Do you love experimenting with type? Illustrating with type in Adobe Illustrator is easy when you use the Envelope Distort function. In five simple steps, learn how to make your own typographic illustrations!

Download the working file

Type Illustration Tutorial

 

Step 1

First, find the shape you want to illustrate. Look for images with a shape that you can stretch the words into, a sharp rectangular shape is going to just look like a regular block of text. For this tutorial, we’re going to be using a balloon. Open your reference image into Illustrator and set it as a template.

Step 2

Type your text at around the size you want and outline it. Ungroup the outlines and re-group only the letters of each individual word together.

Step 3

Arrange your words over the image to generally where you want them. Under the “Object” drop-down menu, select the “Envelope Distort” tab and choose “Make with Mesh.” This will bring up a pop-up menu where you will set the rows and columns both to “3.”

Step 4

Now each word has its own 3×3 mesh grid of anchor points. Use the anchor points to adjust letters. The less distorted the shapes of the letters are, the better the outcome will look. This doesn’t mean you can’t warp the letters into shape, just be strategic with moving the anchor points so that your letter is still legible.

Step 5

Once you’re happy with the way your text looks, expand all of the text. Fill in the rest of the image with supporting shapes. For our shape, we’re just adding the tie at the bottom of the balloon and a tied string hanging off of it. Experiment with different colors and shapes for different effects!

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