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One of the coolest aspects of Illustrator’s Text tool is its flexibility once the text is outlined. You can then edit the text just like any other Illustrator path, moving the letters around and even the lines and shapes around.

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Start out by typing a simple phrase, a company name, or a slogan. Include the ampersand in it for this example. I used the font Rosewood. Click once with the Text tool to make the first word, then click elsewhere with the Type tool and type the ampersand, then click somewhere else with the Type tool for the other word.

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With the Selection tool, click the ampersand. Click-and-drag a corner to make it bigger.

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Let’s make the text more editable for our purposes of reshaping (rather than changing the character of the font). With the Selection tool, Control-click (PC: Right-click) over each word as well as the ampersand and click Create Outlines.

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Next, with the Selection tool, Control-click (PC: Right-click) again over each word and the ampersand and click Ungroup.

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Zoom in the art to see that we can now edit the text as shapes. With the Selection tool, click-and-drag the letters to move them closer together. Click-and-drag on a corner box to resize specific letters. With the Direct Selection tool, click an Anchor point to stretch the letter or make it conform to another letter.

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Click-and-hold the Pen tool to get the Add Anchor Point tool. Click on the paths were there should be another anchor point to add one. Then use the Direct Selection tool to move it.

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In some spots, you can have one letter’s stroke adjacent to another. Be creative with how the shapes of the letters conform to the other letters.

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Now instead of a boring slogan we have various sizes and shapes for the letters, some flush with each other.

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Try adding a gradient fill. Click-and-drag with the Selection tool a box around all of shapes (or go to Select>All). Go to Window>Gradient, select colors from the Swatch (Window>Swatches), and choose a gradient to finish the look. You may also want to color specific letters differently. For this just select each letter separately, then choose a color from the Swatches palette.

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