Posts in Category "TypeKit"

Discover: Illustrator’s Touch Type Tool


Photo by esp2k on Fotolia:

The Touch-Type Tool, introduced into the Illustrator Toolset in 2013, is an intuitive way to adjust the scaling, position and rotation of individual characters in text, saving you from expanding the text to outlines or messing about for ages in the Character Panel. In this post we’re going to look at the tool to create this—completely fictitious—band logo. If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber you can use the same font as I’m using here from Typekit: Banshee Std—if you don’t yet have a subscription, you can always get a free 30-day trial by following this link. Just so you know, the image I’ve used in this post is by esp2k and available on Fotolia:

Begin by creating two instances of point-text for the words “The” and “Creations” (or whatever words you’re using) then hit ESC on your keyboard to exit the Type Tool. The Touch Type Tool is actually nested with the other type tools, but you can access it quickly with the keyboard shortcut SHIFT-T. You’ll get a little HUD—Heads-Up Display—momentarily, that invites you to Click on a character to select, so click on the r in creations.


A box will appear around the character, and each corner has a different function, along with a circle widget above the box:



  1. The circle widget allows for the rotation of the character
  2. The top-right corner allows for the proportional scaling of the character (no need for a modifier key)
  3. The bottom-right corner allows for the horizontal scaling of the character
  4. The bottom-left corner can be used to move the character
  5. The top-right corner allows for the vertical scaling of the character

Using a combination of rotating, scaling and moving, the text is rapidly moved into a more interesting arrangement; all of the characters have new individual size, rotation, baseline-shift and kerning values applied. Tip: while the tool is active, you can also use the arrows on the keyboard to nudge the selected character. Imagine how much fiddling around with those values in the Character Panel this would have taken otherwise!


It only takes a moment or two more to move the word “The” into position and adjust those characters:


Creating The Logo Style

You can’t add gradients to text directly in Illustrator, but you can use appearances to do so; make sure that you can see the Appearance Panel (it’s in the Window menu if not already present) then select and group the two bits of text. Click the Add New Fill icon, the middle of the three icons at the bottom-left of the Appearance Panel and a new fill will be added to the group; this can also be achieved with the shortcut CMD-/.

From the fill selector in the panel, you can choose a gradient swatch and using the Gradient Panel and the Gradient Tool model it to appear as you’d like it to be. Keep the group selected.

Now add another new fill. This time choose or create a solid colour—hold down SHIFT when you click on the fill selector in the panel to access the colour mixer—and don’t worry about your gradient being hidden, that’ll be resolved in just a moment.


Attributes can be selected just like layers—make sure that your solid fill is active just like in the image above—then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path… and add a value of 4px (you can always change this later by clicking the effect in the Appearance Panel). Now drag this fill beneath the Contents in the panel:


The only thing now is to close that gap in the aperture of the letter C. Ensuring that the group is still selected and that the solid fill is still active, go to Effect > Pathfinder > Merge and you’ll see that it makes all of the shapes in the fill combine into one shape.


The huge advantage of working this way is that everything is editable; you can make changes to any aspect of this and the combined effect will just adjust as you work, rather than recreating shapes as you would if you were working with outlined text.