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Exercise 03: Using the Type tool to create a headline

Headlines are typically larger than body copy and maintain a heavier weight on the page than most other elements. The scale of the headline often relates to the scale of an accompanying photograph or illustration (it may be the same width or half of the width, for example, as a photograph on the front page of a newspaper).

In this exercise, Gill Sans was the typeface used for both the headline and the body copy. The ultra-bold font style creates a weighty headline, and the regular style of the typeface is very easy to read as body copy.

  1. Select the Type tool in the Tools panel.
  2. Click anywhere on the Artboard with the Type tool. Do not drag. Clicking just one time will change the Type tool into a flashing cursor. When you see the flashing cursor begin typing the headline, “Grid Systems.” Illustrator is a smart program, but it doesn’t know when you are finished using the Type tool. You have to tell it “I’m done.” There are a few ways to do this (see the tip). When you are finished typing your headline, click on the Selection tool. The type is automatically selected as an object and the flashing cursor is gone.

  3. Once the type is created, it can be edited by using the Selection tool and the Control or Character panel. If your type is not selected, click on it with the Selection tool.

  4. In this exercise, we used Gill Sans Ultra Bold for the headline. While the type is selected, choose Gill Sans Ultra Bold (if you have it installed) or any other font of your choice from the Type pull-down menu (Fig 4.9) either from the Control panel or from the Character panel (Window >Type > Character).

    Fig 4.9

    Fig 4.9 The Character pull-down menu.

  5. The font size can be edited by typing a number into the font size box in the Control or Character panel, or by scaling the type with the Selection tool. To scale the type, click on any of the four anchor points at the corners of the selected type object and drag towards (decreases the scale) or away from (increases the scale) the center of the type while holding Shift. In this exercise, the headline is 44 points.
  6. Use the Selection tool to pick up the headline and move it so that the baseline (Fig 4.10) is within the black line and the S in the word “Systems” is just to the right of the vertical guide.

    Fig 4.10

    Fig 4.10 The word “baseline” refers to the invisible line upon which typographic letters rest, as shown to the right, in light blue.

  7. Kerning is the space between the letters in a single word. When you set body copy (for instance, a letter typed in Microsoft Word), you usually do not have to be concerned with kerning. Good body fonts are created to be well-kerned at smaller font sizes (such as 9 – 12 points). However, when working with display text, such as a 44 point headline, the kerning should be studied. Traditionally, the amount of space between each letter should be even.

In this exercise, we will adjust the space between the i and r in the word “Grid” and the s and t as well as the t and e in the word “Systems.” Place the type cursor just between the i and r in the word “Grid.” Click when you see that the cursor looks like a single line, which means it was successfully placed within the word.

Once the Type tool is between the i and the r in the “Grid,” use Option and the right or left arrow keys on the keypad to nudge the letters to the left or right. (Fig 4.11) This is the method of manually adjusting the kerning of the display text in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. Repeat this for the s and t and the t and e in the word “Systems.”

Fig 4.11

Fig 4.11 The word “Grid” before and after kerning.

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