Illustrator CC continues Adobe’s trend of making tools and effects “live.” Corners of rectangles made with the Rectangle tool are live, with icons that let you round, invert, or angle (chamfer) corners after you’ve drawn the rectangle.
For cartographers, complex symbols can be made more quickly with Live Corners.
To create the toll symbol, start by drawing the state outline of Florida and setting the type objects for “TOLL” and “589.” Center all three and arrange them vertically. For this symbol design, I cut and removed part of the state outline behind the “589.”
Next, select the Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle to surround the artwork, making the rectangle a little longer on the bottom to accommodate the tapered, rounded bottom of the symbol. Click the Direct Selection tool and click to select the rectangle. Now you can see the corner points and the Live Corner icons highlighted. The Live Corner icon is a circle with a dot inside.
To round the top, select the top two corners with the Direct Selection tool. Then click either of the Live Corner icons and drag inward until the top of the rectangle rounds gently. Do the same with the bottom two corners–this time, however, drag the Live Corner icon inward as far as it will go. You’ll see a red line superimpose on top of the rounded path to tell you it can’t be rounded any further.
With the main symbol shape created, you’ll need to create a second shape that will serve as the background at the top of the symbol behind “TOLL.” The trick will be keeping the top of the second rectangle rounded to the same degree as the first rectangle. To do this, zoom into the top of the symbol, turn on Smart Guides, and switch the View to Outline. Now draw a new rectangle matching the first rectangle’s width and surrounding “TOLL.” Select the top corner points and drag either of the Live Corner icons inward until the top of this rectangle visually matches the rounding of the first rectangle.
Switch back to View > Preview, and fill this second rectangle with a color to complete this Toll symbol.
Illustrator’s Live Corners feature can create other corner shapes. To produce a scalloped rectangle, you Opt/Alt-click on the Live Corner icon to cycle through its corner types, from the default Round to Inverted Round. The Inverted Round is used in the JCT symbol below.
How have you used Illustrator’s Live Corners to craft map or graphic symbols?