This is about how to manipulate the text of a font in order to create a logo in Adobe Illustrator.
The text in the logo above has had its corners rounded and other changes made to make it look more attractive and original. Here is the word written out in the base font (Sansumi).
In this particular example I went for a very small radius for the round corners and you can only barely see the difference. But I think it makes the logo look more recognisable and modern. Here is a video about how you can customize text to create a logo in Adobe Illustrator.
By rounding the corners or by making changes to the letters in the logo, you can make a “custom font” for your client’s logo.
Turn text to outlines
While creating a logo, it is always better to work with vectors. So, in Illustrator with the text selected, go Text > Create Outlines (Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-O) to turn the text into an editable vector. Then go Object > Ungroup (Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-G) if you want to move individual letters around.
Illustrator tip: always keep a version of your text “live”, that is, always have the logo typed out in your base font for reference. This is because if you have to got back to change the spelling or captalization you don’t need to relocate the font and/or formatting.
Creating rounded corners in Illustrator
To create rounded corners in Illustrator, with the object selected, you need to go Effect > Stylize > Round Corners…
In the resulting dialog box, check the preview box, and alter the radius until the desired roundness of the corners has been achieved. After clicking OK, go Object > Expand Appearance which then draws a path around your newly rounded corners.
However, Illustrator’s best efforts for rounded corners are seldom perfect, so you will find you’ll have to go through the logo to do a bit of fine tuning.
Editing objects and shapes in Illustrator
So, with the type converted properly into outlines, let me introduce you to your new best friends in the Illustrator toolbar.
When manipulating the text of your logo, the tools you’ll use most often will be:
- the Selection Tool (V)
- the Direct Selection Tool (A)
- the Pen Tool (P)
- the Add Anchor Point Tool (+)
- the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-)
- the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C)
As I’m sure you know, the Selection Tool (V) selects objects whereas the Direct Selection Tool (A) selects anchor points. The Pen Tool (P) draw lines with BÃ©zier curves. You can add create or get rid of anchor points along the path or outline with the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) or the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-). If you click and drag on an anchor point with the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C) you will get a smoother curve.
These tools are especially useful after using Illustrator’s Round Corners effect. A right-angled, or “angular” corner can be rounded manually by firstly clicking twice with the the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) on either side of the corner and, secondly, by drawing a curve between the two new anchor points.
Working with the Pen Tool and BÃ©zier curves does take time to master. But keep at it and keep copies of everything you do and you’ll be fine.
Presenting logos to clients
Now, after you’ve gone over your new logo time and time again to perfect it, you have to present it to your client.
Many people say you should only show a black and white version to the client as the litmus test of a great logo is something that looks as great small and monochrome as it does large and colorful. However, I have found that clients are much less likely to accept logos presented in this way so I tend to present the logo in a color I think best fits the logo and the brand. I place the logo quite small in the center of a landscape PDF. This way the client views the logo without distractions.
What do you do?
Have you ever designed a logo for a client or for yourself? How did you do it? How do you present your logo options to the client?
rod rodriguez says
Nice article, very useful for customising logo fonts… Thank you for posting! Maybe you could write about creating high quality and crisp favicons too. Just a thought, yours look awesome and I wonder how you did that.
Rob Cubbon says
Thank you very much, Rod, and welcome to the site. Glad you liked this post. Yes, favicons, I shall do a post on that!