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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 7 of 21

Manipulate Existing Fonts

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

7. Manipulate Existing Fonts

Lesson Info

Manipulate Existing Fonts

So our first thing is we're gonna manipulate an existing fun. So you gonna watch me and how I go through, you know, finding a far and figuring out something that I think is going to be easily easy to manipulate and the tools that I used to do it. Um, so we could either stick with what we want with before the middle, um, somebody give me another word we had middle before whatever you got. Unless the, uh, online khun beat the in studio snow snow. Okay, so we're gonna find snow, okay, so when you first said snow, when you first said snow, I wanted to do something nice and curse of and script e um, but that's the obvious, I think, um, let's, figure out a way. What other attributes of snow? Um, can there be right now? I'm starting to see some. Okay. Now, for the sake of the course, the capital's. They're going to help us out. Um, I have all of my thoughts divided in the styles. Right so these I started looking through here and you got to know that this is a trap and brady is just in case th...

ere's um people that are tuning in that aren't familiar with the software can you just give me a general back? What is this on explorer ex pro so you can use fusion suitcase or suitcase? Well extensive suitcase you can use font case um I use fun explorer plo fun explorer ex pro you're gonna find our phone book even um I have way too many fonts I have tens of thousands of fonts on here so um fall explorer ex pro has always been the thing that's sort of like manages the most I found that in some of the other one's a tte least you know, these versions change so quickly um whatever when it was time for me to make a decision I chose phonics for expert because it could manage my my, uh huge manta fun. So um there's a lot of them out there um I would say it's probably going to be safer for you and not have tens of thousands of fonts but I've been accumulating these since I was a teenager so um so I didn't ever really want to delete any of them so I still have a mom so um let's just use let's use this um and I'll tell you why I want to use this I like skate catalogs and along escape catalogs I like snowboard catalogues so the words snow for me I want to do something escape board related uhm but this font bolster bold bold is going teo probably, uh, it's going, I'm going to show you how to edit it, um and just do a little bit of stuff to it that's going to make it work for project so let's use this word snow bolster bold pro I guess it's activated. All right, so let's, get into, uh, it's getting the illustrator. All right, so this is how I set up my pal it's. Um, well, not exactly so that you can see it on the screen. I've had to change some things around because we had a different resolution unusual, so I normally don't have these things side by side like this, but, you know, I make sure the layers are important obviously the swatches important, we're not doing our boards quite yet, but let's just kind of get into what we're going to do with this word snow so I created background color. I locked that and, um I do the graphic overto over top, so simply typing out the word snow and it always seems like it's always at the smallest size when you type it out, we use bolster okay that's what we have so first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna option dragged this thing down and just see what happens in the lower case characters so very quickly what ideo command shift oh create out lights um man shift g um un group so I'm very quick to destroy so I know it's no longer editable but the the things that I need to do to keep it editable are only going to get in the way of me making something new out of this so snow I think I don't think I want to use the lower case although that ask this kind of rad so here's what I would do at first this is what this whole method is about is this direction uh direct selection tool here the white arrow is very important so whatthe white arrow is going to dio is you see my box and I'm dragging here I'm selecting all the anger points that are over here so I would be able to do this before I would do something like our before I would do something like this which we know we should not do don't do that his fans have ah, I have an identity and when you stretch him out you kill it so let's uh bring this over shift in a rookie to extend the snow um I see that this area of the w I can just select those two with the direct selection tool and extend that up. I could do the same with thes to anchor points and drag those up. So do you guys know the direct selection tool is this familiar to you like this is the best way to take an existing fun and just start you know, using little ligatures and move things around with it so what I will usually dio to keep thing consistent I just want to connect these two um gonna connect these two with the in and the debbie I want to connect those so I'm gonna take this and use it as a horizontal bar I usually will um I usually will he's a block go over top of that option uh what do they call that one intersect option that one expand. So now this one obviously if I drag it horizontally it doesn't mess it up so I'd want to just overlap those two to connect them. The reason I'm doing that and not just a normal boxes because I want to make sure that we are that we're using the exact same wit as the letters so I want I want teo appreciate and use this hole with so you know, I think that this little guy might as well go up case I did one, two, three, four and one, two, three, four I'm gonna do go down one for three three, three so that way I just know that it's the right thing now that I've done this will get rid of this so that we can just take this one all the way across now we had the in and the w connected and now after I've done that they're all connected which is redundant so let's select all these anchor points and bring this one up okay, so now we have this snow and the height of the n bothers me because it's almost the height of this so I want to I want to make it all jive so I'm going to take this up and match that x height I guess you could say now that we're this is almost a lower case but that height isn't as proportionate so let's maybe just bring that up a little bit more okay, so now we have snow and I feel like this is probably gonna want to go up there and I'm just eyeballing to keep those in check because since it's not exactly forty five degrees you can't hold down option and it just does it for you. So all right, so now um here's kind of some of the finishing touches that I would put on this um I want them to be able to overlap and for you to see well, let's fix the current us w I have a problem with guides so I feel like if you have guides out it's just gonna be too many lines everywhere so okay I put the guide up there and then I get rid of the guy in the ruler uh so I want all of these to be ableto overlap so I will say object path offset path that that looks good ten point looks good twelve twelve that looks good okay, so we'll do that now we have an outer margin and outer shell of this and let's make that white um let's make it slightly not why just so you guys can see it so like I said, I like to be destructive when I do these so what I'm going to do now is I'm gonna intersect all of these things um so I just intercepted all these now all of these are their own shape so I could paint everything the same thing but what if instead I'm just going to cut out the scraps so it feels and then under obama it feels sort of like construction feels like if I was making something out of wood this is the way it would go so each one of these pieces now um I'm gonna get rid off now do I want to end and I think I want the end in the w to connect and it looks like all of the areas of the gray I could get rid of so select same phil color delete says it now we just have snow um and then there's going to be all these little scraps inside and those are the color of those is like nothing so select same phil color I'm the leading this house so now we have snow and it's more like a snowboard type of thing I'm gonna put all this stuff together option unite so those things are all united there and these little anchor points I usually is the pin tool delete anchor point tool just to get rid of all these little unnecessary thing because I would love all of my vectors to go out with as little anger points as possible if they're not needed there okay, so there's this and I'm gonna do something just cause I don't like the height of that so I'm gonna bring that down to make it a little more cozy happy little trees cozy little letters okay, now again I'll bring that guy down just to know where to cut this off this w off cut it off there shift expand done okay, so let's get that guy out of there command argus riddle guides it's now have snow ledge ability I think this is killing eligibility I'm gonna bring it in and I think let's just get rid of this let's try something here take these apart again I think this is for snow magazine as what isthe there should be a snowboarder underneath that I don't know if you guys knew this but um you are going to get a lesson in how to draw snowflakes we'll do it this way so yeah, you don't really know what's going to come up I didn't know I was gonna have to draw snowflake but I'm going to draw a snowflake just to fill it in um put this down, flip it around and I think you'll learn that everything is really about um you know, efficiency and how quickly you can do this these aren't perfectly straight so we want teo align them according to selection align to selection and this will be middle and centered altogether so there's a perfectly centered way that way I think it's a little more tasteful to do it with six instead of eight okay um around stuff round ends on them boom okay, so let's say that this is snow and object path outlined the stroke put that cut that out of the thing again. Like I said, I tend to destroy this stuff and it's not editable when I come back in but for whatever reason it's more fun to me toe like commit to it like that instead of just keeping, you know, keeping things hanging around um so now we have snow I think we could probably take everything but that and maybe transform it a little bit. Okay, so now let's, leave this. Okay, so I'm gonna join all this stuff together, duplicate it out, put it in the background. This is just a little finishing touch the end of it. You guys realize this is about showing you how to take a fun and turn it into something else quickly? If I was going really time, this probably would have went about, uh, ten minutes or seven minutes. We'll go back to that, um all set path, no work a little. So you go snow snow sow that went from taking existing font because everybody really want me to straighten a snowflake up. Now you get the gist um, so it it went from taking existing font this little bolster to turning it into that, um so really essentially it's about taking the direct selection to well being but extend certain points and extend little things and making it something more than just putting the word snow they're so now I'm not saying that it's not fine, leaving itjust the way this is so this isn't this is not terrible at all to dio um, snow like that that's not bad at all um, but if you want to do something, I think I think there's something inside of us graphic designers that make us want to make our clients think that we spent a lot of time on stuff and get over it. You know, like if it takes you two seconds to do something than congratulations, it's only takes you two seconds to do that. So it's okay, tio it's ok to do stuff quickly and it's okay for me to get in here and just extend the end and put a little curved line at it or whatever, it's ok to do it that way. But of course, now I'm thinking of a bunch of other things I could do this word, but we'll do. We'll go that for the next round, so it's okay to use what's there. But if you have that thing in you, you just want to do a little bit more and you want to use that directs election tour. You want to try to do something differently, then this is a good method, but that's the quickest of the methods that I'm going to teach you today.

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.