Category Archives: Adobe Illustrator

Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation Commissions Syl Wilson Marketing for Gala Design


In 2016, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation commissioned Syl Wilson Marketing to design their Gala program, brochure, social media campaigns and email campaigns. Not only did we design these elements, but we also participated in the Gala and it was OUTSTANDING. The sponsors of the event gave incredible amounts and the night was very special for the children of the Greater East St. Louis area.


Technology used to design: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop
Client: Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation
Industry: Nonprofit

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Creating a Mask in Adobe Illustrator CS3 or CS5

Masking lets you create a stencil effect. You can cover an object with a masking object, so that the image only looks through the shape of the masked item. You can have many paths as masks and can have multiple masks on a page, although, multiple or complex masks could cause printing problems.

Making a mask:

Draw the item you want to mask

Now place on top of these objects your masking object (or mask)

Select both the objects and the mask.

Go to the Object menu and choose Clipping Masks, Make:

You can use your selection tools to move your mask or the objects around and change how the mask looks.


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Creating 3D Type in Adobe Illustrator

On a new document type your text. Select the type with the Direct Selection tool (this is the second arrow on the pallet over on the left hand side with the arrow tip filled in white). Go to Effect, 3D, Extrude & Bevel. Check the preview box and move that big box around. You’ll be able to see how your text will look without accepting the changes this way. Choose a custom color and you have just created your Custom 3D Text! See examples below:

Click to enlarge

And here is the final(Click to enlarge)

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Interlocking Shapes & Letters in Adobe Illustrator

You can use the Pathfinder filter to create interlocking shapes and letters. Here are the instructions to do this:

Draw your stroked only paths or enter your type. (Note: if you are using text remember to create outlines first) For strokes, go to Object, Path, Outline Stroke. Overlap the shapes.

Select all the overlapping objects. Go to the Pathfinder palette (under the window menu) and choose Divide. Now any overlapping areas are defined as separate objects which can be individually filled in.

Use the direct selection tool (the arrow that is filled in white under the main selection tool on the pallet) to select areas to fill in to create an overlapping effect. Remember to change the fill, not the stroke color.

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Basic instructions for creating text that is rippled in Adobe Illustrator

Want to learn how to type on a line like this?

It’s so easy! Here are the steps using Adobe Illustrator CS3

Open a blank page

Click on the Paintbrush from your tool pallet. You will want to change the brush style to something a little thicker. You can do this once you click on the paintbrush tool, you should get a new toolbar at the top of your screen. You’ll see something that says “Brush.”  This is where your brush styles are located. I am picking a thicker calligraphy style but you can choose any of these. They are stored under the library in CS3 and you have a ton to pick from (see below and click to enlarge)

Next you just draw your line on the page in the direction you want the words to go. So do something swirly:) Here comes the fun part. Over on your tool pallet you’ll see you have the text tool (T).  If you press down and hold on that you’ll get several other Text Tools. I want you to pick “Type on a path tool.” Now go back to your line and hold your mouse over the line until the symbol changes to a slanted text tool. Now, click your mouse and start typing. You can change your font size and colors here as well if you like. Once you click off of the text and onto another area of your document, the original line will disappear.  Pretty cool right? If you use the Circle tool, it will type around the “Stroke” (line) of the circle. You can do this on any object you place into Adobe Illustrator. If you have questions, just email me at

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Gradients in Adobe Illustrator are easier than you thought

Adobe Illustrator CS3 has built in so many tools so that you don’t have to waste time trying to create your own techniques anymore.  One of the ones I love is the built in gradients.  If you have a vector art image that you pull in to Adobe Illustrator simply click on the image.  Go to Window, Swatch libraries, and choose gradients.  There are a bunch to choose from so I would start with “Earthtones.”

While the image is highlighted simply click on one of the gradients and viola! You have a great gradient for your image.  If you want to change the direction the gradient is moving in, then choose the Gradient tool from the tool bar and drag your mouse from any direction on the image after you have picked a gradient and you’ll be able to have a more precise design.

Also, if you want to change more specifications of the gradient, then go to Window, appearance, and you can change each individual attribute of the gradient.

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