If you know me at all, you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE football. I was watching a game last night and saw a design on the shirts of some of the coaching staff. The team name had graduated horizontal spaces running through the team name.
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Here’s the look I’m talking about:
It’s a design you can easily create in just a few steps.
Step 1: Add the text to the page
Start by typing out a word in any font you like. I’ve used one from the Silhouette Design Store by Lori Whitlock called Coach.
Your word will be easier to read if you use all caps and if the font has a fairly thick width on the letter parts.
As always, I recommend working with all parts of the design filled with color.
Step 2: Weld any overlapping letters
If you are using a script font, you don’t want to use all caps because that looks funny. I still prefer a font with thick stems to the letters, but you can play around with different looks. I used Malisa by Genesislab in the Silhouette Design Store.
You will need to weld your letters at this point. Normally, I prefer to use Cut Edge or AutoWeld instead of Weld so that the text remains editable instead of becoming an image. But for this technique, you have to weld.
HINT: Make a copy of your text box before you weld. If you have to start over or come back to the design at a future time, you’ll know the font and size.
There will likely be some parts of the word that don’t overlap, such as the dot on the letter “i” or the uppercase “T.” When you weld, those are separate from the connected letters. So grab everything and make it into a single compound path.
Step 3: Draw a long, thin rectangle
Using your drawing tools, create a long, thin rectangle horizontally across the word. You’ll want it to extend quite a bit beyond the ends of the text. Make it the height you want the largest amount of space to be. The taller your word, then taller the rectangle should be. Fill it with a different color than the words.
HINT: If you adjust the transparency to around 35%, you can see through the rectangle to the words.
Move your rectangle to the location where you want the horizontal spaces to begin top to bottom. The best place is typically at or slightly above the middle of the word.
Step 4: Duplicate the rectangle
Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD + ↓ to make a duplicate of the rectangle directly below the original. The new rectangle becomes the selected piece, so you can just keep using that keyboard shortcut. Do it until the bottom of your text is just covered by the bottom edge of the lowest rectangle.
Step 5: Alter the size of the rectangles
If your rectangles go too far past the bottom of your words, select them all and use the resizing box at the bottom of the bounding box to adjust the heights all at once. Or, adjust the size and location of the word.
Here’s the cool trick. Using the Scale option of the Transform panel, you can adjust the size of each rectangle by a set percentage.
We’ll work from the bottom and go up. The lowest rectangle is the one you leave in place at full size. Select the second rectangle up. Choose an option like 90%. That makes that rectangle 90% of the size of the original. The great thing is that it takes the same amount off both the top and bottom. In other words, all the sides shrink in by the same amount, as if you were doing an internal offset. That means the spaces between rectangles 1-2 and 2-3 are exactly the same. The spacing is perfect.
Leave those 2 rectangles where they are. Select #3 and set the percentage at twice the amount of the percentage you used before. So in my example, I had a 10% difference in rectangles 1 and 2. That means for #3 I want to set it at 80% of the original. You can see now that the space between #2 and #3 is exactly twice as large as the space between #1 and #2.
Keep going like that for all the rectangles, decreasing the percentage by the same amount each time. Notice how the amount of space is increasing as we go up from the bottom.
Step 6: Check the width of your rectangles
There’s a good chance that your upper rectangles are now too sort side to side (see my “S”?). That’s not a problem. Just select all your rectangles and adjust the width only by using the resizing box at the left or right side of the bounding.
Step 7: Subtract to create the graduated horizontal spaces
If your word is what you created first, it should still be at the back/bottom of your order of pieces. Double check that. Having your pieces filled with color tells you right away because you can see that the word is covered by all the rectangles.
HINT: You can fill all your rectangles with white to get an idea of how the completed design will look.
Select everything, open the Modify panel, and choose Subtract. That removes any part of the word, the lowest piece in the order, that’s behind the rectangles. Now you have those nice graduated horizontal spaces.
When you Subtract, each piece that’s not touching another piece is separate. So, before you do anything else select everything and either group it or make it all into a single compound path.
You may need to play around with where you’ve got the rectangles or how tall they are so that you can still read your word after you subtract. Don’t forget that the Undo button can be your best friend.
Variations for graduated horizontal spaces
Here’s how my script font looks with this technique.
On this one, I rotated my lines before subtracting.
Here, I put my full-sized rectangle in the middle, then made gradually smaller once both above and below it. Use an odd number of rectangles for this look. And it helps to make the percentage of change larger so that you aren’t taking out as much of the letters.
Who says you have to be limited to text? You can do this technique to create graduated horizontal spaces on shapes as well. Make sure the shape is a single compound path before you start.
So many possibilities for spiritwear! Happy Football Season!!!!