By Steve Bain
Many users of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite are small business owners who work within limited budgets and perhaps have limited time and resources. If you belong to this group, you may be looking for ways to avoid hiring a high-priced designer. The good news is that for most simple design projects, you don’t need to be a design or arts graduate.
With your CorelDRAW tools and a little inventiveness, you have everything you need. In the fictitious designs presented in this tutorial, shapes from symbol fonts in CorelDRAW were enhanced with artistic text, a few effects, and very little manipulation. It’s also worth noting that these designs may be created with virtually any relatively recent version of CorelDRAW!
Install Symbol Fonts
Symbol fonts are usually included as resources on your CGS discs. They include named collections ranging from Animals, Arrows, and Balloons to Sports and Hobbies, Stars, and Tools. If you’re new to using symbol fonts, you may want to try installing them so that you can use them in your CorelDRAW documents. If you are using Windows XP, follow these steps to install symbol fonts:
- From your CGS disc set, locate the disc that includes fonts, and slip it into your CD-ROM drive.
- Open Windows Explorer, and navigate to C:\WINDOWS\Fonts to view the fonts currently installed on your system.
- Choose File > Install New Font to open the Add Fonts dialog box, browse to your CD-ROM drive, and choose the Extra Fonts > Symbols folder.
- Choose either the TTF (TrueType® fonts) or Type1 (fonts compatible with Adobe® Type 1 fonts) folders. Open either folder to view the symbol fonts they contain – the selections are virtually identical and include more than 60 different symbol fonts.
- From the List of Fonts box, click to select the fonts you want to install, and click OK to add the fonts to your system.
Now that you have your symbol fonts installed, you can add the shapes as curves to your CorelDRAW drawing by dragging a selection from the Insert Character docker. To open the Insert Character docker (see below) choose Text > Insert Character (Ctrl+F11).
With the Insert Character docker open and your document page in view, locate a symbol font by browsing through the Font list. You can recognize many of the symbol fonts by their category names. Once you select a font, the preview area displays a partial list of the shapes included in the font. To copy a symbol to your document page, select the symbol, and then click the Insert button. You can also drag the symbol from the docker into your drawing. Your current outline and fill colors are applied automatically.
Use Simple Shapes and Text to Plan Your Logo
Because symbol font art is sometimes considered the lowest rung on the clipart ladder, you may not think of using it for your professional design work. So you might be surprised to learn that it can be a resource worth exploring. With a little tweaking, symbol font shapes can help you fulfill all kinds of design needs, such as the logo and poster display designs we’ll be exploring.
When planning a logo design for your business, keep in mind that creative designs usually feature a minimum of visual information. The emphasis should always be on conveying a clear message. If you limit your use of color, you can easily adapt your logo and match the colors in most layouts. Black is often the predominant design color used, with additional colors serving as visual accents.
Before you begin a design, it’s wise to have a varied collection of text fonts on hand. Just as your symbols provide color, style and tone, a well-chosen text font can enhance your design with character and personality.
The examples we’ll explore next incorporate both symbol shapes and artistic text. Many of the symbol shapes were manipulated by using shaping commands such as Trim and Weld, and by basic node editing with the Shape Tool. You’ll also notice effect tools such as the Interactive Fill, Interactive Blend, Interactive Drop Shadow, and Interactive Contour tools have been used in the design process. In many cases, the CorelDRAW PowerClip effects were used to package the shapes.
Examples of Logo Designs
Our first example (see below) is a not-so-original spoof of a popular corporate logo. A series of circular ellipses was used to create this simple two-color logo for a candy company. Shapes from the Animals 1 symbol font (symbols 093 and 0100) form the design for the decorative center.
The circular effect for the text was creating by applying artistic text to two separate ellipses (see below). The seahorse shape was not altered, but the outer contour of the shell shape was separated, and the unwanted portions were deleted.
Example 2 (see below), a logo design for a fictitious back-care clinic, was based on the shape of a torso (symbol 033) from the Animals 1 symbol font.
Subtle node adjustments were made with the Shape Tool to make the figure appear more gender-neutral. The spinal vertebrae were created by using two rectangles and a blend effect. The Trim command in CorelDRAW was used to eliminate the unwanted portions from the background and replace them with the symbol, as shown below. The Ellipse Tool was used to create the background.
Trees are often associated with growth, health, and prosperity, making this shape from the Plants font (symbol 036) a suitable candidate for our third example (see below).
This business card and logo represent an investment counseling firm. They were created from a rectangle that was sized to business card proportions (2 by 3 inches) and intended for full ink bleeds on all four sides. The tree symbol was used to trim a section of the side and bottom of the rectangle, and a duplicate of the trimmed shape was ordered below to represent the tree shadow. A PowerClip effect was used to place two simple shapes representing the earth and sky into a rectangle.
A key shape from the Transportation symbol font (symbol 061) was used to create a simple business card and logo for a made-up locksmith service (see below).
A rectangle was sized to typical business card proportions and used as the backdrop for the text. The rounded highlight effect on the key shape was created using an 8-step blend between a thick gold-colored outline of the shape and an exact copy set to a thin white outline. The drop shadow was applied to a third copy ordered at the bottom of the stack, and the entire arrangement was placed within the rectangle, creating a PowerClip object (see below).
The logo design shown below represents a landscaping business and is based on a shape from the Landscape Planning symbol font (symbol 033).
The symbol shape was duplicated and resized, the shapes were broken apart, and color was applied. The arranged parts were grouped and placed into an ellipse, creating a PowerClip object. A black duplicate was ordered below the white text and symbol shapes to provide more contrast with the background (see below).
The logo shown below was designed to promote a children’s play park. In this case, one shape from the Animals 1 symbol font (symbol 090) and one from the Plants symbol font (symbol 034) were used as focal points for the design.
The seal and ball shapes were broken apart, and only the foliage portion of the tree was used. Simple lines and rectangles were used to create the other shapes. The text features a single contour applied with an outline and drop shadow (see below).
Examples of Poster Designs
The marketing poster shown below promotes a fictitious dessert shop. The logo is a slightly altered version of the ice cream cone (symbol 063) found in the Food font.
A black rectangle was drawn over the exact right half of the cone and was filled with a two-color pattern fill. The cone itself was centered inside a black rectangle with a rectangular cutout in the center to avoid coming into contact with the Lens object. The fill colors in the rectangle are a simple two-color pattern fill applied with the Interactive Fill Tool. A second rectangle was drawn around the outside of the main rectangle to create the outer border, which serves as the path for a triangle pattern created by using a blend effect (see below).
The design for a poster advertising an event is shown below. The two beetles holding hands give the slightly humorous impression of slow-moving participants. The main shape is taken from the Animals 2 symbol font (symbol 059).
The complete shape was broken apart, reshaped, duplicated, flipped, and colored. The nodes at the end of the two bug legs were aligned to appear joined, and the arrangement was grouped and placed into the black rectangle frame to form a PowerClip object (see below).
Our last example is a poster design that advertises a musical event (see below). The design features symbol 052 from the Music font and symbol 069 from the MusicalSymbols font.
The guitar shape was broken apart into individual objects in order to apply different colors. The music note was duplicated, transformed, and filled with color. The frame, background, and center shapes are simple rectangles edited with the Shape Tool.
As you browse through the symbol fonts included with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, keep in mind that the shapes are curves that can be dismantled, transformed, and customized to solve a wide range of design challenges. By applying color, or an effect or two, you can create unique designs for your everyday projects.
Steve Bain is an award-winning illustrator and designer, and the author of nearly a dozen books, including CorelDRAW: The Official Guide.