Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Curvy text using Gimp Image Editor

I was recently asked how to put curved text on a logo.  Off I went to see if I could find a clear and simple explanation of how to do this using free software and do you think I could find any? Lots of complicated explanations or ones that expect that you already know about paths, lots that left bits out so you were left scratching your head and wondering why it didn't work for you, but nothing clear, simple and taking you the whole way through.  So here we go, especially for The Lizard Lounge, curvy text using Gimp - and so I don't have to figure it out a second third time!  I'll assume you've downloaded the software and go from there.

Step 1: Draw a path
Select the Path tool (left).  Click on two different spots to make a line.

Step 2: Shape the path
Click and drag the line to create a curve.  You can change the degree of the curve by clicking and dragging the little squares that now appear.

Step 3: Write the text
Select the text tool (left).  Write the required text and click 'Text along Path'.  You can clear the text box once the text has appeared on the curved line.

Step 4: Select the text path
At the top of the image window, select Dialogs, then Paths. Right-click on the text path and click 'Path to Selection'.

Step 5: Create a new layer
In the image window, select Layers, then New Layer.  Select the Bucket fill tool (left) and click on the image window.  Your text should now look something like this:

Step 6: Rearrange the layers
Open the Layers dialog box (Dialogs>Layers) and drag the layers into the correct order.  Alternatively, you could right click on the image, select Layer, then Stack, and rearrange using the options there.

Step 7: Flatten image
Before saving the image as a .jpg or .png, you need to 'flatten' it.  In the image window, select Image, then Flatten Image.

Step 8: Save the file
So far we've been working in Gimp's own image format, .xcf.  At this stage you'll probably want to save it in a different format for web or print use.

The finished product!

Don't ask me why it's so complicated, it's one of my pet hates of image editing, but I hope that works!


  1. Thanks Niamh - will try that this evening (I can't download anything onto my work machine without permission from the IT department).

    - do you think this counts as Thing 24 ;)

  2. I think it should! Let me know how you get on.

  3. Brilliant! What a useful post, and I love, LOVE, that you have little pictures of the individual tool icons on the left - I hate help boxes that say "use the magic strunkle feeder" without telling you where it is!

  4. Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked it!

  5. Had a little go, got a little lost as to what the layers do... will try again later - thanks very much for the help. Totally agree that really helps having the tool icons shown :)

  6. Let me know if the layers issue is something I can help with!

  7. Here’s an image editor I’ve used for 15+ years: IrfanView – Besides doing most simple editing FASTER than anything else (yes, even Photoshop), you can add it to your system shell & open 3 other editors (like Photoshop) from an image displayed.

    And yes, it’s a free download:

    1. That's a blast from the past - I used that years ago too! Good to know it's still going.