You can manipulate the text in Illustrator by using various types of colours and effects. Let us do some experiments and create fun with attractive text.
Start with the Text
The most important element you require to begin this experiment is the text. From the Textbox select the Text tool (T). Click on the artboard and enter some text you like. Here, I entered ‘WOW’ in caps with the font Gill Sans Ultra Bold. After entering, you can scale the text based on the requirement.
2 Duplicate and Create Outlines
At any time, you want to change the text you can do so. For this you need to duplicate the original text. From the Layer panel drag the type layer to Create New Layer in order to duplicate the text object. To hide the original text layer, click on the Eye icon near to the original layer. Now you have to create outlines for the text. Choose the duplicate layer using the Selection tool (V) and navigate to the Type Menu and click Create Outlines. For making the text visible, give Fill as white and Stroke as black.
3 Free Transformation of Letters
Using the Free Transform toll is a bit tricky to transform the individual letters. Make it sure that that all the letters are ungrouped (Object>Ungroup). Choose the first letter using the Selection tool. Now select the Transform tool (E) and hold the top left corner of the transform box. To alter the shape of the letter press and hold on to the Command key (PC: Ctrl key) and drag the corner. Continue to perform the same action on other letters too by varying the position and distortion of each letter.
4 Set Fill and Stroke
Choose all the distorted letters and make a duplicate layer as we created before. Move the layer from the artboard for now and reselect the transformed text. In the CS4 version of Illustrator, open the Appearance panel in the window menu and set Fill and Stroke to black by using the drop-down list. Change the Stroke weight to 40 pt. (In CS3, you have to put the Fill and Stroke colours and the Stroke weight in the Control panel.).
5 Outline Stroke
With the objects still selected, navigate to the Object menu and select Outline Stroke. Thus, you can expand the shape area on to the stroked area by making it a regular shape.
6 Unite the Shapes
To unite the shapes, open the Pathfinder panel in the Window menu. Click on Unite Icon which is placed under the Shape Modes. In Illustrator CS3, Unite Icon is named as Add to Shape Area icon. After clicking the icon also click on Expand button). Now all the expanded shapes will be combined into a single one. This shape will be the outer border effect. (Note: if you come across any stray points inside the shape, you can use the Ellipse tool to draw a circle over the points, then select everything and ht the Unite Icon)
7 Change the Colour and Stroke
Now we have to change the colour of the shape. Open Swatch panel and change the Fill to blue and stroke to red. From the Window menu open the Stroke panel. Based on the size of the art, make the size of the art moderately thick. In the example given here the Stroke weight used is 5 pt. To place the stroke inside the shape, click on the centre icon next to the Align Stroke.
8 Change the Fill and Stroke of the Duplicate Layer
Get the duplicated text that we transformed earlier and place it on top of the border shape. Set the Fill colour to orange and Stroke to black. Make sure that the strokes are not too big. The shapes should not appear like two shapes combined together (In the example given here, the Stoke value is 1 pt).
9 Creating Shadow for the Last Letter
Choose the last letter. Go to the Effect Menu in the Illustrator effects list to Stylise. Select the Drop Shadow and enter the value 5 pt in the X Offset column and in the Y Offset column. Enter 3 pt in the Blur column (These numbers can change depending on the size of your art). Click OK.
10 Applying Shadow to Other Letters
Select the letters one by one and apply the same process explained above for applying shadow. You also need to add shadow to the border shape behind the letters.
11 Drawing Highlights
From the Tool box select the Pen tool and make the Fill colour to white and Stroke colour to none. To make the letters interesting you can draw some small shapes at the corners of the letters (see the image below). Make sure that you don’t get carried away. Use your imagination to make it more interesting.