Introduction: Create Your Own Phone Wallpaper With Adobe Illustrator
At this day and age we are constantly surrounded by technology and its almost unheard of for someone to be without a smart phone. With smart phones comes screensavers and wallpapers and the ability to customize them, but sometimes its hard to find one that fits what you want just right. So these instructions will teach you how to create a cool text wallpaper that you can customize and make your own!
Computer or Laptop
Before we can begin creating the wallpaper you will need to choose what you want it to say, for my example I chose to use the school mascot as inspiration and picked “Dragons”. It can be one word or a whole sentence it all depends on what you want and how much work you want to put into it.
Now that you have your text chosen its time to open Adobe Illustrator on your laptop or computer. Once Illustrator opens to start a new project you will select ‘create new’ on the left side of the window, then you can click mobile on the of the pop-up window and scroll through the options until you find the one that fits your phone. Once you find the correct size artboard, look on the right side and make sure the orientation is on portrait (taller than it is wide) and then select create.
Next once your artboard opens up go to the toolbar on the left and select the text tool, it looks like a ’T’, then you will click and drag on your artboard to create a textbox in which you will type out your desired word or phrase. After that you will either highlight your text or you can switch to the selection tool (the outlined arrow on the toolbar or you can hold the command key and click away from your text with the mouse then switch to the selection tool by clicking the ‘v’ key) and change the font of your text. For this project a rounded sans serif works best, I used ‘CarlMarx Bold’ other options that are available on adobe fonts are Arial Rounded MT Bold, Houschka Rounded, and Clone rounded Latin among others, choose which ever best fits your chosen aesthetic. Then once you have typed out your word and selected a font you will then need to outline the text, to do this you have three options either click the type tab at the top of your screen and then go down and select “create outlines”, right click your text (or two finger tap if you are on a MacBook) and select “create outlines” from the pop-out menu, or you can use the keyboard shortcut hold shift, command, and ‘O’.
Select your newly outlined text and then go up to the top left and change the fill to white and the stroke (outline) to black, or use press the ‘d’ key as a short cut, then change the stroke weight to 2pts.
After that you will select your text again, go up to the top of the screen, select the object tab and then go down to ‘envelope distort’ and select make with mesh from the pop-out menu, or use the shortcut Option (alt), control, ‘M’. Once you you do that the envelope mesh menu will open up (image 5a), check the preview box in the bottom left, the number of columns and rows will be the default number and you can either increase or decrease them depending on the length of your word, I kept the rows at 4 and increased the columns to 6 (5b), then select ok to make those changes. Next you will need to go to your tool bar and select the Direct Selection tool, or click the ‘a’ key, and start selecting the anchor points in some of your columns, to select multiple points hold the shift key, then you can use the arrow keys and either bump them up or down, I chose to go with every other column and bump them up 10 points using my arrow key. After that you will need to do the same with the rows, these I chose to bump 5 points to the right. The results of this are shown in image 5c.
With the selection tool (v), select your text, create a duplicate ,go up to the object tab on the top of the screen, go down and click expand (6a). Once the expand menu opens up make sure both objected and fill are selected before clicking ok (6b). After you have expanded your text select it with the selection tool, then hold the option (alt) key and drag a duplicate down, then to create another one you can simply transform again by using the short cut, control and ‘d’ (6c). Next you will select all three pieces of text, go up and select the object tab, go down to blend, and select make from the pop-out menu (6d), or use shortcut option, control, ‘b’. Select your text and once again go to the blend pop-out menu through the object tab but this time click ‘blend options’ (6e) and a window will pop up. Once this opens check the preview button, then go up to spacing and select specified steps from he dropdown menu and you can change the number of steps to whatever you would like, I chose fifteen, and make sure the vertical option is selected for orientation before clicking ok (6f). Results of this step are shown in image 6g.
Next you will want to go to the toolbar and select the ellipse tool (7a), which looks like an oval, if it is not visible you will need to right click either the rectangle tool this could also be the star, line, polygon tool but it is normally the fourth tool down from the top of the tool bar, and chose it from the pop-out menu. Then make a circle on your artboard, change to the direct selection tool (a) and select the top and right anchor points and delete them (7b), once they are deleted click and drag the now top anchor point and drag it to the side to create an S curve (7c), this can also be achieved using the pen tool. Now switch back to the section tool (v) and select both the curve and your text, once again we are going to the object tab and down to blend, but this time we will want to select replace spine (7d). This will make your line of text follow the curve of your path, so feel free to make the path look however you like (7e). If you would rather your text be at the bottom instead of the top you can return to the option blend menu and select reverse spine, in my image the reversed spine is labeled as number 2. After this you will need to go and select the pathfinder tool on the right side of your window (7f), it looks like two overlapping squares (if you cannot find it there it can also be found under the windows tab in the top navigation bar), then select the trim function which is located under pathfinders and is usually the second one in from the left (the icon is of a full square on top of another or if you hover your cursor over them a label should pop up), this will make your text into much simpler shapes, then you may select your text and then can choose which ever fill or stroke colors you would like.
This step isn’t necessary but it’s fun, can create some cool effects, and makes it even more unique to you. To start you will need to go back to your original set of text (not the one you expanded in step six) and select your text, then go up to the top bar and select the isolation button (8a), which looks like four arrows pointing at a box. Now you can go over to the layers panel on the bottom right of your screen and click the arrow to show all the objects on that layer, next you can select the top layer of text (8b) and then if you take off the stroke color and add a fill color, which will create a gradient(8c), repeat with the other two text layers too (8d).
If you would like you can even go further and use the direct selection tool (a) to move around each letter as well as rotating them using the transform feature to make it even more interesting and unique.
Now once you are finished and happy with what you created you will need to get this image onto your phone before you can set it as your wallpaper. To do this you will need to go up to the top of the screen and click the file tab, scroll down to export, and then click export for screens, then in the pop up window choose where you would like it exported to and click export artboard. From there you can either email it to yourself or if you are using a Mac and have an iPhone you can also airdrop it.
Now you can make your very own custom phone wallpapers for any season, holiday, or mood. No more boring wallpapers that looks like everyone else’s. Even better when your friends or family ask where you found it you can tell them you made it and even make them their own! You don’t have to limit yourself with phones either you can adjust your canvas size and make them for your laptop, cards, or posters to give as presents to friends and family. Beyond the excitement of having a custom wallpaper you created it’s a fun way to learn new techniques and tools in a program you might already be familiar with.