Illustrator Quick Tip: Embellish a Script Font Using the Trim Pathfinder

Illustrator Quick Tip: Embellish a Script Font Using the Trim Pathfinder

This simple technique is so fast and easy, you’re gonna love it. To transform a script font into something that looks like custom hand lettering can be a useful skill to have in your design arsenal. Let’s dive right in and see how it’s done.

First up, here’s a look at what we’ll be creating.

Step 1

Start with a good script font. I used Edwardian Script but any free script font will work as well, like English or Old Script. Once you’ve chose a script font, type out a word on a blank artboard in Illustrator.

With the word selected, click (Type | Create Outlines) then (Object | Ungroup). Now you should be able to select each letter individually as a shape.

Step 2

Take the first letter and move it away from the rest. With the letter selected, hold down the option key (or Alt key) and drag the letter to the left a few pixels. This will create a duplicate of the letter shape.

Now with both shapes selected, press the Trim button on the Pathfinder panel.

Click (Object | Ungroup) or (Cmd+Shift+G) again to separate the shapes. Now you can select the pieces and move them around to create a more ornate letter shape.

Step 3

Now repeat the previous steps for all of the letters, and place them back in order.

Now take some of the bits and pieces of these letters and place them around the word to further embellish the letter forms.

That’s it… a custom hand lettered look in minutes!

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


(+add yours)
  1. cool result!! thanks for the tutorial! :)

  2. trifilmer

    I tried it, but I did the trim mode in pathfinder, it did not change anything, like in the tutorial. Help please.

    • Hi there… Make sure you have both letter shapes selected before pressing the Trim button on the Pathfinder panel.

  3. Nice Technique guys…


  4. Looks awesome, Thanks so much for the tutorial

  5. Alvin Balemesa

    When I move the letter, there’s not white space inbetween. Just a continous black which simply makes the letter thick instead :L. What do I do?

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  7. Thank you very much., You are a good writer.
    In addition to art that will give you good
    I congratulate you

  8. I am using this simple technique from very long time and it is very successful specially in these days.

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  10. sara

    what is the name of this software ? only illustrator or is it adobe illustrator

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  12. This is such a really amazing content and i read this content amazing concept good work keep it up……

  13. Moss
  14. Mark

    This is such a really amazing content and i read this content amazing concept good work keep it up……

  15. Marki
  16. david

    Very good tutorial! Saved to bookmarks. I love it

  17. So nice to see you

  18. Very good tutorial! Saved to bookmarks. I love it

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