How to scale a Character without changing its width?


I have to recreate a logo which has been made many years ago and all that is left is a tiny rasterized picture. I want to make a vector file in Illustrator. The logo contains text in, lets say 100 pt, except one char in 160 pt.

Unfortunately the larger char has the same width (stroke) as the smaller chars. Simply using 160 pt will render the char too bold compared to the other chars. Worse: It's the letter "S". Scaling doesn't help and manipulating every anchor point (after creating an outline) by hand is out of question (at least for me, the "S" looks terrible after i tried..)

I have used Illustrator before, but that's 13 years ago... Is there a trick to accomplish this?

5/29/2014 11:51:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Scaling a glyph without changing the stoke weight... nope. But there are some workarounds. Reading between the lines of your question, it sounds like you've identified the typeface and have it. Unfortunately, you haven't said what it is, but I'm going to assume it's a sans if Case 1 doesn't solve your problem.

Case 1: The logotype was created with simple Cap and Small Caps.

  • Purchase the weight you need and its Small Caps font (or get an OpenType version that already includes small caps).

  • Set the logotype using cap and real small caps. Stroke weights will match.

Case 2: The font doesn't have small caps.

  • Create your logotype as above in Illustrator. Scale the "S" as needed.

  • Convert to outlines (Ctl-Shift-O/Cmd-Shift-O).

  • Ungroup (Ctl/Cmd-Shift-G)

  • Deselect (Cmd/Ctl-Shift-A or simply click on a blank area of the canvas)

This example uses Myriad Pro, which lacks small caps (most sans serifs do):

ugly cap

  • Select the S (black arrow tool).

  • Choose Object > Path > Offset Path. Turn on Preview so you can see what's going on.

  • Here you'll have to experiment a bit. In this example, I found a 2 pixel (point) offset worked.

offset path dialog

  • In the Layers panel, twirl open your Layer 1 and click the eyeball by the lower of the two S shapes to turn it off.

fixed cap

  • Adjust the spacing (kerning) as needed. Each of your characters is now a vector outline, so you can select them individually and tweak to taste.

Case 3: Nope. It's a serif, and there are no small caps.

  • Follow the steps above. You will have to adjust the serif paths by hand, selecting individual points with the white arrow tool.
7/26/2011 5:52:00 AM