Type on a Path in Illustrator

Place your text in a circle or any other non-line path

Type-on-a-path tools follow the edge of an open or a closed path. The interesting aspect of this feature is the outline of the shape is used as the baseline for the text. The baseline is the invisible line on which characters sit. While the baseline may differ from typeface to typeface, it is consistent within a typeface. Rounded letters such as "e" may extend slightly below the baseline. The only character in the alphabet that sits squarely on the baseline is the "x".

It's easy to add text to a circle in Illustrator. You just draw a circle, choose the Path Text Tool, click the circle and type. The tricky (and infuriating) part comes when you want to add two different phrases and have one right side up at the top of the circle and one right side up at the bottom of the circle.

We've used Illustrator CC 2017 but you can use any modern version given that this feature has been long-established in Illustrator.

Draw the Circle and Choose the Path Text Tool

The circle is drawn and the Type On Path Tool is selected.

Draw a circle with the ellipse tool by holding down the shift key as you draw. It really doesn't matter what color the stroke or fill is because as soon as you click with the text tool, fill and stroke both disappear.

If you wish to draw a perfect circle outwards from the center use the ​Option/Alt-Shift keys.

Choose the Type on a Path Tool on the text tool pop down.

Position the Cursor

The cursor is placed at the top of the circle and the Paragrah panel showing Align Center is open.

Open the Type panel and select Paragraph (Window > Type > Paragraph). Alternatively, click the Align Center button in the Panel Options. This step will set the justification to center.

Click on the top center of the circle. A flashing input cursor will appear at the top of the circle. When you enter the text, it will be center-aligned as you type.

Add The Text

The Text is entereed and formatted using the open Character panel.

With the Type panel open ​click the Character tab. Choose a font and size and enter the text for the top of the circle. The text will run along the top of the circle. Keep in mind the stroke on the shape is being used as the Baseline for the text.

Duplicate the Circle

The paste In Front Command is shown as is the renamed Front layer
Use Paste in front to place a copied object in deade register with the object copied.

Switch to the Direct Selection tool, click once on the circle and copy it to the clipboard.

To have the object pasted in front of the current object, select Edit > Copy in Front to paste the copy directly in front of the old one. It will look the same (except the text appears heavier) since the new one is pasted on top of the original.

In order to make things simple, open the Layers panel and rename one of the layers to indicate it is the front copy.

Flipping Text Using the Type on a Path Options Dialog Box

The Type on a path options dialog box is shown and the text has been flipped.

Before flipping the text, open the Layers panel and turn off the visibility of the bottom layer. Switch to the Type Tool, select the text and enter the new text.

Select Type > Type on a Path > Type on a Path Options. This will open the Path Options dialog box. Choose Rainbow for the Effect, and for Align to Path, choose Ascender. The Ascender is the highest part of the lettering and will place the text outside the circle.

Check the Flip box, and check Preview so you can see how it will look. Spacing can also be adjusted here. Click OK.

The Rainbow option does not distort the text.

Rotate the Text to the Bottom of the Circle

The text is changed and rotated to the bottom of the circle.

Click away from the text to deselect it and choose the Selection Tool in the toolbox. You should see a handle at the top of the shape and two handles at the bottom.

The top handle will move the text along the path as you drag it but, depending on how you drag the handle the text may move inside the circle. If you roll the cursor over this handle it will switch to a Rotate cursor. The two handles at the bottom are the ones you should use. They rotate the object, instead of moving the text. When finished turn on the visibility of the hidden layer.

Add an Illustration

The completed exercise with graphic is shown.

Drag a relevant symbol from the Symbols palette, and drag to resize it to fit the circle, and you're done. (If you have more time, you can draw your own logo art.)