I need to find a tutorial (or just be pointed in the right direction) into learning how to make a design in Illustrator that is contoured. I'm basically trying to make a design for a cup. Here's the template I've been given:


I've got images and text that I want to put on it but it would appear that I need to curve the images to make it work on this template. What is it that I need to learn? I'm not very familiar with this kind of design and just need to read up on it. Thanks.

2 Answers 2


You'll want to create artwork in a rectangle which matches the entire width as if it were flat. You also must have a rectangle drawn in the background. It can have a fill of none or white, but you really want the rectangle there.

Then follow the steps in the image below.

enter image description here

A better showing of how the template grid matched the envelope: enter image description here

  • Many of the lines in the design don't seem to follow the contour of the template. I'm not sure it would turn out the way you expect if you were to actually print that and wrap it around a cup. I'm not really sure there's a simple way to do this in Illustrator. There are dedicated design apps for designing 3D packaging, but they usually cost a lot of money (Esko is $1500~2300). Apr 9, 2012 at 22:23
  • 1
    @Lèsemajesté My initial example was a tad crude simply to show the steps. I've added an additional image which clearly shows how the horizontals in the art match the arched grid of the template.
    – Scott
    Apr 9, 2012 at 22:38
  • There's still some lateral distortion (the letters on the outer edges seem much more compressed than the "R", "AT", and "CU" in the middle. But it does at least line up with the horizontal lines. Apr 9, 2012 at 22:44
  • That's because you wouldn't want the text to wrap the entire cup. If you trim the shape and physically wrap it the distortion is much less prominent when the arched grid is once again horizontal. My example images are crude, but the theory is sound.
    – Scott
    Apr 9, 2012 at 22:45

As Scott mentioned, Envelop Distort may do the trick. Sometimes I find it acts strange though. For the simple warp needed for a cup, you might also use EffectWarpArc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.