My designer friend in Seattle, Darlin Gray (here at http://darlingray.com/) sent me a label she was working on and wanted to know how to do this cool, engraved-style on lettering on one of her projects. So here is how it is done.
If you have not used the Width Shape Tool, this is where the fun really begins!
Start with you type. Outline the fonts. Type>Create Outlines. SHIFT + COMMAND + O. Just for good measure, also Ungroup the letters. Add a fill but no stroke around the letters.
Choose Object>Path>Offset Path. In this case I off set the path .075 cm to get the distance I wanted away from the original letter.
At first, it will look clunky. Take the newly offset path and add a .5pt stroke and no fill.
It looks much better with no fill and a slight stroke.
First select the outline with the Selection Tool and choose Object> Compound Path>Release. Then, using the Direct Selection Tool, you will need to remove the sections of line that you don't want to taper.
With the line removed, select the Width Shape Tool (looks like a Chicken on a Skewer)
With the Width Shape Tool, Select the point on the line you want to make wider/narrower.
It does not need to be a "point" on a line, it can be at any location on the line, not specifically a "point".
Pull away from the line to make the stroke wider, push in toward the line to make it narrower.
This is the result of using the Width Shape tool to taper the stroke down to a narrow width.
When you have single line, you will need to taper one end, then in the middle of the line, make it wider before narrowing the other end. If you narrow both ends and not widen the middle, the line will disappear.
Here is what the end result looks like!
This is how the engraved, offset-look appears once you are done with your magic.