Type on Path Using Illustrator

I’ve been meaning to post this tut here for a while, but my first life is keeping me very busy. My apologies to those I have incovenienced.

For Intermediate users, an understanding of the Text tools and Typography is an advantage.

This tut is about creating text which run around a circle. I suppose some of the Illustrator users have actually made the mistake of not being able to have text run in opposite directions around the circle, without using 2 circles which overlap each other. Here we use one circle, create 2 halves, independent of each other.

Firstly draw a circle;

Divide the circle into a top half and a bottom half, independent of each other. You can do this using the scissors tool, clicking on the left and right anchor tool, one after the other.

( or using a line segment and align a horizontal line to the middle of the circle and use pathfinder to divide. Be sure the line extends past the circle bounds, for it to divide completely. )

I suppose most Illustrator users have found that there are multiple ways to do everything in this program, and I would encourage alternative methods, if it suits the user better. Why not post some alternative methods to this thread, so we get a diverse range of ways to experiment with.

You now have two semi-circles, with new centres.

Using the Type on Path Tool, positioning the cursor directly over the path, and by clicking will position the left limit position. I guess this is dependent on the language we use. As I have selected UK English and we read left to right, this makes sense.

If you select Centre Justification and click on the left anchor point for the top semi-circle, the text will have a maximum limit set by the length of the path. If you click on the top anchor point, the text is centred in the right quadrant of the circle’s path.

You will notice that while using the Type on Path tool, the cursor is flashing and an outline of the path is visible, and you can add text by typing in this mode (most importantly). If you change to the selection tool, the limits and centre handle becomes visible, and by clicking and dragging the limits can be customised.

So if you do click in the wrong position in the first place, you can always adjust this later.

Once we have got our text basically placed along the path, we resort to the Character Palette, to make our other adjustments to make the type look and feel balanced.

In this case I have set Type size to 12pt, Kerning to Optical so the “w” doesn’t look like it’s on it’s own. Although I have used a 230pt Tracking it makes very little difference anyway. The Leading is default, the Horizontal and Vertical Scaling is set at a 100%, and we are not applying any Character Rotation. But we set the Baseline Shift to -3pt. This is so it will balance on the badge as the final result shows you.

For the lower section of the circle, we make a few changes so you can experiment with the adjustment options you do have in this palette.

Here I have set the tracking to 200pt, the Horizontal Scaling to 145%, the Vertical Scaling to 125%, and the Baseline Shift adjusted to -4pt, for balance.

If your text in the lower segment runs upside down, we need to flip it over using the Selection Tool. As in the image below, the line pointing straight down from the baseline is a handle that you can click/hold/drag to the other side of the line, and you should have the text read the right way up.

Then I have just placed some circles underneath the text, lined them up to represent the badge itself. After all, this is only an example of the technique, not a design.

Hope this tut has inspired some of you to start experimenting.

All my tuts are original, free of copyright and ownership. Enjoy.


Fabulous Lee :smiley: Thanks. I am sure people will get use from your tut.

Thanks Datura.

I will post more Illustrator tuts here in 2008. Best wishes for the new year, and keep on inspiring us with your wonderful contributions.


Thank you much Kai…Lee…hahaha.

It is wonderful that you have planned more tuts, so have I. Mine will be more of a general type, independent of the software that a person has :slight_smile:

A Happy New Year to you as well :slight_smile:

Thank you Kai Gusto, this tutorial is very useful :slight_smile:

Nice stuff! Kai :slight_smile:

woho…tnx Datura :slight_smile:

wow, what a great tutorial. thank you for that