Moving Text on a Curved Path

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There was a fun article in The New York Times the other day describing the fancy way Elizabeth Warren and her staff let people take a selfie with Warren. But… the pictures aren’t actually selfies because they are taken by someone else. The article has this hilarious line of text that wiggles by on a curved line as you scroll down the page.

Let’s look at how they did it.


The curved line is drawn in SVG as a <path>, and the <text> is set upon it by a <textPath>:

<svg width="100%" height="160px" viewBox="0 0 1098.72 89.55">
    <path id="curve" fill="transparent" d="M0.17,0.23c0,0,105.85,77.7,276.46,73.2s243.8-61.37,408.77-54.05c172.09,7.64,213.4,92.34,413.28,64.19"></path>
    <text width="100%" style="transform:translate3d(0,0,0);">
        <textPath style="transform:translate3d(0,0,0);" alignment-baseline="top" xlink:href="#curve">*The pictures are not technically selfies.</textPath>

The movement trick happens by adjusting the startOffset attribute of the textPath element.

I’m not 100% sure how they did it, but we can do some quick hacky math by watching the scroll position of the page and setting that attribute in a way that makes it move about as fast and far as we want.

const textPath = document.querySelector("#text-path");

const h = document.documentElement, 
      b = document.body,
      st = 'scrollTop',
      sh = 'scrollHeight';

document.addEventListener("scroll", e => {
  let percent = (h[st]||b[st]) / ((h[sh]||b[sh]) - h.clientHeight) * 100;
  textPath.setAttribute("startOffset", (-percent * 40) + 1200)

Here’s a demo:

See the Pen
Selfie Crawl
by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier)
on CodePen.

Text on a curved line is a cool design look for any number of reasons! It just isn’t seen that much on the web, so when it is used, it stands out.

See the Pen
CodePen Challenge: Hearthstone Card
by wheatup (@wheatup)
on CodePen.