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How to Curve Text in Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

If you want to learn how to curve text in Illustrator, in this short tutorial I’ll show you how to do it in practice using two different methods. One is simple and quick, and the other is more powerful.

What You Will Learn in This Curved Text Tutorial

  • How to curve text in Adobe Illustrator
  • How to write curved text in Illustrator
  • How to bend text in Illustrator
  • How to curve text around a circle in Illustrator
  • What to do when your curved text in Illustrator is upside down
  • How to write curved text inside a ring in Illustrator

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You Will Need

If you want to recreate the end result of this tutorial exactly, please download the attachment on the right, as well as these fonts:

If you want to create a similar badge yourself, here are some useful graphic styles that I've downloaded from Envato Elements:

1. How to Curve Text in Illustrator

Step 1

Here’s an example of a design that's impossible to finish unless you know how to curve text in Illustrator—a round badge label for a product. Let’s start with the big label in the center. Take the Type Tool (T) and place the text area inside the empty label.

place text in round badge template

Step 2

Write your text and adjust its properties. Make the letters fill the widest area of the label—change the Y and W values in the upper bar if necessary.

resize text vertically
place text inside label

Step 3

Go to Effect > Warp. Here you have a list of various warp types, with names referring to the intended shape of the warped text. In our case, we need to bulge the text, so select Bulge.

add bulge effect

Step 4

A new window will open. The Bulge effect allows you to make a part of the text bigger or smaller, and this is exactly what we need! Check Preview and drag the slider to the left to make the central part of the text smaller, following the curve of the label. Click OK.

bulge the text inward
bulged text effect

2. How to Write Curved Text in Illustrator

Step 1

Now you know how to make text curve in Illustrator with one method. It’s pretty simple, but also limited to the list of shapes that the programmers prepared for us. Let me show you another, more powerful method. Let’s say we want to add some text above and below the central label, following its curve. First, you need to define the curve. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw over the curve of the top of the label.

If you need help with the Pen Tool, check this tutorial:

add a path

Step 2

Take the Move Tool (V), select the path, and move it 15 px up by removing 15 px from the Y value in the upper bar.

move the path up

Step 3

Take the Type Tool (T) again and place it over the path. When the cursor changes its appearance, click the path.

convert path into text area

Your curve has now been turned into a text area! Write your text and adjust its size.

add your text to the curve

Step 4

The text starts in a random area, but that's easy to fix. Just take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click the text. You’ll notice three vertical lines—the ones on the sides define the beginning and the end of the text area, and the one in the middle defines its position in relation to the curve. If you click and drag these lines, you’ll be able to move them to the intended place.

grab text handles
move text on the curve

Step 5

Repeat the same steps to write curved text under the label.

add curved text

3. How to Bend Text in Illustrator Around a Circle

Step 1

If you want to curve text around a circle in Illustrator, the process is very similar, except for a certain catch. Let me show you!

First, draw a circle using the Ellipse Tool (L) to define the curve. To make sure this circle is perfectly in the center of your design, you should copy one of the circles you already have and resize it.

Step 2

If you use the Type Tool (T) directly on the circle, Illustrator will turn the inside of it into the text area. That’s not exactly what we want! Instead, hold the Type Tool button to reveal the menu, and select the Type on a Path Tool. If you use it on the circle, you’ll get a nice circular text area!

change type tool
write text around a circle

4. How to Center Text Inside a Ring in Illustrator

Step 1

If you want to place the text inside a ring, it can be tricky to adjust the size of the font to center the text perfectly. But you don’t have to do that! Place your circle in the middle of the ring, and then go to Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. Here you can change the style of the warping, as well as the position of the text in relation to the curve. If you select Center in the drop-down list, your letters will always stay in the middle of the ring, regardless of their size.

center text in circle
center text inside a ring

Step 2

OK, but now the bottom part of the text is upside down. To avoid this effect, we have to use a trick. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and hold Shift to select both side anchor points of the circle.

cut circle into halves

Step 3

Then click on the scissors icon in the upper bar to cut them.

use scissors to cut anchor points

Now you have two halves of the circle, and they can be turned into separate text areas. Add your text to both of them, adjusting it accordingly.

add text to curves

Step 4

But here’s a problem. If you write the text over the bottom curve, it will be too high. If you draw it under it, it will be upside down again. To fix it, go to Type on a Path Options, and check Flip.

flip curved text
flipped text aorund a circle

Good Job!

Now you know how to curve text in Illustrator. By the way, if you want to achieve the same look for your end result, you can use this set of Straight View Logo Mockups.

how to curve text in illustrator

If you want to learn more about working in Illustrator, here are a few tutorials you may enjoy:

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