When it comes to addressing invitations or holiday cards…who has time for that kind of penmanship? I always go in with high hopes. But by card 3, the envelope is wrinkly from my sweaty hand and my fingers are totally cramped, always over-gripping the pen. (Anyone else purchase the EXACT amount of envelopes and can’t afford a single mistake? Me too.) By now, card 5 has no chance. Sound familiar?
It’s time to create your own address stamp! I know someone has their shit together if their holiday card has their return address stamped on it. Let’s be those people.
I’ve got a tutorial below on how to create your own address stamp and a free illustrator file to download (if you’re not the tutorial type scroll to the bottom of this post to download the full Illustrator file). Then all you have to do is upload your custom design online at any custom stamp shop. (I’m loving the custom wood stamp options from thestampmaker.com) And wah-lah. No more sweaty, cramped hands. Plus, address stamps are such a cute souvenir to keep even after you move. It’ll be a lovely reminder of where you used to call home. Cute, right?
Set up your file
Be sure to check with the online stamp shop you’re using to figure out what size stamp you should make. Here, I’ve set up my document to be 1.25″ square. That’s how large I want my address stamp to be.
If you want to follow along with the fonts I’m using, be sure to download Proxima Nova Alt Condensed Thin. It’s a google search away. As for the script font, you can download Nickainly here. Or, experiment with your own favorite fonts.
To download fonts to your computer, open your Fontbook application, and drag/drop the fonts you downloaded. If they don’t show up in Illustrator, quit Illustrator and open it again.
Set your address type on a circle
Remember, to draw a perfect circle press shift as you click and drag. After you draw a circle, click and hold the type tool. This will bring up other type setting options. Click ‘Type on a Path’ tool. Now, click on the circle. This changes the circle from a shape, to a path for type.
Once you’re done typing, click the black selection arrow int he tool bar. You can now see vertical lines intersecting the circle. The lines with a hollow square on them indicate the start and end point for the type. By clicking and dragging these lines, you create the space for the type to live. It’s worth getting familiar with these click/drag options so you understand how it affects your type. Here, our type is centered.
Type setting ‘The’ to introduce your family name
Create a quick diagonal line with the pen tool by clicking on point, and clicking on a another in the distance. This will create a diagonal line between the two points. Now, to make this line a place for type to live, click on ‘Type on a Path’ Tool like we did with the circle. Now, you can type ‘The’ in the Nickainly Script font.
Setting your last name
With the type tool selected, click and type your family name. To adjust the font size either use the Character panel and increase the type size OR select the Free Transform tool on the tool panel. When you use the Free Transform tool, you’ll notice the cursor turns to arrows as you near the bounding box of the type. This allows you to scale (or rotate) the object. For now, we are going to scale to type. Simply click on the corner and press shift to increase the size proportionally. Never, ever squish the type. Always proportionally increase type size, never squish type disproportionally. It’s disgusting and no one will take you seriously. NO ONE.
Set the City, State
Same as we did above with the last name. Click with the type tool and type the city and state. To scale, either use the free transform tool or increase the type size manually.
For the city type, I’m going to add in some tracking. Tracking loosens or tightens the space between the characters in selected text or an entire block of text. Because the letters are small, I like to add tracking. When these letters are spaced out like this, it not only helps fill the space horizontally, but it helps these letters breathe a bit from each other. I think they stand out better. Here, I’ve set the tracking to 75.
Add in the zip code
Last step to making your own address stamp! Just as we did the name and city, click with the type tool and type in the zip code. Again, either use the free transform tool or increase the type size manually. Just like the city/state, I’m going to add in extra tracking for the zip code. I love this style for addresses. It helps give more importance to the zip code, by not making it look so dinky. And it helps complete the ‘shape’ the type creates in the whole address stamp. Here, exaggerate the tracking and set it to 1000.
You’ll have to check with what file formats the online stamp manufacturers will accept. Generally speaking, you’ll either need to export your custom address stamp as a .jpg or .png (File > Export) or PDF (File > Save As). That’s it! You’re set to order your new address stamp.
Full Illustrator File Download
Looking for the full Illustrator file download to make your own address stamp? Download the Address Stamp Illustrator file here. To use the same fonts I use in this tutorial, be sure to download Proxima Nova Alt Condensed Thin (Google it). As for the script font, you can download Nickainly here. Now all you have to do it input your own address info and get stamping!