How to create unusually shaped text boxes?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by nicrose, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. nicrose macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Hi I was wondering if it's possible to create a text box shaped like something other than a square, rectangle, or even a circle.
    I know how to do a circle and rounded square in Quark. But can you do a slanted rectangle? Or a shape, such as a fish? Then put text inside the text box. Not around the edges. Inside it. Fill it with text.
    Also, is this even a good idea in terms of design? I know it looks pretty and I've seen it done in the art mags, but in terms of things like brochures, and other marketing materials, is it a good idea in you guys' and gals' opinions? Is it feasible to do it? Can you do it and still communicate a message properly without it being hard to read?
    I know you can put text inside a path in Illustrator CS. I've tried it using a fish shape-it's so cool. And the tighter the kerning, the more clear the shape gets. Of course the text is difficult to read, but it's cool as a background. But can you do it in a layout app like Quark? I see the San Francisco Chronicle using slanted text boxes in their Datebook layouts, so I figured there's got to be a way to do it in Quark or Illustrator. Specifically want to know how to make a slanted text box in Illustrator and Quark. Esp. Quark. Sorry for rambling.
    THank you.

  2. dllavaneras macrumors 68000


    Feb 12, 2005
    Caracas, Venezuela
    I've done that in InDesign (a long time ago, so I don't remember the exact commands) and in Word. Take a text box, fill it with text and then edit the contours of the box. It's something like "borders". It lets you manipulate the edges of the text box and skew, stretch, etc. In word it's under the text box placing (square, in line with text, etc)
  3. dopey220 macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2006
    In illustrator, just make the "box" with the pen tool and type in it. Not sure about Quark, but I would think it works relatively the same way.
  4. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Quark allows you to draw a box in any shape you want, similar to Illustrator, or you can use the merge/intersection tools to chop up/build up boxes into any shapes you want, just like Illustrator.
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Yep, use the pen tool or carve away as decksnap suggested, but just to add to that, make sure you've got the Edit Shape option off if you ever need to resize it but still keep its shape and proportions.

    Menu: Item>Edit>Shape (Shift-F4)

    As to whether it looks good, it can look awful if overused and solely for effect, rather than integrating with the entire layout. Using tracking alone is not the ideal way to control the type within the box and the shape it creates; rather, creating custom H&Js (word spacing and hyphenation) to avoid rivers and give a cleaner shape is the way to go.

    Also, if the shape has separate high points — say similar to an 'H', then getting text to behave within it can be tricky and may need a lot of messing with.
  6. nicrose thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Doesn't work

    I tried using pen tool in Quark to create a shape for the text to go in. The problem is that after i'm done creating the shape, and I select the text tool, and click in the shape, the cursor goes on the edge of the shape, rather than inside the shape. The text can only go around the contours of the shape, instead of inside the shape like I want it. It seems like there is no way to get the text inside. Any suggestions?
    THanks, Blue Velvet, for your opinion on looks.

  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Use this tool to create these types of boxes. The one at the end if you want to draw freeform shapes.

    You can also use the picture box pen tool and convert it to a text box but for now, let's keep things straightforward.

    Attached Files:

  8. nicrose thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2006

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