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Overlapping Text in Illustrator

Posted on 16th July 2018
For this tutorial, we will use the Font Myriad Pro Semibold.

1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”. Select the “Type Tool” (T), choose your font and type your text.

2 - Right-click on top of it and choose “Create Outlines”. Then, right-click again and choose “Ungroup”. Arrange your individual letters where you want to place them overlapping one and other and change their “Fill” color to White.

3 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), draw a rectangle that cover the entire Canvas and fill it with a dark color of your choice. Right-click on top of it and choose “Send to Back”, then, go to Object > Lock > Selection (Command/Control + 2).

4 - Select all your text, “Copy” (Command/Control + C), “Paste in Front” (Command/Control + F) and “Group” it together (Command/Control + G). Select the group and go to Object > Path > Offset Path, use a 2 mm “Offset” and click “OK”.

5 - Fill the resulting “Offset Path” with another color, fix the placement of your letters if you notice the offsets are overlapping. Select your first letter, right-click on top of it and choose Arrange > Bring to Front (don’t forget the “Offset Path”).

6 - Select the “Knife Tool” and while holding the “Alt/Option” Key draw straight lines cutting the portion of the letter that should go “Under” or “Over” the other letter or letters.

7 - Select the letter that overlaps with the one you just cut, bring it to the “Front”, then, select the portion of your first letter that should go on top and bring it to the “Front” (don’t forget the “Offset Path”).

8 - Repeat “Steps 6 and 7” with your other letters until you are happy with the way they overlap. If you sliced portions of your letters that then decided not to move, select them, go to the “Pathfinder Panel” and choose “Unite”. You can change the “Fill” color of your letters and make the one used in the “Offset Paths” equal to the “Background”.

9 - Select the letter portions together with their “Offset Paths”, and “Group” them (Command/Control + G). Select the portions the overlap, duplicate them and make sure the duplicates are on Top. With them selected, go to the “Pathfinder Panel” and choose “Trim”, then right-click on them and choose “Ungroup”.

10 - You can delete the portions of the “Offset Paths” since you don’t need them anymore. Repeat “Step 9” with your other letters.

11 - “Unite” the small letter portions you may still have (using the Pathfinder Panel”). Remember to delete all the unused pieces or copies of your letters. You can click on the small arrow on the left of your Layer Thumbnail to see the content better and spot the unwanted paths.

12 - Select all your letters and add a 2 Point White “Stroke” with “Round Cap and Corner”.

by @lornacane

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