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Designing Type and Layout in Adobe Illustrator

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This chapter from The Adobe Illustrator WOW! Book for CS6 and CC focuses on tips and tricks related to working with the type tools, as well as design and layout in Adobe Illustrator.

This chapter focuses on tips and tricks related to working with the type tools, as well as design and layout. While Chapter 1 covers the basics of working with multiple artboards, you’ll find some of the more advanced issues of working with multiple artboards later on in this introduction, and in lessons in this chapter.

Types of Type

There are three kinds of type objects in Illustrator: Point type, Area type, and Path type. The Type tool lets you click to create a Point type object, click-drag to create a box for an Area type object, or click on a path to create Path type. (See the CC section later in this chapter for how you can convert Point type to and from Area type.) Click within any existing type object to enter or edit text. To exit type editing mode, press the Esc key; to be poised to start creating or editing another type object, hold down the Command/Ctrl key (temporarily turning your cursor into a Selection tool) and click outside the text block, or reselect the Text tool. Some features for manipulating type include the following:

  • Point type never wraps to a new line. To add another line of text without also adding a new paragraph (so your paragraph style applies to all the lines), press the Shift-Return/Enter key. Use Return/Enter to add another line as a new paragraph (so you can change paragraph styles).
  • To scale Point type, use the Selection tool to select the type and drag on one of the handles of the bounding box. Both the type and the bounding box scale together. Use modifier keys as you would with any object to constrain proportions or scale from the center.

  • Area type automatically wraps to the next line. Use the Return/Enter key to start a new paragraph within an Area type object.
  • Figure 1 Hovering the cursor over the edge of an object reveals the Area Type cursor, then click to enter the desired text; the object can be easily reshaped, causing the text to reflow

    To scale Area type, use the Selection tool to scale just the bounding box itself; the type will reflow inside the area, but remain the same size. To scale the bounding box and the type, choose the Free Transform tool (E) before dragging on the bounding box handles.

    Create a custom container for Area type by constructing a path with any tool. With a closed path, choose either of the Area Type tools and click on the path (not inside the object) to place text within the confines of the path. Hold down the Option/Alt key to create Area type with an open path when the Area Type tool is not selected.

    Use the Direct Selection tool to distort a container object for Area type by grabbing an anchor point and dragging on it, or reshape the path by adjusting direction lines. The text within your Area type object will reflow to fit the new shape of the confining object.

    Use the Area Type Options dialog (Type> Area Type Options) to gain precise control over a number of important aspects of Area type, such as numerical values for the width and height, precise values for rows and columns, offset options, the alignment of the first baseline of text, and how text flows between rows or columns (by choosing one of the Text Flow options).

  • Path type flows text along the path of an object. Create Path type by clicking on a path with the Type tool; the path become unstroked and unfilled, and is ready to receive text.
  • Figure 2 Type on a Path graphic by Donal Jolley

    A Path type object has three brackets—the beginning bracket, which has an in port; a center bracket; and an end bracket, which has an out port. Use the ports to thread text between objects (see the Tip “Ports defined” later in the chapter). Use the center bracket to control positioning the type along the path.

    To position type on a path, hover your cursor over the path until the cursor turns into an upside down T. Dragging the center bracket along the path moves the type toward the beginning or end. Dragging across the path flips the type to the other side of the path. For example, type running outside of a circle will flip to the inside.

    To automatically reflow type along a path, use the Direct Selection tool to reshape the path. Set or adjust Path type attributes with the Type on a Path Options dialog (Type> Type on a Path> Type on a Path Options). Choose different Type on a Path effects (such as Rainbow or Stair Step), enable Flip to automatically flip type to the other side of the path, set the alignment of type relative to the path, and use a Spacing control to adjust the type as it moves around a curve. You can also access Type on a Path effects through the Type> Type on a Path submenu.

    Figure 3 If you try to set Path type on a circle, and the text is set to Align Center, the text will be forced to the bottom of the circle. That’s because each Path type object has two handles (the start marker and the end marker) between which the type is centered. When you first draw the circle and apply the Path type to it, those two handles appear together at the top of the circle, due to the fact that the circle is a closed path.

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