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Create a Swirly Type Treatment

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Read Time: 5 min
This post is part of a series called Vector Text Effects.
How to Create a Magnified Text Illustration
Create a Vibrant 3D Pixel Type Treatment

In this Illustrator tutorial I will show you how to create a swirly type treatment. With a free font, some brushes, and gradients you can easily create this type treatment. Moreover, you can apply these techniques to other type treatments, logos, and illustrations as well.

Final Image

Below is the final type treatment we will be working towards. 

Final ImageFinal ImageFinal Image

Step 1

Download the Anivers Font and install it on your system.

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Step 2

Create a new document and type some text. Apply the Anivers font to your text.

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Step 3

In my example, I have two lines of text. To visually distinguish the main part of the text from the tag line, play with the tracking and caps. For the tag line in my example, I changed the font to All Caps, changed the Tracking to 400, and changed the font size, all from the Character Panel.

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Step 4

With the text selected, outline the text by going to Type > Create Outlines.

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Step 5

Next, we are going to add a simple element to the text. We are going to create a stylized spoon to go with the "Spoonfed Vectors" tagline. You can recreate this spoon or create you own element with the brush we are going to create. Before that, select the main text and Ungroup (Command + Shift + G) the text by going to Object > Ungroup.

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Step 6

In this example, we are going to delete the O. If you are using different text, choose which letter you want to delete and be replaced with an element.

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Step 7

Now we can make the Art Brush we will be using to create the spoon. Start by Drawing a 40 px by 40 px ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L). Fill the ellipse with black and no stroke. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the right anchor point and drag it to the right - doubling its length. With the point still selected, the Control Panel defaults to the Anchor Options. To the left of the Control Panel, press the Corner button, converting the anchor point to a corner.

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Step 8

With the new shapes selected, drag it into the Brush Panel, and Choose New Art Brush from the New Brush dialog. When the Art Brush dialog appears, change the Colorization Method to Tints from the bottom of the dialog.

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Step 9

With the Spiral Tool click on the artboard to bring up the Spiral dialog. In the dialog, change the Radius to 40 px (this size might change later when you scale the spoon shape to fit the empty letter area), Decay to 80, Segments to 8, and check the second Style option.

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Step 10

Place the spiral shape where you deleted the letter. Rotate and scale the shape until it fits in the space.

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Step 11

Apply your brush to the path by selecting it in the Brush Panel. You might have to change the Stroke Weight from the Stroke Panel if the stroke is too thick.

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Step 12

Create four more paths with the Pen Tool (P). Make one path for the handle of the spoon and three smaller paths above the spoon.

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Step 13

Select these paths and apply your custom brush. Adjust the stroke if needed.

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Step 14

Select the spiral, handle, and sprite paths that you applied the brush to, then go to Object > Expand Appearance to outline the brush stroke. Next, it's good practice to clean up the leftover paths by going to Object > Path > Clean Up.

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Step 15

We have created the type treatment and now it's time add some color to it, but first let's add a background. Create a rectangle the size of your document and fill it with a Radial Gradient from the Gradient Panel. Change the first swatch to a 90% black and the second swatch a 100% black.

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Step 16

Fill your type treatment with white and place it in the center of your document over the gradient rectangle.

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Step 17

Select the main text and fill it with a Linear Gradient. Change the first swatch to white and the second swatch to a 30% black. Next, Use the Gradient Tool (G) and click and drag from the middle of the main type to the bottom, making the lightest part of the gradient at the top of the type.

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Step 18

Select the tag line and fill it with a 30% black.

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Step 19

Select all of the spoon elements and fill it with a Linear Gradient. Change the first swatch to a light cyan color and the second swatch to a cyan color. Use the Gradient Tool (G) and adjust the gradient by clicking and dragging at the top of the elements down to where the handle starts.

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Step 20

Select all the text and spoon elements and Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Back (Command + B). Change the fill of the copied elements to black.

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Step 21

With your arrow keys move the copy down and to the left slight. Next, set the copy to Multiply and change the Opacity to 40 from the Transparency Panel.

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Step 22

At this point the treatment is looking pretty good. You can even stop here if you'd like, but I will show you how to add a little more movement to the type treatment. For these next steps I use the Brush Tool (B), but you can easily use the Pen Tool (P) if you wish. Start by creating a flowing line over you text. Adjust the Stroke Weight to your liking.

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Step 23

Add some leaf like strokes around the outside of the stroke you just created. The Stroke Weight for these is going to be smaller than the main stroke.

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Step 24

Continue creating brush strokes like in the previous steps.

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Step 25

Select all you swirly elements and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Clean Up the paths like you did before and send the shapes behind the type treatment artwork.

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Step 26

Fill the elements with a Radial Gradient with the first swatch a 85% black and the second swatch black. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to click in the middle of the document, then drag to the top of the document, making the lighter color in the center and the darker color blend into the background.

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Final Image

That's it! Wasn't that easy? Below is the final image again. Now try applying these techniques to other type treatments and illustrations.

Final ImageFinal ImageFinal Image
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