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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 12 of 21

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Create Simple Shapes

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

12. Illustrate Original Letterforms: Create Simple Shapes

Lesson Info

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Create Simple Shapes

Now we'll move on to creating these simple shapes and um you know, so the basic the basic structure of all this are some really simple shape so one of the most simple shapes of course is just a line I realize it's not a shape necessary you know what I'm saying? Okay, so this whatever angle this is I don't know what it is doesn't matter that's going to dictate some stuff so I'm gonna drag this I'm gonna reflect it on a vertical access so comes in here so I want these I'll leave those alone for now but wherever this line is you want this repetition to happen so while it may seem free form, the consistency is with repetition so the repetition is very important so if you've decided what your vertical line is or what an angled line is keep that thing hold down option dragged that thing around you want to keep that thing and reflected on a vertical access whatever you've got to do is keep that angle straight it may not seem you know, looking at it now you may want me to just say, well, it's ...

not exactly exactly the thing you sketch, so why don't you stick to what you sketch because I guarantee you at the end of it all it's gonna look a little wonky if we don't have some structure to it structure okay, so a line to selection now this little tool this aligned tool it's so important so this a line pathfinder usually it's setting up from my toolbar but it's going to be dropping down here but if you're not familiar with the aline um palate you've got to get familiar with the line pal it it changes everything so what I'm doing here is a line to selection so this means whatever I have selected it's just going to take these two things and say align these two things so they'll just find a common alignment between the two if you align to the whole our board than that means it'll center it right in the middle the art board for this case I'm going to select these two things and I need them to both have the same a line to top together so I pressing that now I know that these two things are perfectly aligned up here so I'm gonna bring these over and I'm just going to get on as good as I can visually matching and then we can weaken join those up later but right now we need these um we need these elements that kind of stay editable, which is a little different than what I taught you and manipulate the existing font but um these should be is that editable as long as you can have it so obviously I just rotated that for this w let's, bring it up a little bit now the size of that it's okay, that changed, um what? I don't want to change it's the angle. So now you're going to see I'm going to start letting the computer, the computer and the pencil and everything start changing what I made. I'm not married to what I made and that's that's why we'll drag this around here and that's why? I may be tricky, but I think that wine will help it if you enlarge it and hold down option, everything stays and check so let's take stick toe. So now at the at a certain point, I mean, this is very similar to the method that I used for that piece I should earlier spend your life creating something, um, when there's a long word like that, you're going to start seeing that, you know, you really need to start grabbing some, you know, I'm not going to make a new line for the y I'm going to use that line from a and make that work so now the typography of a why doesn't necessarily need to be dictated by that it could do that, but for the sake of this he's just wanna keep it, I want to keep it clean, plus. There's going to be enough of this? Why leftover as it goes this way that I don't necessarily need to care so much if this wise going to look like a because it won't look like a v once I put this in so first of all get your straight lines sort it out actually I'm gonna get rid of this and let's use this up here so now here's a good alignment thing I care more about this, eh? Aligning to this w then I do how close it is to this little thing I think anywhere along this this a can move and still get crossed the same way so I'm going to move this over and then I'm gonna group those I'm gonna group those and again I'm a lining to the selection and I just put those together so now I know the w the air in line together but I need teo you know, make sure the current ng from these two is cool. All right, so obviously this changes my plan for this so this will still happen it's just gonna happen over here. Not there. That's okay. That's what that's the whole point of what's going on here um the other thing I'm seeing is I need to decide if for the sake of the spacing of the letter if I just want to move these parts over now does this have anything to do with the s? Not really but the a and the y do work together so let's bring those together let's bring those over together um but I can bring it over too far because then I'm gonna start getting in the way of that s so they're right falling along so far totally got this. Ok. All right, so I've got these dying aligns set um let's just get these horizontal lines right. Okay, now I wish I had some amazing way to tell you how to do all these curves there's a course circular. Um you know, they're they're circular things, but I think for this case it's just going to be better to well, let me show you let me show you one way to do it, but I'm probably not gonna do it this way. So first sees a way to do that is let's put a circle there. We're gonna get a lot of line out of that circle, another circle here. These lines want to intersect there. You know what? I take it back, we're going to go this way. So another awesome thing is gonna happen here. One option, uh, arrow, you know, just duplicate this thing, and now my little w tail is gonna get dictated by that oh, um I'm going to see if this why tail can get dictated by this so you have to decide if this is interesting enough to do that way I think it is I think I want to do it that way okay so these are the um consistent shapes you know? So these air the simple shapes that we made it with you've learned this consistency with repetition so now let me kind of put these little finishing embellishments on here and again this is just going to have to be done by hand for the most part now some of these I can use a circle have some consistency and now this curve it's the same curve as the w all of these curves of the same thing now you're not gonna you know because you're going to you're going to notice it if you're doing this next to this next to this they're not gonna they're not gonna jive the way you want them tio so I like tio find an element based on what I've already made and start throwing them around like that and as long as it's still uh perfect circle and I think we're cool with uh and you know making them smaller you're gonna have enough repetition that all work together this eh we'll make these ays connect if I haven't already had that why come around I think I want this why now to come all the way around here so I'm gonna use this and that just happens to fit between the w ay is it more interesting if it fits into the other, eh? Maybe it is okay don't do that and the other thing that I'm gonna want to dio is just go ahead and do this now this whole thing is gonna curl up around like that so I realize that now after doing all this I was starting to get really confusing doesn't really say wash away any more but you're going to see how laying everything out you know? I can't think of exactly what it is sometimes I think about the people who make picture frames but I do picture you know, these little tools and these little tan grams or whatever you wanna call him um getting laid out on a piece of paper and things overlapping and cutting where they overlap that sort of what's happening here um and I I just personally think it's fun toe like think about this from like a craftsman perspective as opposed to just being a nerdy graphic designer like we are makes you feel a little bit more like a craftsman now that um okay, so this w wants to come up around there okay? So unless I'm missing any letter form I'm ready to destroy this let me see okay that's what I want across that age so if you're not all about art boards you need to get all about art boards.

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.


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.