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Create a text poster using Image Trace

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Learn easy ways to convert your handmade text designs into a digital logo, a font, or more.

Watch a quick video tutorial and get started

Watch this 56 seconds video to learn how to create a poster using Illustrator. 

Create your poster now. Click Get Started to launch Adobe Illustrator

This article covers the design journey of a promotional poster using Image Trace and Text on Path features of Illustrator. 

Reading time: 7-8 minutes
Skill-level: Beginner to Intermediate

Hero image

Before you proceed

Digitize your handwriting in 4 easy steps

STEP 1: Sketch the text and import into Illustrator

Import hand painted text

Start with creating the text on a piece of paper. We have created a numbered text using the brush pen.

Then, click a picture of your text or scan your text and import the picture file in Illustrator.

STEP 2: Trace the image using Image Trace

Image trace

After the file is imported, do the following to apply Image Trace options:

  • Choose Window > Image Trace. In the Image Trace dialog, do the following:
  • Choose Mode as Black and White.
  • Play around with the threshold value using the slider and pick the one that works the best for your image.
  • Select the Preview check box to view the changes in real-time.
  • Select the Ignore white check box in Advanced Options to remove the white background areas of the image.

STEP 3: Expand the traced image

After you complete the image tracing, you can edit the image. To do this, expand the image using the Expand button in Image Trace options in Control panel.

Expand image

Step 4: Ungroup, combine, and rearrange objects

Ungroup objects

Ungroup the letters

Right-click the image and choose Ungroup to ungroup the expanded object.

Combine objects

Path finder

Combine the stray points of each individual letter using the Unite shape mode in Pathfinder
(Windows Pathfinder).

Rearrange objects


Rearrange the letters and then place on the background, like the way it's shown in the image above. Change the color to white.

Create more text for the poster

After the traced image is placed on the background, let's add more text to the poster along a circular path.

Step 1: Create a circle

ellipse tool

Long press the Rectangle tool and select Ellipse or press L. To create a perfect circle, press the Shift key and then draw the circle.

Step 2: Create a path 

Type on path

Long press the Type tool and select Type on a Path Tool.

Step 3: Create text along the path

Add your text

Click on the ellipse anywhere and write the text for your poster.

Step 4: Add the text along the selected path

Edit the path

  • Select the path type object. A bracket appears at the beginning of the type, at the end, and at the midpoint.
  • To move text along the path, drag the center bracket along the path. 
  • Flip the brackets to write on the other side of the path.

Similarly, you can create multiple circles and add text along the paths. 

Final artwork


Alternate methods

In this article, we explained how you can edit your image by customizing the Image Trace options. Alternatively, you can also trace an image based on the variety of predefined templates (presets) and then fine-tune the traced image according to your requirement. As there is no one-size-fits-all, you need to play around with various presets to find the one that works the best for your image. 

To use a preset to trace the image, do one of the following:

  • Choose Object > Image Trace > Make or Make and Expand. The image will be traced based on the default tracing options.
  • In the Control panel, click the Image Trace drop-down list and choose a preset.
  • In the Properties panel, click the Image Trace button and choose a preset.

 Tip: If you want to edit the image using the available tracing options, you need to use the Image Trace dialog that appears from the Windows > Image Trace menu. In this dialog, you can play around with various options and check the results in real-time.

Image trace presets

Preset Purpose
High Fidelity Photo Creates photorealistic artwork of high fidelity
Low Fidelity Photo Creates simplified photorealistic artwork
3 Colors Creates artwork with 3 basic colors
6 Colors Creates artwork with 6 colors
16 Colors Creates artwork with 16 colors
Shades of Gray Traces the artwork to shades of gray
Black and White Logo Simplifies the image to black-and-white artwork
Sketched Art Creates the image resembling to the sketched art
Silhouettes Creates an artwork with the solid shape of  black.
Line Art Simplifies the image to black outlines
Technical Drawing Traces the artwork based on the line width or stroke.

Watch this 56 seconds video to learn how to create a poster using Illustrator. 

More resources


You've learned how to create custom hand lettering from a sketch to digital artwork. 

  • Set various Image Trace options using the Image Trace dialog box
  • Expand the image before editing
  • Remove white spaces in the traced image
  • Open Type on a Path Tool
  • Write on both sides of shape with Type on a Path tool

What's next

Take a step forward and create your own font, logo, posters, and more. While you onboard your creative journey, don't forget to share your masterpieces with us. 

Create logos, icons, sketches, typographyhandlettering, and other vector art with Adobe Illustrator.

Have a question or an idea?

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