I want to imprint a shape with my text to create a text outline for my text to sit within. (I would then reduce the size of my text to leave a slight gap between the shape and the text..)
How can I do this in Illustrator?
Also, is there any way to do the above but to JUST create one, clear, textshaped field within my shape?
If I understand it in the right way, you may create the shape as a simple non compound non masking path, then use the Type on Path and type in.
To have a certain gap, you may Object>Path>Offset Path with a negative value equalling the gap width, and use the (inner) offset path for the Type on Path.
Europe, Middle East and Africa