Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

How to put text type into the shape of a letter in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

Download Exercise Files



We’re awarding certificates for this course!

Check out the How to earn your certificate video for instructions on how to earn yours and click the available certificate levels below for more information.

You need to be a member to view comments.

Join today. Cancel any time.

Sign Up

Hi there, are you ready to put text inside other text in Illustrator? We'll do that, plus we'll add some Gradients, add some image. Cool stuff going on. Let's go learn that now. 

First thing is, open up the exercise file, 'Text in a Shape'. It's in your exercise files. You don't need to, I just made a few Artboards that we're going to kind of practice with, but you can obviously do with anything. First up, we're going to start with some giant Type. So, 'Type Tool', click once. We're using RX, which is our brand that we're doing for that bike company. I'm using my 'Black Arrow' to do the Font size, just to make it super big. Pick a Font, I'm using 'Aktiv' 'Aktiv Grotesk', it's one you can get from TypeKit. It's a nice big bold font, big slabby Arial style. I'm going to make it that sort of size. 

What I'll do is hold 'Alt' key down and drag it out, so I've got a copy just in case I need to go back, because we're going to destroy this guy. So for the moment, just to work, this needs to be broken apart. So 'Command-Shift-O' on a Mac, or 'Control-Shift-O' on a PC. It is under 'Create Outlines', sorry, it is there, so 'Type', 'Create Outline'. Now it's just shapes, no longer editable text. That's kind of the first part. Let's ungroup it. Right click, 'Ungroup', or use the shortcut. So I got two separate shapes. We'll start with the X because it's less complicated. Anything that has these kind of Compound Shapes in it, we have to do a little extra steps. We'll start with the X. And all we need to do now is grab our 'Type Tool'. Yours might automatically, depending on the shape that you've used, automatically grab the right tool. We're going to grab this one here. If you click and hold down 'Type Tool', grab 'Area Type Tool'. And you want to kind of click in the top corner here, and it's going to say it can't be a Compound Shape. It's not a Compound Shape, but it thinks it is. Right click it, and say 'Release Compound Path'. That doesn't happen all the time. 

So now I'm going to click on it, and it's going to work. Your Font size will probably be different. I've played around with this already, so it's kind of a small Font size, but say you're going to use something like Open Sans-- I've made mine quite small. Big fonts just don't really look nice inside of here. So there's a couple of things you need to do. By default yours is going to be left aligned, and a really big font. So go down to something that's going to work. Actually it's going to be legible and it's going to fit in this shape nicely. I've picked a font really strong and bold. If you got a thin font, it's just going to look strange. 

Down to your 'Paragraph', I'm going to use 'Justification'. And you can decide on whether it's justification, but leaving the last line, or whether it's full blown. Smash it in there, any way you can, you end up with kind of some of these strange things going on. Depends if you're doing it for legibility, or it's just for effect. Now in this case you're looking-- it's a really huge problem, it's really hard to get away from some of these rivers that start running these kind of gaps that run through the type. You play around with your Paragraph options. This little option in here as well. Start playing with Line heights and things. Get it as close as you can, I'm going to leave mine as it is. 

What you also might do is, you got to obviously have that magic amount of Type. So you might have to play around with Font sizes and Tracking to get it to kind of fill up. I'm using Placeholder text but let's say yours is missing some. What you can do is go to 'Type' and go to 'Fill' again, and it will just kind of fill it out for you. And what you might do, you might do some-- this one line here is not going to work for me so I might 'Shift' click this one, and start messing about with it. So that's that guy, let's look at this other option, the R. He has an issue with this bit in the middle here. So like the X, we need to say 'Release Compound Path'. This one has a bit more repercussions, this chunk of R is missing. So we have to put him back in afterwards, I'm going to copy him, and just move him over there. So I just hit 'Command C', or 'Control C' on a PC. And let's do the same thing, 'Type Tool', click in there. With it all selected, I'm going to grab the Eye Dropper Tool. Click this so it's the same color, and weight, and same crazy Justification. 

The next thing to do is getting this kind of center back in there. You do it like this, I'm going to actually go 'Command F' to put that back, but I don't need him anymore. That's pasting, but back to exactly where you got it. If you're on a PC, it's 'Control F'. And with this guy, we need to go to 'Object'. Click on 'Text Wrap', and go to 'Make'. You can see, if I'm moving it, it's actually affecting it now. So I'm going to put it where I got it, and just give it 'no' Stroke, 'no' Fill. It will do its job by pushing the text around but it won't-- did I put it back where I got it? I didn't. I know it's a bit weird. So that's how to get the text to flow through other letters. Let's do another option, I'm going to copy all of this and put a Gradient through it. So I'm going to copy it, just move over here, and paste it. Cool. 

So I've got white text on a white background. Not going to worry about that too much at the moment because I want to add a Gradient. Now I can't, for the life of me work out a way of adding a Gradient to the Type while it's inside this Arial Type. You might be smarter than me, or you've worked it out. Let me know if you can. The only way I can work it out is if you outline the Type again. At the moment it's editable text, which is cool, but what we need to do now is go, sorry guys, you need to be 'Command-Shift-O'. Outlined. Now we can add the Gradient. By having it selected, I can go to 'Fill', and say, actually give it a Gradient. Actually not this guy. I'll take him off in a second. He's just going to hang out here until I'm finished, actually he can stay. I'll select both of them in the background, not selecting him. I'm going to say, you have a 'Fill' of our 'Gradient'. 

Now by default it will do it per letter. That's kind of cool. It's not really what I wanted. So what we can do, an easy way to fix that, with it selected again, go to 'Object', 'Compound Path', and 'Make'. It doesn't really change it much, except, now when we do this it will go kind of all the way across. Cool, huh? If you want to change the Gradient, with it selected, grab the 'Gradient Tool' over here, in my 'Tool Bar' and you can see, I can just kind of drag it any which way I want. Click off. Remember that cool shortcut? It's, stop showing me all the little lines. Do you remember what it is? Do you remember yet? 'Command H'. 'Command H', or 'Control H' on a PC just hides all of the blue stuff temporarily. We can turn it back on later on. Turn 'Command H' back on, because it is helpful. There you go, you got a cool Gradient with Text. 

The last thing we do is put an image in the background. Weird thing about the images here, and why I think you can probably put Gradients without outlining the Text is I can grab this one, which is editable text. I'm going to paste it over here, and I'm going to go back and grab the whole thing. Come back here, buddy. Copy. Let's paste it here. What I'm going to do is put an image in. So I'm going to go to 'File', 'Place'. I'm going to bring in 'Color Whirl', which is in your exercise files. I'm just going to make sure the document is, I guess, big enough to cover everything. 

Next thing we need to do, is the Text needs to be in the front. So I'm going to right click him, 'Send to Back'. Have these guys selected. I'm not messing about with this thing here. The kind of center hole. So I've just clicked this, this, in the background and we're going to hit 'Command 7'. It's going to say, "It's pretty complex, be careful," I'm ready. We have to do it per letter. So I'm going to copy this, select both of them. 'Command 7', or 'Control 7' on a PC. Now I'm going to paste it again. 'Send to Back', and do the second one for these guys. A way around that actually would be to turn them into a group first. A Compound Shape first. 

That's the end of the tutorial. I'm kind of going back on myself now to prove, maybe a point. Let's click on this one, I'm guessing here, if I-- actually you, you, make Compound Path'. The shortcut is 'Command 8'. I'm going to say 'OK'. Now select these two. Still didn't work. So I should edit that sort of stuff out, but let's leave it in there. That is how, my friends, to put Type in other Type, in Adobe Illustrator. Let's get on to the next video.