I'm looking for a good strategy to create, in InDesign ideally, type on a path with colour blocks behind it, set in a series of concentric circles.

I have not used type on a path tool previously so had planned to use paragraph rules above/below, offset, to put the colour behind the type: I didn't know that this tool does not work with type on a path: uh oh. And, I've discovered, neither does the underline tool work effectively with type on a path: double uh oh. As a former typesetter, I've set a lot of horizontal type and not a lot else: not a graphic designer, but I was talked into building this thing and now I'm stuck.

The source file [handed over to me] is a complete nightmare, so not a great starting point given the amount of time that I have: I spoke to the person who did make it and they suggested I would be better off starting fresh.

I hope that someone can offer me a strategy that will be fairly quick to execute/adjust/set up. You can see from this image how the colour blocks behind the type don't form a full circle: they don't need to fade at the edges like this, but I need a way to control where they start and end, independent from the type that sits above each colour block/part of the circle. I had hoped that I could do this with type controls, and not do any drawing.

enter image description here

  • Welcome to GDSE!
    – curious
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 1:56
  • Thanks! I've been a reader here many times, first question. Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 1:57
  • 4
    Have you considered that Illustrator might be a better tool for this job?
    – Vinny
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 9:06
  • 2
    Sorry.. Illustrator is not only a better tool for a job like this, in my view it's the only tool for this in the Adobe stable of software. There is no way this is a job for InDesign.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 10:00
  • @Scott text editor might also be OK for this though
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


This is in Illustrator. It uses the most basic functions.

enter image description here

Top left: A circle is drawn and Type on Path was inserted. The circle became invisible by default.

Top right: A new circle is drawn. It snaps easily to the same center as the 1st one if you have smart guides and snap to point ON.

Btm left: The new circle is splitted with the scissors and the extra piece is moved apart

Btm right: The new arc has got wider stroke and the text color is changed to white. The wide stroke is sent to back.

To make this all fast some guide lines should be drawn and centered. Lock them to be sure they do not move. Losing the center would be a major bummer. Have an anchor in the center.

It's useful to keep the guide lines (and curves) in a different layer.

The text and the wide stroke should be grouped. The result can be scaled if you at first allow stroke scaling in the preferences. With the rotate tool you can rotate whole groups and set the rotation center beforehand.

Equally spaced circles with the same centerpoint can be made by blending and then expanding and ungrouping the blend to make the copies free.

The dashed lines can be text in the beginning and the end of text which is centered. As well they can be separate splitted pieces of the copy of the circle which was used to make the wide arc under the text. The dashing is set in the stroke settings, so only 2 pieces is needed. Put them to the same group with the text and the wide arc.

  • Yes, that's what I needed to know - at least I know now that my plan (use the stroke and reverse the type) was OK, I just should not have thought that InDesign was up to the job. Thank you so much user287001. Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 17:18
  • Actually InD is up to the job. No separate background stroke isn't needed there. Scissors work in InD, too and text can be centered between the adjustable brackets. Having strokes inside the bounding box is harmful, but keeping a centerpoint marker grouped with a piece prevent losing the center.
    – user82991
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 18:49

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