Fast Font Mods | Ray Dombroski | Skillshare

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Fast Font Mods

teacher avatar Ray Dombroski

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Fast Font Mods Introduction


    • 2.

      Tools and Materials


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Sketch your Idea


    • 5.

      Typekit and Illustrator


    • 6.

      Layout and Illustrator


    • 7.

      Editing Type in Photoshop


    • 8.

      Finding Textures


    • 9.

      Applying Texture in Photoshop


    • 10.



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About This Class

Create custom lettering and type-based logos from regular fonts. 

Start by finding inspiration. Sketch up some quick thumbnails. Then create a layout in Illustrator using Adobe Typekit fonts. Refine your design first in Illustrator. Then create and apply texture and finishing touches in Photoshop.

Pinterest Boards:

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Meet Your Teacher

Ray's extensive background in the surf apparel industry started in 2002. Since then he has designed for many of the top surf apparel brands in California and Hawaii, such as O'Neill, Billabong, Rip Curl, Ocean Pacific, BodyGlove, and Local Motion. He is the founder of TheVectorLab, a website that offers graphic design resources, tools, and tutorials. As a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and Florida State University his experience is backed by a mix of business and design knowledge.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Fast Font Mods Introduction: I design T-shirt graphics for surf apparel companies, outdoor brands and fishing brands. My name is Ray Dombroski and I also run a business called The Vector Lab. It sells textures, templates, and time saving tools to graphic designers. This class is called Fast Font Mods, and I'm going to show you my quick methods for creating custom type and lettering, based on just regular fonts. I'm starting a new T-shirt brand and I'll show you the steps involved in creating a typefaces logo for it. You can follow along and create custom type for your own T-shirts, brand, or projects. Thanks for watching. 2. Tools and Materials: For this class, my tools' materials list is actually pretty short. It's a Macintosh, I have a iMac and I'm running Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Illustrator CC. I'm going to be going back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop. The other thing with Adobe is, because I had a CC membership, I also have access to Typekit, which gives you access to a ton of fonts, it's really convenient and really fast. Another tool that I use a lot are Field Notes. I like these new ones, are a little bit over-sized compared to the old ones. I use a black Muji pen, just makes a really nice fine line and it's good for sketching. The last tool is a smart phone with a camera, I have an iPhone. Basically, we need that to take photos of our little thumbnail sketches, and also take photos of textures. I'll get into that in just a minute. 3. Pinterest: If you've ever taken any of my other classes, you know that I like to start out on Pinterest. This is where I gather inspiration over time. If I ever see anything on the web that I think is interesting, I'll pin it to a board. I have a bunch of different boards, the main ones are graphic design inspiration, type and lettering and T's. This is where I pin different inspiration images that I really like so here's graphic design inspiration. There's just thousands and thousands of ideas on there. If you're stuck, it'll give you some place to go to like launch off of. Let's go back and what I've already done is I've curated what I was thinking for this class. I just have a select number of pins here, so I'll go through these and tell you what I was thinking. First of all, here is scripted letter type and it looks like it's probably a vintage. You never know these days with Photoshop people can make things look old pretty easily. But there's a few reasons I really like this and let me zoom in a little bit so you can see it a little better. The one thing you'll notice is some areas have filled in with the printing, like this little open area and R, the other thing you'll notice is where the letters connect isn't a sharp point. It's kind of a little bit of a radius to this. This is due to probably a few things, it may be due to the tooling. If they used a milling machine to engrave these letters for printing, that milling machine bit has a radius so it can only get so tight. The other thing is, it's called ink gain and that's when you print depending on the material, the ink will spread out a little bit. It'll maybe fill in these little areas and it'll soften up some of these radius. It gives less of a computer look if you can achieve that with your designs. Let's go back here. This is Herb Lubalin, I used to call him Herb Lubalin because I didn't know, but I think his name is Herb Lubalin and I don't think we're going to pull anything directly off it's reference, but it's just my all time favorite piece of type, I just love it. If you can find things like that, just make sure to keep them so you can go back and look at them. This one is probably really hard for you to see, but I like this brush script font here. I think I actually know what font that is, so we might end up using something like that, but we'll also change it. It's not going to look like we're just knocking off this guy's design. Here is something this looks to be true vintage, probably awesome product packaging. Again, you'll notice where the letter connections are. There's a radius to it. This is pretty cool, this may be actually a modern day, somebody just painted it on this old truck. I don't know if this is actually true vintage, but I do like the type going through the swash under fern down there. Let's see, chillll. I think this is obviously modern day design. Again, the connections between the letters are all rounded out, looks pretty awesome. Duxbak again. This is a real vintage of a magazine. There's a couple of cool things going on here. The Utica Corp, where it overlaps the main type, the letter, the colors flip out so it goes from black to white. Also, the trademark type inside this swash under the type. This thing is awesome. Probably not gonna do anything like it, but looks like a black letter style font. Again, the letter connections are all rounded out. This is very precise type, there's not any rough edge to it, but looks pretty cool. Here's nice design, you may have seen this one before. I don't know, it tends to come up a lot like on my Pinterest page. The one thing you'll notice is there's texture inside the type. You see a lot of that these days, but I think it's still a pretty valid technique now. The reason people started emulating this style is because it looks like an old ink stamp or just like a bad, imperfect printing job. This kind of texture is actually really good for t-shirt design. Any texture is actually good for t-shirt design because it breaks up like the really solid areas and when you can do that, it'll give you just less ink on your shirt. It'll be more of a soft print, so texture is always good. Here's another example of that texture, same thing. I really like this Mexicana type right here. It's probably actually more of like a high-contrast typeface and the thinned areas have been thinned out so much they actually disappear, but it's still very readable, so I love that. Dues Ex Machina, they always have really cool stuff. Again, that looks like that same font. I may try to incorporate something similar. Obviously, we're going to change it. The reason I like this as a whole piece is the script obviously is like a brush script, a hand painted look. The san-serif lettering itself actually looks a little bit imperfect. Maybe they laid it up in illustrator perfectly with some perfectly done font. Then they hand drew over it, I'm not sure, but it has a little bit of imperfection and it matches the script. As a composition, it looks really nice. The reason I like this is that swash under the script. It just looks really cool and vintage and will probably be a style that sticks around forever. If you want to check any of these out or my other pin boards on Pinterest, I'll leave links and you can follow those, and you can see all the things I've pinned and hopefully they inspire you, and hopefully, you can find your own things that inspire you and incorporate that into your work as well. 4. Sketch your Idea: So when I was coming up with the ideas for this brand, I made a bunch of little sketches in my sketchbook, and then after doing that Pinterest exploration, I wanted a main logo, at least to start for this t-shirt brand. It's right here. That is what we are going to go for. Let us go ahead and jump into Adobe Illustrator and start laying up this design. 5. Typekit and Illustrator: In Illustrator, let's create a new document. Just go file new, and it doesn't really matter what size your document is. I typically start at 4,000 by 4,000. I do a lot of t-shirts. So if you think about a t-shirt at 300 dots per inch, that's a little over 13 inches wide, so it doesn't really matter, but that's how I like to start. The other thing is, I pretty much always work in RGB mode. Now we have a blank document. The one thing I want to do is let's AirDrop that little sketch, and just AirDrop it straight to my Mac. It'll show up here in my downloads. The other nice thing is in Illustrator CC Now you can crop images. So we'll just crop out, what we don't need. It's a handy thing before you had to like go into Photoshop and do it and place it back in. So that cuts out a little bit of that extra work, and we'll move it off to the side here off the art board. Now, the next thing we want to do, let's just go ahead and type up Mas Bueno. Now I've made my art board so big that, regular 12 point font, you can't even see it. Let's skill away up here. I already know that I want to decrease the letting. That's a little better. It's a good starting place. Now let's make a couple of copies of these. Let's go ahead and go into Typekit, and let's try to find some nice fonts. So add fonts from Adobe Typekit. First of all, let's look for the main script, if you go over here to classifications, you find script, just click on that and it automatically curates down to just Script typefaces. I do like this Edwin script, but that's probably not the one we're going to use. Like I said, I think I recognize that brush Script font that was used in a couple of the images. Let's click around and see if we can just find that nice brush Script font. There it is, corner store. I think that's exactly that same font that was used on a couple of those t-shirts that I showed you on the Pinterest section. Yeah. That looks pretty cool. I'm already seeing things that I don't like about this font. But it does look a lot like what I had imagined in my head, and roughly what I sketched. So let's go ahead and sync that. Now the other thing is we need to find that secondary typeface. Let's go back. The other word we're going to use is brand. Let's go ahead and type that. What I want to do here is I want the font to be something a little bit distinctive or unique. Let's go ahead and click on decorative. This gives us all the neat little quirky looking fonts. I'm just going to click around till I see something that catches my eye. Okay, here's one I think I like. This nebulous. Now, the cool thing about this is if you remember that piece that I showed you where that a small spaces between the letters were filling in with ink. That could be a problem with this font actually, but I do like the look of it, and I have some ideas on how we can open up those little areas and tweak this font. Let's go ahead and sync that one too. Yeah, exceeding my limit, but I bet they'll still work, so let's go back into Illustrator. 6. Layout and Illustrator: Let's type out Brand and let's see here. Let's do that script which was CornerStore. That thing looks pretty awesome. Now, you notice I put the lettering a little too close here and the M and the B are overlapping at the moment. But I can already tell this font is going to work. For the brand type Neplus, that looks awesome. Let's go ahead and start our layout. Let's just get started on this thing. I'll leave a live copy of the type up here and with the script down here. I'll Zoom in a little bit. Let's go ahead and convert this to outline. There's a couple of ways to turn type into outlines. One is Object, Expand and then click "OK". The other one is Type, Create Outlines, either way works. Let's go in here and let me just double-click to isolate that and just paste it back in there. Now, I'm going to move the mouse over a little bit so that it doesn't overlap. Now, there's a few things right off the bat that I don't like about this font. There's this little brush tail right here in the a, not super keen on that. It looks good, but just not what I'm going for. Let's zoom in here. You'll see there's a little wobble right there. Let's add in. I'm just clicking the Option key to switch between adding points and subtracting points. Let's subtract that point and we'll just drag this handle just to get things nice and smooth in there. The other thing I don't really like is how close this s is. I almost want to see this upstroke of the s move over to the left a little bit. Let's select this s. With editing fonts, I like to use this knife tool and just cut pieces. Let's go ahead, cut that, cut that and now we've sliced off a little piece. I just want to see this come over this way a little bit, but we can do that with a stroke as well. Let's go ahead and just drag a little piece over there and let's scale that up. I probably want this upstroke piece to be the same width as the original. It looks about right. Let's get rid of that original piece. Before we get into messing with this, let's go ahead and smooth out where we chopped things. We're going to get rid of a couple of these points and I'm going to drag this handle, so you get a nice back to normal. Let's add a point here, let's get rid of that one and just drag that. That looks pretty good. It doesn't look like an s anymore, so let's get the stroke back in there. Maybe if it was more of an s curve. I think I'm liking that a little bit better. The guy who designed this type is probably shaking his head right now, but that's okay. I think that looks pretty good. The other thing I want to do is let's get rid of this little kink at the top of the e, which again is totally cool, but I'm just not into it, so I'll do the same style editing we did before. Let's get rid of this little finishing stroke on the o here. Let's get rid of points and I'm just dragging that handle so everything will be nice and smooth. Let's also get rid of this part of that stroke. i think that's starting to look really good. Now, the other thing I like to do with Type is, it probably has a lot to do with me working in the surf paddling industry before is, I like to do what's called Lockups. Lockups are when you lock-up Type with shapes. If I were to put a hexagon around this, or a circle, or an oval, or some weird ellipse, or trapezoid, but I'm just going to put a circle around it. We start to get a composition when we do that, so change it to a Stroke. Change that stroke way until it looks pretty good. I think that's looking pretty good. I want to nestle in there just a little bit and remember the other thing we want is that swatch below, so we need to leave room for that. What I'm going do, I'm going send that to the back and let's just change it to a light gray. We can still see it, but it doesn't really interfere with editing of anything else. Let's go to our Color, let's go HSB, Hue Saturation, black, I think. Let's just turn that black, like that so we can still see it. Let's go ahead and go Command to lock that, so now if we try to select it, it's out of the way. I still feel like pulling this point right there, I think that looks good. The other thing I'm thinking about is Mas in Espagnol, the A has an accent. Here's the other thing too. If, let's say we didn't like this S, especially paid for a really good font, there's a chance there's a glyph like an alternate version, especially with accent in characters. Sometimes you can get those glyphs built-in, and I have a glyphs window open here, that's window type glyphs, if you don't have it open. Let's go ahead and look, and sure enough they have accented characters. Oh, there it is. We have this A highlighted, let's double-click on this accented A, there we go. I don't want to go back in and do what I just did again, let's go object expand, and that's converted to outlines, double-click on it and just go Command X, get rid of this stuff, Command V, and let's just figure out where it is located on that A, double-click on this to isolate it, and let's just get rid of A, but the accent is still there, that looks great. The other thing I want to do is, if you look at this sketch, our capital letters are quite a bit bigger. I think maybe it'll be cool to increase the height of our capital letters. The other thing I want to do first, let's go ahead and draw in that swash. I'm just going to start over here, and I'm holding down my Shift key, if I want a completely horizontal line, and it'll help me achieve that, and it also locks it onto a horizontal axis. I don't know how I'm going to connect this O, just yet let's go ahead and just end this thing, chop it off and then we'll figure it out later, our brand will fit in there, and actually that's going to look better than that. Let's go ahead and convert this to fill and we can get a little bit better idea on it. We can put our brand in here, start looking at that. Let's make sure I bring that to the front, change it to white. Let's change that tracking, let's really space, the word brand apart, maybe even 300. Let's figure out how this O is going to work. I think that's starting to look pretty good. Lets go ahead and convert this stroked outlines, object expand, and then we can play with the weight a little bit. I'm liking that, let's take this piece just to get a smooth connection and this piece and open up your pathfinder and just click merge. Now, it merges these two pieces. Now, if you zoom in really close, you'll notice we didn't line it up very good. Let's go ahead to add an anchor point here, below it and above it, and on this side above it, and below it, and let's just go ahead and get rid of those pieces, you can see there's a little bit of a kink right there still, pull out our anchor points. That is starting to look pretty nice, let's go back to these capital letters, lets just grab parts of this, do that to it, and you have to go in here and pull some of these handles around to compensate. The other thing with this B, I want to disconnect where these two brushstrokes connect. Let's go into this B and do a little surgery with a knife tool so we can slice that. Let's also slice these apart, essentially what I'm doing now is I've sped up the process so you don't have to watch it in slow motion. But I'm doing what I did before, chopping things up so I can move things around, and get everything in the right place with the right proportions, and then I go back and fix all the points and smooth out all the curves. Now we're talking. This is looking pretty good. The next thing I want to do is, let's use our scissors tool and chop off some of these parts, and get rid of these areas of overlap, because the type will hold that circle together where that overlap is happening. The other thing I want to do is let's change this back to black, and will also put rounded in caps on that so the edges a little bit rounded. The other thing is if you think about this type, it was drawn in like a hand-drawn Brush Script, the problem with this circle is it's a little too perfect. What we can do in Illustrator is, go grab this tool, It's called the width tool, and now we can go in and we can actually thin out or thicken up parts of this, let's say one of that part to be a little bit thicker, and I can thin out these parts, and that just adds a little bit of imperfection to it. You're not going to get quite as computery look. Thicken that part, thin out that part. The next thing we want to do is let's go into Photoshop and use that to modify this type as well. 7. Editing Type in Photoshop: Okay, before we go into Photoshop, I'm still an Illustrator here, let's go ahead and select all of this and go command C, and we'll go into Photoshop, and let's go file new. For this, let's just go 4000 by 4000 pixels at 300 dots per inch, which should be high enough resolution for most printing. Let's make sure the color mode is RGB, and let's click Okay. Let's paste in our design. You know there's one more thing. I think the accent on that a little too big for my liking. So let's go in here. This is the cool thing about editing type is you can just be really nitpicky and get it exactly how you want it. Yeah, that looks cool. Go ahead and select that again. Command C, Command V, Click return. Let's hide the old version. Remember we talked about, in a script font, those letter connections rounding out. When you have a font and you type it out, it's really hard for the type designer actually to make those surrounded connections and that's just because each letter is an individual letter. So there's no way to really predict how. I mean, that would be crazy, I guess you could probably do if you had enough glyphs and had separate letter combinations for every single letter. But a little too much to ask, I think of a font designer. The other thing I want to do is I actually want to thin out this script a little bit. I like the weight of the circle, so I don't want to change that. Let's also get this brand on its own separate layer. Let's just get a rectangle selection of that go Command C and I'm just going to actually fill in Shift F5. Going to fill in black, and then go Command Shift V to paste that brand into a new layer, and I'm just going to leave it as is at the moment. Let's select out this circle because I'm not going to mess with that too much. Command X, Command Shift V. Now we have the brand in a layer, we have the circle in a layer and we have Mas Bueno in a layer. Next thing is, we're just going to use the blur function. We do need the Mas Bueno type flattened onto white. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to go command A, command shift C, that's a copy merged. So when I go Command V, it's going to paste it with the white background in there. Let's just go ahead and hide that previous layer. So let's go; filter, blur, gaussian blur, and you're just going to blur it. I don't know. You probably just going to have to try this a few times back and forth to see what works. If you overdo it, you're going to lose everything. If you under do it, it's not going to be much of a change. So for this type, I think my gut is telling me I like 12 pixels, click Okay. Now we're going to go; image, adjustments, threshold, and that takes everything back to just a straight black and white, and you'll notice already these little intersections between the letters are rounded. So we're already achieving what we set out to. Now, if I move the slider to the right it gets really thick and if we move it below that default threshold level of 128, it thins it out, and I want to thin it out just to have something a little different, and it's not going to look quite as much like the base typeface that we started with. So yeah, that's looking really good. Now, let's go back and turn on the visibility of that brand. Now, obviously it doesn't look good at all because you have this rounded script, and then he got this real slabby Serif font and that needs to be rounded out. So let's go ahead and blur out that brand as well. Filter, blur, gaussian blur, maybe a little less on that. Let's go to like 10 and now let's turn back on that Mas Bueno script so we can see it, and in the layer for brand let's go; image, adjustments, threshold, and you can see it that default 128, we lose all those middle pieces. There's little doughnut holes. Let's slide this to the right and that's looking really cool. Let's go ahead and click okay to apply it and that's pretty much it in Photoshop. So you could just save this out and that's your file, but what I want to do is I want to add some texture and I'll show you how to do that next. 8. Finding Textures: The easiest way to make your own textures is with a smartphone, and there's a few rules that are good to stick by. That way you'll save yourself a little bit extra work in the long run. The main thing is go outside and look for things like concrete wood, cracked paint, and the other thing is it's better to take the photos in shade or on an overcast day. That way you don't get any cast shadows interfering with your texture. Other than that, the main thing is you want to keep your camera parallel to the surface of the texture that you're taking a photograph of, because you don't really want any perspective in your texture in general. 9. Applying Texture in Photoshop: I'm going to AirDrop that photo I just took to my Mac and then open it up in Photoshop. Now, really we only need this texture to be around 4,000 by 4,000 pixels. Let's see. It's not even that big, but it doesn't matter. Let's go ahead and scale it up to 4,000 pixels wide and the next thing we want to do is let's look in our channels to see which channel kind of has the right amount of contrast. This is mainly just a judgment call on your part. I like the red channel. Let's go Command A, Command C, click back on RGB, and paste in that channel. Let's go to the Photoshop built-in stamped filter. Filter, Filter gallery and let's zoom out to fit on screen. We can adjust these sliders over, I had my light-dark balance at one and if I turn down the smoothness, there's a lot more texture. If I turn it up. It gets lost a little too much, so think around seven, looks pretty good. let's click Okay and I want to get rid of some of these bigger clumps of the texture. Let's just go ahead and use our Clone Tool and sample something nearby. I'll just paint over a couple of these. I don't mind these horizontal lines, but I think maybe they get a little bit distracting. Let's just break those up a little bit. Now, the other thing we want to do is let's blur this out a little bit to just get rid of some of these little gray pixels in the super small parts of the texture. The filter blur, Gaussian blur and we're actually going to blur this a lot less than what we blurred the type. Let's make it, I don't know, say 2.1 pixels. Let's go image adjustments threshold, and that's going to turn everything to a pure black or white. I think for this texture about 120 looks pretty good. In CC right now I think this image is a little bit too big to make a brush. Let's go image canvas size pixels and will crop down the height to 4,000 pixels. Click Okay and click Proceed. Lets go to Edit, Define Brush Preset, and we'll call this Mas-Bueno texture. Click Okay. Now you can see this makes a brush. We can go back into our type. The next thing I want to do is let's get everything on one layer and let's get everything just black separated from the white background. In this case, the easiest way to do that is just go click on your channels and then Command click on your RGB channel. Go back to your layers, make a new layer, select inverse, and then edit, fill, and just fill that with black. Now I can turn off these other layers. If I turn off the back on white, you'll see now that type is all isolated, so looks really good. Turn back on the white so you can see a little better. Here's how we're going to apply the texture. Let's go ahead and go Layer, Layer Mask, reveal all, that adds a layer mask. Now we can paint that texture into that layer mask and it'll knock transparency through our Mas-Bueno design. Let's go ahead and go select, Load Selection. Then we don't want layer six mask, we want layer six transparency. It's going to select the areas where the type is. But now what we want to do is go select, modify, contract. Let's try 12 pixels. Now we just have kind of the insides of this type selected and there's going to be a little stroke left over after we add in our texture. Let's go to our brushes. If you're not seeing your brush, it's probably just because it's bigger than the art board so you can scale it down. If you're still not seeing your cursor, makes sure your caps lock is off. Scale it up to the proper size and I'm just going to click and we're painting black into this layer mask. Make sure this layer mask is highlighted and then just do one little click and that knocks a transparency through your design. I think this will look a little bit better if we contract that selection actually a little bit more. I'll just undo that and go back to select, modify, contract. Let's go another four pixels on top of that. See how that looks. I think that looks really good. Let's do one more thing to test it and let's put an Adjustment Layer, Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Invert. Just to see what this looks like flipped out. I think that looks really good. That's pretty much our design. 10. Conclusion: If you took this class on Skillshare, be sure to post your own project. That way, you can get some visibility for it. If you liked this class, I have some other full-length workshops and tutorials on Skillshare, as well as and That's it. Thanks for watching.