Exploring Tools in Illustrator

Design Ideas & Design Process

As I approached this task, I knew my main priority was to become more familiar with the software and more specifically tools in the software, whilst keeping the brief in mind. This explains my widely varied designs. After searching for inspiration I had lots of ideas that I wanted to develop, and skills I wanted to master.

Design 1

Figure 1 – Final sticker design 1

BMW, BBC, NBA, KFC. All these brands are known by a 3 letter acronym. My first idea stemmed from this concept. I chose to shorten the title of the podcast to the 3 letters as it creates a brand which is more memorable than an independent podcast. In my design I have highlighted the abbreviated title to draw attention to it, which was my aim when going through the design process.

Design 2

Figure 2 – Final Sticker design 2

Here I wanted to concentrate on developing solely text-based skills. To achieve the handwritten look I was after, I selected a calligraphic font as I feel like this portrayed my goal successfully. When researching I had seen multiple stickers with a vague silhouette of the design acting as a border/outline which inspired me to experiment with this idea, hence why there are multiple shadow layers to this design.

Design 3

figure 3 – Final sticker design 3

Typography is all about words. When said, the word itself has “type” in it, and this design reflects exactly that. A book has tens of thousands of words in it and is usually the first thing people think of when the topic of conversation is words. After watching a tutorial, I learnt how to create this book-like effect which I think conveys the theme of typography perfectly.

Software Tutorials

Design 1

Figure 4 – Using type on path tool 

For continuity, I designed a sticker based on one of my previous podcast covers where I used smart filters, the liquify tool and a clipping masking in Photoshop to create the effect of the distorted TGC. Once I had moved this to Illustrator, I drew a circle around it and used the type on path tool (Figure 4) to add the smaller text around the edge of the sticker, creating a border highlighting the abbreviation. I edited the size of the outer text so it joined as a complete circle.

Wrap Text Around A Circle with Adobe Illustrator | Beginner Tutorial

Design 2

figure 5 – using offset path and merge tool 

Figure 6 – without typographic brush strokes

figure 7 – with typographic brush strokes

To emphasize the text, I added a black shadow by duplicating the text, then I expanded, blended and merged the letters together. Additionally, I increased the stroke weight so it was a thick, bold shadow. The use of copy and paste came in handy for this design as I created multiple shadows. The blue shadow behind the white text came from duplicating it, changing the colour and using the selection tool to position it slightly down and to the right of the foremost layer. To enhance the hand-drawn effect, I added some brush stroke-looking shapes using the pen tool, incorporating bezier curves to intensify the sections of the letters that cross over another (Figure 7).

How To Create Custom Type Designs in Adobe Illustrator

Design 3

figure 8 – using free transform tool

figure 9 – using blend & anchor tools 

figure 10 – moving text position 

The free transform tool helped me achieve the opening book-like effect. Taking two copies of the word, I morphed them so they were the very outer and inner “pages” (Figure 8). Using the blend tool, I was able to fill the gaps with a desirable number of copies and then adjust the positioning using the anchor tool. I then used the gradient fill tool to give the look of them disappearing into the background, enhancing the book effect (Figure 9). After using the rotation and reflection tools to create the rest of the book, I experimented with the positioning of the remaining text (Figure 3 & Figure 10). In the end I decided upon the first option (Figure 3) because the writing isn’t completely legible in the second one.

Flip Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator | Blending, Reflect & Gradient | Graphic design

Design Resources & Articles

Design 1

figure 11 – BMw logo comparison (2020s v 1970s)

My inspiration for this design was the branding of BMW. Above is the logo from the 1970s along with the current one (Figure 11). My sticker shape reflects the main shape of both logos, a circle. The slight involvement of colour means you are drawn to it so I used this idea for my design for the extended title, as that is an important piece of information. This helped develop my work in terms of hierarchy and the order in which the viewer will see the information.


Design 2

figure 12 – sticker sold on redbubble.com

The solid theme throughout this website’s stickers is the bubble-like border around the designs. It gives the illusion that the design is much more prominent than the background colour and this is a way of manipulating the viewer to look at certain information. I applied this to my own work and the results are successful in that you are really drawn to the word ‘typography’, like it is almost jumping out of the page.


Design 3

Book designer David Pearson returns to Penguin's bestselling series, Great Ideas

figure 13 – Book cover designed by david pearson 

Earlier this term, David Pearson, a successful book designer, led one of our Baseline Shift sessions and this particular design of his stood out to me. The concept of making shapes and letters out of words really intrigued me so I wanted to build on this idea in my own way. The result of this was the idea of creating the shape of a book as part of my sticker design, as books have a strong link with typography and graphic communication.