If I have some text that is expanded, how can I distribute it along a path?

For example, if I'd like to have the Stack Exchange logo follow an arc

Stack Exchange Logo

Using an Envelope Distort, well, distorts the logo:

Stack Exchange distorted

Instead, I am looking to achieve something more like this:

Stack Exchange corrected

Is this possible once the text has been outlined/expanded?


2 Answers 2


Not easily.

There are some ideas here: Multiple objects spaced evenly around a circle The Art Brush technique is not going to work due to distortion.

probably your best bet is to do it manually... which can be made easier with the method here: Multiple images spread out inside circle using Illustrator


Okay an Art Brush may work if you configure it correctly. There will still be some slight inner sloping to text, but it's made much less prevalent with this method.

Set up the art work with a no-fill, no-stroke extra object, like so:


That ellipse at the end is a hollow object just there to make the art longer. It can be any shape. Now, drag all that to the Brush Panel and choose Art Brush when asked. Set the Brush Options like so:

brush options

Note I have the brush set to "stretch between guides" and note the placement of the guides.

The resulting brush.


There's still some sloping distortion, but it's a different distortion than envelopes create, much less of a "stretch" to the text:


This may or may not be acceptable.

For my money, I'd use the symbol method I posted as the second link above.


Turn the expanded letterforms into an Art Brush.

  1. Open up your brushes palette (Window > Brushes or tap F5);
  2. Select your expanded letterforms;
  3. Select 'New Brush' from the palette's options;
  4. Choose 'Art Brush';
  5. Select the 'Scale Proportionately' radio button;
  6. Click 'OK'.

If you then draw a path and click on the brush, you'll have your effect.

  • Can't use an art brush. It distorts the text more than envelopes do.
    – Scott
    Apr 10, 2013 at 19:09
  • @Scott even with 'Scale Proportionately' selected?
    – Vincent
    Apr 10, 2013 at 19:10
  • 1
    Yes. There is a definite "inward" slope to any text. but I just thought of something...... see my answer
    – Scott
    Apr 10, 2013 at 19:11

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