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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 9 of 21

Manipulate Existing Fonts: Adding a Drop Shadow

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

9. Manipulate Existing Fonts: Adding a Drop Shadow

Lesson Info

Manipulate Existing Fonts: Adding a Drop Shadow

We have someone requesting if you could please show a step by step example of adding a drop shadow to an existing funds okay that's something that you're able to show up I'll do it with raven, okay, so that was essentially what I did with um a snow so step by step we're going to go we're going to option drag wait, what am I doing? Shift an option so it does two things it duplicates and it keeps it perfectly in line on a forty five degree angle so then we go back to the front so let's say the back is, um is a little bit darker grey and object path offset path twelve point maybe uh fourteen twelve twelve point minored now this is black, so this has the drop shot again. I don't leave things uncut out so it's not exactly how I want it yet so let's, just move this letter, drop shadow around try to get a similar with I'm on the side and on the bottom the diagonal lines obviously are a little bit harder tow her to deal with um and I'm just gonna take that black shape and cut it out of the dar...

k gray shape expand and I'm gonna go back on my pin tool and these little things, these little cuts that seemed tio maybe they're accurate but they're only getting in the way of the way I want this thing to look, someone cut those out and also, um sometimes you're gonna have little things like okay, so I just took all that was dark grey and I separated them from each other, this little sliver that's on ly gonna hurt things and the printing and you kind of have to decide if it's worth it to leave or if it drives you nuts when it's gone, so we'll leave it just for now, but sometimes in situations like that, if it's not totally crucial, I'll get rid of it just cause I know that if you screen printed it's, then just going to be the sliver of ink that's going to be sitting there and there's nothing wrong with that, but I would rather keep things somewhat clean. So this little thing is driving me nuts here that goes up there, so I'd rather take that off and maybe just bring this little shape up. So I guess what I want people to understand is that, um, it's okay to destroy these things and mess with them, um and mess with them however you want, like the mathematical perfect structure of everything, it doesn't always work when we're talking about what actually looks good, so here is craving for the drop shadow open it up to students that aaron here um with us do you have any questions? Um that you have maybe one particular raven font or um anything that brandon's already covered? I'm curious if any of you guys actually start by illustrating stuff like on a sketch pad versus going straight to your computer like anita do you usually see yourself sketching out before you're going to get before you and your software intelligent but I tend to sketch first just check like the first thing that comes to my mind tried to put them on paper see if that works sometimes going to the street will take me more time trying to figure out exactly how it is because like some funds will look nice but once you start messing with them you may go into panic mode like oh, it looks really I messed it up so bad looks not maybe this was the bad choice yes and maybe no necessity but choice but to area to tell a dat stage without the sketch because that's kind of what you envision it to be and if you go through the process he made in the middle of the development without the sketch you may be like, oh no this is going nowhere let's just forget about it let's just jump into something else yeah and I think it's a valuable toe too you know, do it quickly. And if you do it quickly it's helpful that you can jump out being like. Okay, this is I'm doing this quick. Anyway, I didn't waste that much time, but no, when it's like this isn't thing working it's. Not worth it to picking a font and be so dedicated to basing it off that fun that you're going to kill your time, you know, so it's yeah. Throw away. Start over. But that's the benefit of working quickly. I have a really good question from online. At what point, brandon, do you decide to incorporate illustration into your lettering? So, for example, um thatyou center that he made me think of a break? Do you try the lettering alone first or jump on ideas right away? I tried alone first for sure. And then once I see it, I decide if there's something that I need to add to it or leave it alone. Now, the ability to know when something needs added to something is valuable what's but what's even more valuable is knowing when to leave it alone. So it's restraint is valuable to be able to be simp simple and say that's all it needs I don't need to add things to it just to convince this client that I spent a lot of time on it so that's something that a lot of graft designer is gonna have to deal with I have a quote of simplicity takes courage so what that means is that it's very difficult for us to just put something together and say this is all you need this fills the void this whatever you ask for this is it how much time you spend on it don't worry about how much time I spent on this is, you know, this works for what you need when we think about this idea, I think a lot of graph designers charge power lee I think that's a bad practice on ly because, um, this thing that I can do quickly isn't less valuable than thing that takes me forever, and I personally think the thing that is super busy and super complicated is on ly detracting from the original point, so I'm a believer that, um, the simple work is just as good if not better than the complicated stuff uh, I have another question once you manipulate manipulate a fund, can you use it commercially in your art? What are the licensing implications if you could jace on any of those with a font if you buy the fun at full price you own that you don't necessarily need it's not like a photo credit where you need to credit so the person who made the front like these guys know like you know the nike font is future a bold future our future of old condensed so future a bold condensed the guy who made that isn't getting royalties on the nike logo that's what fonts is its becomes this domain of everybody doing it that so yeah the fonts are a cz long as you pay for it and if it's one of those spots that say share where or donations or whatever then those khun get a little tricky so you need to make sure you're paying for this stuff but like you know you'll find they'll be a font that cost three hundred dollars and it's like there's no way I'm paying three hundred dollars but once you by a great fun and you start using it you realize oh that's why it would cost three hundred dollars so um and grab a designer's deal with that so it's like sometimes you know first the program's air too expensive so you know it would be like how can we get a version of this that I have pain all this but then over time you like no no I have to pay full price for everything because of this there's value to this. This helps me do what I do. So this helps me create great stuff. So pay for your stuff and, you know, make good buying choices. But paper pay full price for the stuff.

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.