University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

I Can! Typographic Poster Design

July 11: Typographic Poster Design (6:30–7:30pm, 136 CFA)

Instructor: Domenic J. Licata
Twitter: @djlicata
ubART Twitter: @ubdeptART

This class will explore the difference between the two major types of computer graphics: vector and raster.

We will combine a brief lecture and a demo of several Adobe Illustrator tools to:

  • identify terms used in graphic design, composition, and typography
  • examine how fonts and type forms are constructed
  • set and manipulate type in a personalized poster
  • output posters onto 11×17 color prints

> Keynote Presentation

Step-by-step Instructions

Follow along with the instructor through the Keynote Presentation and the below steps.

  1. Review the presentation.
  2. Download and complete the Illustrator Pen Exercise according to the verbal instructions.
  3. Selection tools:
    • Selection Tool (black arrow): picks up entire, grouped objects
    • Direct Selection Tool (white arrow): selects the points and paths that make up individual objects
  4. Pen Tool:
    • Click to place a corner (sharp angled) point
    • Click-and-drag to place a curve (smooth) point
    • Option-click on a point to convert from corner to curve
    • Command-click to change from Pen to most recently used Selection tool to move a point (direct selection tool) or an object (selection tool)
  5. In Illustrator, go the the menu File>New and choose size: Tabloid.
  6. Pickup the Type tool:
    • Click somewhere on your page and type your name.
    • Pickup the Selection tool and click once on our type. Go to the menu  Type>Create Outlines.
    • Using the Selection Tool, shift-click on one of the four corners of the box around the type, and drag to make the type larger. (If you release the shift key, the type forms will become distorted.
    • Again using the Selection Tool, click once to select the group of letters, and go to the menu Object>Ungroup. Each letter from can now easily be moved independently of the others.
    • Postion the letters of your name on the page, and experiment with changing the scale, rotation and shape of each letter
  7. Color:
    • The Fill color controls the insides of a vector object. (Can be set to none.)
    • The Stroke color controls the line around a vector object. (Can be set to none.)
    • Stroke Weight controls the width of the line around the object.
    • Double-click on either the Fill or Stroke color to open the Color Picker and select a color. If an object is already selected, it will take on the new color. Otherwise, the next object drawn will have the new color.
    • Colors can be Solid or Gradient. Gradient colors move from one hue to one or more other hues across a ramp, which can be linear or circular. Use the Gradient Panel to create or modify a gradient color.
  8. Create Shapes:
    • Pickup the Rectangle Tool and draw a shape to exactly cover the 11×17 artboard. Give it a Fill color (solid or gradient) but no Stroke.
    • Use Selection tool and click on the rectangle. Then Control-click (right-click) and from the menu that pops up choose Arrange>Send to Back.
    • With the rectangle still selected, go to menu Object>Lock>Selection.
    • Continue to draw other shapes to add to your poster.
      • Use the Pen tool to draw unique shapes, or try the Ellipse and Polygon tools.
    • Add additional text, as needed.
  9. Print your design:
    1. Go to the menu File>Print
    2. Under Media Size, choose Tabloid.
    3. The ubArt-Xerox 7835 Printer should appear in the Printer menu.
    4. Leave all settings as is, and hit the Print button.
202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
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