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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 14 of 21

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Use the Offset Path Tool

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

14. Illustrate Original Letterforms: Use the Offset Path Tool

Lesson Info

Illustrate Original Letterforms: Use the Offset Path Tool

So now the other thing about thes letters interacting with each other because we have to start showing a little bit of dimension so if things overlap we need to show ways that they overlap the quickest way to do this is to select everything um path offset path like we did before um don't use inches when you're doing um stuff like that towpath offset path twelve point um so you preview it so what you have to tell and it is kind of a bummer about this tool is that it shows the offset path in the same car is the thing so right now you have to know what's the outline what's the actual main area and that thickness of twelve point do we want that much overlap? Is that too thick oven area to overlap? I think it's only slightly too thick so let's do it with like a ten point overlap it's now all that overlap full color white so now just like that we start having some dimension so this stuff is working together in a way um now we can leave it there you know, I could go through each letter and go...

through each thing and like um put something forward in something backward but what I found is easier todo is again destroy it all of this over and not new art board and let these all just intersect through this way so he's all intersect so what we're gonna find now is that all those little things we saw our little shapes that we can manipulate someone this one obviously this is part of that that trouble issue this all needs to be black and there's a little things we can select that are black so I just have to decide what the route I want this stuff to take iss um I think the s is cool enough to put it, you know, in the front um but maybe it crosses over this area of the w because I don't really like what's happening here. This little tiny, uh, triangle so let's finally spots let's put the black in front, which would make all of these, um, white. So now we see how it went or maybe he goes through so this would go backto black on dh we have to do some fine tuning here, so let's, get that w right and you're going to see how I can be haphazard for this stuff and why it's okay, because this isn't that the end of the, uh, story of the texture. Okay, so this w let's um let's make it work like this put that in front now, you understand what I'm saying, you can't just take someone, put it in front and take something, put it back like because it doesn't work that way if this is gonna weave in and out and that means something's in front but something's behind so that makes sense to us in our brains but on illustrator we have to actually get in there and decide are these areas white or are they black okay so what else is happening here I think you know another route we can take to is it doesn't have to fully overlap you know it still makes sense doing it this way actually I like that better so I think I'm gonna make this black so that has a little more of a story to it um make this black it's only a kind of a partial overlap and there's some gnarly little pieces in there that are causing it to get funky but I just make those black I'm going to lead all that stuff I said don't need it all and finally is a little slivers of pieces that you have color in but again it doesn't matter the way I finish it I want this whole bar to be able to come down blithe spirit plaque and I want this to cut out there's a little triangle in they're always a little tiny things that you just kinda have to find why you're going and you're not really going to know they're there until you just do it but overall you're getting the idea of how I would illustrate something like this let's connect that this one still is totally cut uh let's connect to this so after we're done here what I would d'oh take all of this selected and just like that and I'll take you in the photo shop what's going on dwight now I'm going to kind of hit at some of my vintage distress effects um you can learn a lot more about that in my other course about vintage and distress effects but I'm going teo just show you sort of how it would resolve all of this so I got that smart smart object harassed arise that layer duplicate this white merge these layers and I'm going to say filter blur gazi and blur that's too blurry that's too blurry that's a little more what I want do that right there and then more destruction image adjustments, brightness contrast use a legacy add contrast to it let's make sure we're completely de saturated and adjustments brightness contrast don't bring down that the brightness will kind of help you to just sort of like you know see how much spacing is there how much spacing you want without me realizing it it seems like there's like some water waves that happened in there and that's kind of cool um invert that we see what we have here put put something over it, huh put like a blue over it or something like that wash away so we started from little sketches on on this way, started from this little thing, and all I was really figuring out was that I wanted these certain little parts of the letter to do this. But I didn't know that I would be able to get it all perfectly straight, and I know that all my angles, we're gonna, you know, this was just to figure out what the ideas were. But this which I would call kind of crappy, can turn into something really straight and perfect like that. And I had no idea there was gonna be a little water waves in there, so that totally works. So it ended up, uh, wash away and it up pretty good. And if I flip it over, it also says, wash away now, so that's, what's away. That's illustrate original letter forms.

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.