker into it. And this is definitely something that I'd probably say, just save this for illustrator, but a tte least lets me know where I think I'm gonna go with all of this. So I'm going to take this into the computer and what's going to be cool and what I find, what I think is neat is that this whole thing takes on a whole different identity once it gets in the computer, you know, so, like, whatever I decided to do here, um, I may figure out a way, tio, change the look of it entirely. Once I get in there with the so, um, next will move on tio tracing this inside illustrator.

Class Description

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to know how to hand letter and draw to create rad custom typography. In fact, Brandon Rike – whose star-studded client list includes everyone from Pharrell to Madonna – creates his unique lettering almost exclusively in Illustrator. He’ll show you how its done in Simple Methods for Custom Lettering. 

Working with type is a huge part of graphic design and custom letterforms can be applied to just about every project you’ll work on. In this class, you’ll take an in-depth look at type and learn Brandon’s methods for customizing it to fit the project. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Matching the typeface to the mood of your project
  • Working with color, shape, and form
  • Customizing letterforms based on existing fonts
  • Improving your workflow

You’ll learn three methods for creating custom typography and how to differentiate between high and low-quality letterforms. Brandon will also teach his super efficient workflow, so your projects aren’t bogged down during the lettering process.

Both beginners and professionals will learn new ways of working in Adobe Illustrator to produce rockstar-quality custom type.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brandon Rike - Simple Methods For Custom Lettering Working

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

This was a great class to watch. Extremely informative and fun. It's great to see someone so passionate about they work.


A great class that inspires a lot of confidence and shows off some very simple yet effective techniques to create great lettering.

Cory Kensinger

Totally worth my time! I wasn't expecting Brandon to give such an impactful launch into this course. Brandon really gives you an insight into his life and his real experience as a designer, helping you not with just designing cool things but helping you set your mindset and expectations, pursuing this as a lifestyle and craft. I found lots of little workflow tricks that I will be using immediately. The only downside I found in this course was the speed Brandon teaches some concepts. I had to use the 15s rewind button a lot while taking this course. I know it's because Brandon is used to working fast, but I would have really appreciated a more paced explanation of something. For example, he used Option key a lot during the course of the class while using a Pathfinder function. That was one little thing that never got explained. After looking it up, I found it was for creating a compound shape while cutting the shape. Aside from that, one of the best design courses I've seen yet.