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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 13 of 21

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Discover the Pathfinder Palette

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

13. Illustrate Original Letterforms: Discover the Pathfinder Palette

Lesson Info

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Discover the Pathfinder Palette

So now we're going to move on to the pathfinder palate and what happens when all these things intersect. So where we were intersecting shapes before we're going to be intersecting these lines, so I'm going to cut all those lines apart, and they're all going to work together in a different way. We'll just leave this here, though, so that we can reference that if we need teo. And if what we end up doing it totally horrible than, um, we can get back to it. So you used the art ports for the best addition to illustrator in the past six, seven past decades, the best thing that's happened? Illustrator okay, so now you see what we've got, that's, what we're dealing with, um, you know, it has a different identity. What the different thing is that the line for the sake of this, I want to be about right here and what I'm gonna do. We're gonna learn about the pathfinder palate. We're gonna learn about the scissors says they're tool, uh, maybe the knife, but I used mostly the scissor tool, and then...

, of course, the pencil. So this little thing and the tool tips aren't showing. Um, let me see if there's a quick way that I can make these tool tip show show tool tips that'll do it uh okay so outline is what this is called if you want to memorize what all these things do go forward but I haven't done it yet um so I'm just gonna intersect all these things so that's destruction so anger up tomorrow so now each one of these little things are their own line their own stroke this is sort of getting into the s ends of how I make these things um so we'll stick with that and right away we start cutting out what we don't need and now I've done that but they should intersect so this one didn't come down enough to intersect it so you're gonna find those out you gonna take it down tried again intersect these two things on groupon um hold on an eyedropper tool press I just to get your stroke back so it's same thing as a paint color it's just um it finds the stroke and wait I will delete that so this little thing if this is driving you nuts uh it all gets closed up but that's what we're left with at the moment so I'm gonna close that up now this one I have to decide I'm going take this scissor tool after the side where to cut into it I'm gonna cut right there because I think that's the way I want that w to be okay and c this whole ring the only thing this is exist the only reason this exists is have a reference point for this why so I don't even need this up here and I don't need this here and I don't need this here I don't need that and I think I'm just going to keep that like that maybe I'll cut this off somewhere but I think it's cool they're so this needs to join over to this we got a little problem so what I'm gonna do I'm gonna cut this here and again here so this is a good example so it was an oversight before to make that w cross that double shoot of cross that circle but it was an oversight so it's not worth going back and redoing the whole thing because I would have to you know cut all those up so what I'm going to do on the fly is sort of figure a way for those things to still combine because I think they can still they can still combine but it's just going to be a different a different method than I do most of time does anyone else build stuff similar to this jenna you d'oh you do okay. All right so now let's get in here and let's resolve this problem so what I'm going to dio is I'm going to cut gonna cut it here so that I might take this little thing to lead it and just using that directs election tool I'm on ly moving this anchor point gonna move it over until it gets where I wanted to go and I got to take that handle and get it right so what is going to keep this in line and keep this making sense if I could get this handle aligned with that w so let's just say for the sake of construction we should cross them all right? So now let's outline those I don't know why they call it outline enough that's the most um I think that they have so many things divide trim urge crop outlined minus back exclude intersect minus front unite that kind of all the same word so they have to have something to go find them. I just got a question coming from online that, uh someone's wondering how do you decide spacing between letters? Is it just some feeling things or is there any particular rule to that it's totally feeling the rules? The rules are your visual rules. So you may think that you know there's no weight at the bottom of a tea and if you have a team and a b side each other than it's okay for the a tio creep into the tea because there's room there but that's not like that's not a rule that's a visual thing that's something juicy and be like the t looks funky so let fix it you know and that's what tight current you know, I think the hardest thing to current is when it's wide so you know, when none of the letters air touching even close there still some taste and some you know, just your own discretion to do that. So, um is there a defined correct way? No. Um turning is completely what looks good to the I s o that's a tough thing to figure out. I've realized I look back on my work when I first started in the turning is terrible and somehow and then lately I've done projects like a friend of mine you know, one of those weird projects you do for a friend and it's not gonna go in your portfolio or whatever, just trying to help somebody out. So I did that he's like man you're spacing when everything is awesome. So what I realize is overtime I get good at spacing just because it's something you see and you know how to dio you know, the first time you mow the lawn it probably looks horrible, but after you do it a hundred times, then it starts looking good it just it sort of just getting the hang of it and realizing how letters look well together, but yeah, I would say an illustrator, I know this is a different for him but for typing out a word used the optical kern ng on and that'll give you a good place to start it's much better than auto kerney so then these still aren't crossing over so I just need to take this anchor point over a little bit more and then these should split eyedropper tool get that weight so this is what I want this is how I know that I did it the right way so I'll show you what I'll be doing with everything but I'm gonna take that anchor point enjoy them now they're all together so another shout out to a stewed graphics they have this tool called path strike and I am not the type of person to get plug ins plug ins just mess up I trust apple I trust adobe whatever they tell me to do I'll do but a stewed graphics dot com have created these great plug ins and one of the plug ins is called path scribe so what this is going to dio is allow me to select this anchor point and path scribe is going tio it's possible it won't look good the way I want to do it right now but it's basically going teo delete this anchor point in a super smart way this change my work flow completely so I think it's good I like how it did it because it curved the bottom of the w and it just knows it's smart enough to say let's get rid of it but let's not just get rid of it and leave what's there let's get rid of it and make it right path scribe from a stewed graphics a s t u t e e graphics there from england I believe thank you astute graphics for making really awesome stuff um I got a connect this s so we've already learned that we need them to intersect it's really got to decide how I want that ass to work esses are not easy you guys know that but if you can't draw on s that just means you're perfectly normal human being all right so let's destroy this thing come back to pathfinder outline now there's a lot of little scraps in here this is normal every project I d'oh there's always a little hairs and nasty things here and there getting away um so I just gotta delete those so that one's gone I think this curved ones gone and it may be a problem. Um let's cut this with scissor tool here let's see what happened just now this one is definitely gone and this one's gone the curved one is gone so this s let's stop it right here so you see there's a little triangle shape um I think it's just makes sense to stop tau kind of makes something in in a good central location so now you're starting to see all this happened I mean, the study is coming all the way around here and going to this, eh? You know it has it gets a lot of work done here. Um now this is a good example let's join these up first of all let's join this whole ate together join and then I can just take these away just because they're obviously not needed because it's on a straight line let's take this one this one showing those up take the zone anchor points away now when you're getting right here wonder how this is working out so he had to get real close to see that I think these intersect oddly they may cross but let's join them to see what happens. Okay it's good. They joined up fine and I can choose if I want to have like, a double joint on that if I want to stay pointy or if I wanted to round out I think by the end of this I'm probably gonna round everything but for right now we'll just do this. So now that I have this hole thing together this whole eh? I've really wantto bring that cross bar you know? I want to make that a look make a little more sense so I'm gonna move that up and enlarge it down cut I'm gonna cut it off um here and here so now I'm getting into the little fine points of getting all these words toe look correct okay, so this w I gotta decide where this w is gonna end um all right that the y were the y ends I couldn't maybe this and the y need to join up you know, I think if I joined those up though why would not read as a why so I'm not gonna do that actually this little angle I'm gonna keep it over here in case I want to ok, so here's something I missed earlier um I'm going to put I'm gonna use a little cross part like this this will all be gone when I delete all this stuff the on ly need for this is the tale of the first day so leave that there and then this so that's gonna come up around that so I could get rid of this nothing but that whole thing went around like that's um maybe I'll just use this to reference you know what our maybe it intersects with the w so there's an idea that he didn't have originally I didn't sketch out but seems to be a better way to do it so I'm gonna dio take that w in that and her sat down he was a scissor tool cut out about right there in that join us okay, so that that w now has a little other job to do so so you see these points that happened those are important because they're part of the they're part of the design and if you don't plan for him then you're gonna end up with these little points that like got in the way of your whole deal okay there's a good point that's what happens when it messes up so what happened there is they intersected too much so there's a little scrap down there that I have to get rid of so the best way to do that I just select everything and then select the two things I know aren't there because there's no other way to find those tiny little anchor points I see that there's a little anger points will just drive you nuts if you don't yeah okay so then we joined these up so there's a lot of join there's a lot of right click join there's a lot of pathfinder outline um there's a lot of the scissor tool there's a lot of the penan tool and there's a lot of the direct selection tool um that is the way to make these kind of straight clean versions of the fonts are the sketches that you make okay so I'm going to eat I'm gonna take out the curve will take out this little thing again I don't know it's gonna be hard to find that so it's not this it's not this it's that okay? So those things air now combined let's join those because that's easy we know those want to go together well, you know these want to go together and we know these w want to go together see if that point happens that means I did it right? So every time I joined those and if the point doesn't work um that's when I got to get in there and figure out the right way to do it okay someone joined all that you see, all those little random maker points let's get rid of those with the pin tool minus or what do they call that delete anchor point toll that's a pencil with the minus recited cases something happened there were the anchor point um informed this deal here so let's get closer into this so this feels a little less like designing and more like construction um and this is one of those things that, like it takes a long time but I think that the final product is worth it I think that there's this structure um and solid boldness to the final product that you know if there's time to do it then I'll totally do it. Okay, so those okay so let's get rid of this one that seems to be a problem poor let's take this up so that it intersex taking a way out to just make one little thing right so that that really is the most difficult part of the construction all this stuff is when you get in there and um there's just these little scraps that you need toe fix okay, so now we can join those up our point don't know if I even like the points um like I said at the end we can around those out I'm ready to commit to these oh yeah let me take this segment this segment in this segment joinem let's delete those little anchor points inside take this join so you guys saw what happened there is just that little close up deal join and if you guys see what I see that's not very beautiful so we can go back to that path scribe smart remove point and it will clean that up for us but before that let's join those up and I wouldn't you know I want to teach you adobe illustrator, but if there's something out there that makes it easier for you like theist a graphics path scribe thing um I can't hold that back. My goal here is to make you guys work efficiently and be able to get this stuff done and there are illustrator is my favorite tool but there's in addition to that thing that makes everything so much easier and um I don't know how it doesn't cost that much, but when you get it you'll totally it's one of those things that we talked about with fonts where this is totally totally changing the way that I work so it's one of those and I like I said I would not get a plug in if it didn't completely change the way I work so it did that and I don't really like the whole deal so I might make it all combined here. So here's another thing passed past scribe khun d'oh if I select both of those know that okay, so we're going to do that but then we're just kind of kind of mess with a little bit we're gonna drag this handle down just so that that s has a little more breathing room or that angle has a little more breathing room same thing here step out and see if it's a pretty yes or not I think it's pretty okay that's why let's end this? Why he's a scissor tool ended here says a tool and uh here I'm just eyeballing where I think it should end kind of based on my sketch and we found out that that didn't intersect enough so let's bring us over a little bit more to make sure it intersects with that okay cut it here delete that little segment should be a scrap in there there is scrap showing off it up good okay these two are fighting so it's could he use the direct selection too old for this because we're just talking about anchor points can we relax those okay, so starting to happen here cut that public affair let's ok? Those aren't intersecting so let's bring this over a little bit more again based on my sketch I think you want to leave him like that, huh? Okay, so these are just the finishing touches of the construction of this thing but you know, once it's constructed then it becomes this great little piece that starts working with everything else but until then I gotta get this we're gonna move this over all right? I think that'll do it okay on it in there so there's a scrap in there again. Okay? We can fix it again. This is the great thing about that tool is that I know that if it's not quite right we can fix it so would join all that up and this looks like the person thrown it off and that point is throwing off too so you can take both of these smell them out as well, turn that handle a little bit to make it right something a little funky about that and that's just fine tuning to get it in because we do want it also looked perfectly straight of course um join these up be interesting to see what happens with that and I'm cool with that so I made that hole why makes sense it's getting a little close to the a we're just bringing it up a little bit get these right I think they're gonna be all right and that point intersex see that um but we're not going to the final product won't be twenty it'll be rounded edge trying again let's take out these little stray anger points hate he plugging in like this but they even have a tool that takes out all those stupid anchor points you don't need to be there um and then let's cut it off right there join this little guy could be smarter. That handle can make a little more sense are not figure out the best way to make this work oh, they're the scrap that's why I don't believe it I think in the post thing I'll d'oh that's gonna make a little more sense I can kind of I can uh accommodate for that or I mean uh make up for it. Okay, so now we sort of just have these letter forms and now what I want to do is make sure every letter is combined so um this is my a conjoined those up does my w yeah china trying it all out okay it's my aye that's my ass let's get this h getting close here to get this h right so obviously has one straight bar going down join another bar going down join this's the h is crossbar join little tail join now watch this action smart removed brush toll what phone gets rid of all those stupid little things? They don't need to be there so like this if I have enough have joined that yet are all these little things need to be there but if something's redundant at all planet out a lifesaver okay, so see if we can make that smarter that's fine and that's pretty much it happens every time we use him. I'm just like, is this going to help or not? And um I just have to get in there and experiment with things and see if they actually make your work better. I think for the most part they do ok, so a w a blitz I don't know how we need to haul ass to get together, join let's, get that handy tool clean out all that junk doesn't need to be there join can that is the smart remove brush tool from the stewed graphics cleans up your stray anchor points there's a little thing I've been here that needs to join that I want to read from online with this particular wash away design used a series of diagonal lines and circles to build of your shapes when if ever would you just use the pen tool to draw every letter and not used this overlapping technique because there's too much room for air with just the mental and um I'm about getting it done efficiently more than I'm about being a complete master of the pencil so um with thea yeah with this that circle I would rather use a circle to make a circular shape then to use the pencil to touch a few points to make something that I hoped would be a circle there's no reason it it would be a pride issue if we didn't use the circles it would be like no I don't need no stinkin circles I could do it myself no you've got circles use the circles um if you've got a diagonal line use that if you can draw a square draw square um all that stuff on lee makes your workflow quicker it's like I said like we're artists but we're also business people that have to get these projects done and and these are kind of some tips that I found that that really helped that out okay so now I think I have everything that's an ass that's a w that's the a I can keep these separated that's fine okay so I think I'm good with all of these pieces okay so we have this now let's do another our board track this over now the um my original sketch isn't there anymore it doesn't need to be there so have wash away let's put rounding corners on it and it changes things let's make thicker lines really changes things thinner lines whole different approach makes it a little more feminine a little more um obviously light I didn't notice a little scrap that was in there we'll leave it for now, but it won't matter in the big, you know, like after I finish it the way I want to finish it. So okay, so we have that let's just find a way, you know, I I thought I wouldn't like it thin but actually don't mind it thin. Um, this one has bothered me a little bit, so I still have timeto cut that off let's just cut off the end of that think that h makes a little more sense um, this little relationship happening here between this h and where it crosses bothers me, so now you know, we've you know, think about where we've been here we we had this and now we're messing with each letter as an individual, you know what I'm saying? So after all those lines here I am moving in h around because it's on its own. So what I want to do now is I want to take this and I'm gonna commit to this thickness and I'm going to expand the stroke or outlines drawn outlines, stroke, but all those things, another outlook shapes

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.