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Stylish text effect tutorial using Illustrator

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Typography these days have become more than just a way to express words and build sentences. We can now see a lot of showcases featuring inspirational designs made with typography, which is used in ways to express more than words, turning out into beautiful illustrations.

On this tutorial you’re about to learn how to create a beautiful text effect with a subtle vintage look that’s going to be applied to an specific typeface, just to help you get an idea, we will try to generate an old school text that can be implemented on modern web designs.

1.  Download font

For this tutorial we used an specific font style that we found at the Google fonts directory, it’s called Lobster. You need to start by downloading this font and install it within your Fonts directory.

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2. Create canvas

Open Illustrator and go to File>new to create a canvas with the following properties: 192 px X 122 px, RGB color mode and 72 dpi.

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3. Write your text

You can choose any word/s to work on this tutorial, of course we chose our brand name to find out how will it look with this fancy effect, remember to use the Lobster font.

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You can of course experiment with other fonts, we just chose Lobster because of its vintage aesthetics.

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And now it’s when the typography starts to work as an illustration, first of activate the Appearance panel at the Windows menu.

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Having the appearance panel displayed, we can start working on the effects.

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First add a new fill and choose a black tone.

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You will see every fill, stroke or effect that you add appearing instantly on the appearance window.

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Double click on the word “Characters” to start editing the text itself, move to the main toolbar and clear the text’s color, apparently nothing happened but let us explain what we just did.

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What happens it that when we added the black filling to our text, the text originally had a specific color and if you leave it and then add lighter colors and effects, you will notice the black on the back. Now that we’re done with that part, let’s change the black for a gradient.

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And let’s start adjusting the gradient colors and values until we get something that looks kind of chromed.

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Make sure that the gradient type is set to linear and the angle to –90, also you need to hit the G key to adjust the gradient’s position.

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The first effect to add will be Offset Path, you can find it at the Effects menu.

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You can experiment on this part, in our case we chose a 3px path for the effect.

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Now duplicate the fill (just drag it to the new fill button and it’s done) and remove the offset path to the copy that’s above.

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Select the fill with the offset path on it and go to Effect>Stylize>Rounded Corners.

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With 2 px it’s more than enough.

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Good, now you need to replace the back filling for a solid color, a dark one preferably.

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Now to generate some volume, let’s add a Drop Shadow effect.

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This is a very subtle effect, it’s possible that you won’t note this until the text is placed over a color background.

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Now let’s add an Inner Glow effect, you can look for effects from the appearance window also.

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This is another subtle effect that at the end will provide a richer appearance to our drawing.

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Let’s go back for a moment and add an additional tone to the gray gradient, the “Tutorial” looks dark.

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Now we can continue, choose the gradient fill and insert a Drop Shadow effect.

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And adjust the effect according to the following parameters:

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And now add another Drop Shadow effect, if a window pops up, just hit OK.

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This window appears because you’re adding an effect that you’ve already used on that fill.

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And adjust the effect according to the following properties:

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I’m not liking the way that “rounded corners” is looking, let’s hide it for a while, then we can decide if make it visible again.

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Now you need to copy paste the entire object and place it in top of the original, then move it to the left and above.

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Select the duplicate and remove the solid color fill, just leave it with the gradient.

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Remove the white drop shadow effect and move the object until it looks closer to this.

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Adjust the superior drop shadow effect to the following parameters:

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And move it a little bit to the right, I know, we have changed its position several times, it’s just that we want to explore different positions until we find the better option.

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Just one more change, I apologize :P for that, let’s adjust a little bit the lighter shadow of the superior object.

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It looks nice right?, we are almost done, the only left things are setting up the perspective and adding some extra highlights. First we are going to add some perspective, select everything and go to Object>Envelop Distort>Make with Wrap.

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This is a brilliant tool that will help you to give some perspective to your drawings, play as much as you want until you get the better result, in our case, we followed these parameters:

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Click on the “Edit Contents” button to modify the original object.

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Now that you can modify the original content, select the superior object and move it a few pixels above, then transform it and increase its height, you will end up with something like this:

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You will see the next screenshot a little bit different, we played a lot with the warp and finally we decided to use a Mesh instead of a wrap.

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Let’s bring back the rounded corners to generate a smoother design.

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And now our design is looking like this:

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Let’s see how it looks on top a background texture, we chose one from our personal background library.

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I think that the shadow will look better without the blur, let’s access the appearance window and remove it from the fill.

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Ok the text is good, but I’m not happy with this texture, I know that I’ve been messing around a lot on this tutorial, but that’s only because I really want this design to look great, no matter if I waste a few additional minutes, you all know that we designers are like that, hahaha.

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There are just a few steps to follow before you can make beautiful typographic designs, just take some time to experiment with effects, meshing and gradients, you will easily come out with something like this, let us know what you think about this tutorial and all the others at Tutorialshock.
Download sources


101 Responses to “Stylish text effect tutorial using Illustrator”

  1. Hey! Great tutorial!
    Thanks for using my font!

    Pablo Impallari

    • TS Editorial
      September 28th

      Hi Pablo, great you liked it and btw, your Lobster font is amazing!!!…

  2. Nice tut. Thanks for posting

  3. Hey pablo, your font is great, thanks for that amazing design !! do u have other ones ?
    español también hablamos amigo !

  4. doesn’t work with me, got mixed up with the different fills, no effects show up, more precise discription needed in some steps…

    • TS Editorial
      September 29th

      Hi Daniel, the basic element is made out of 3 different fills, one for the offset path, the one in front of it and the top one, this can be a little confusing but I’m sure you will able to handle it ;)…

  5. Great effect!

  6. Bern
    May 4th

    Looking forward to see more tuttorials on fancy design like this. Thanks!

    • TS Editorial
      May 4th

      You’re welcome Bern, stay tuned for more great tuts…

  7. syeda maria
    June 24th

    i am love in it.

  8. Lukas
    July 20th

    INSTRUCTIONS NOT WISE
    2/10

  9. How do I remove the Off set path to the copy after its applied?

    this will help plenty

    • Hi Vidal, to remove the Offset Path effect, just drag it to the recycle bin within the Appearance window…

    • Ok thanks for the heads up I had started working with this tutorial it went fine now I started all over again because I didn’t have the font Now I have the Lobster font but now I can’t apply the Off set to the font am I missing a step? 

    • That’s odd mate, if you want you can send us a screenshot of the section where you’re having problems to blog.iconshock [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. Wo0ow very great style, i will use it with the logo of my site, just have to do some changes

    • Hi.Thanks for the tut.But I am stuck at the step where its required to copy paste.I didn’t quite follow the steps afterwards.”Select the duplicate and remove the solid color fill, just leave it with the gradient.”What do u mean by duplicate here?can u plz elaborate on dis?

    • Hi mate, thanks for leaving your question. When we say that you need to remove everything but the gradient it means that all the layer styles must be cleared, leaving the gradient fill only for generating a 3D look in our text…

  11. Anthony Hitchman
    October 30th

    I have tried four times to follow your instructions for this project, but have been unable to achieve your finished product. At one step or another, something different always happens in my project, than does in yours. Could it be that I am using CS5 Illustrator, and this tutorial is designed for some other version, or maybe that your insructions assume some knowledge/understanding of the program that I don’t have?

  12. Hello, wonderful tutorial… I’m having a little problem clicking on “edit contents”, after that I can’t change or edit anything. Why is that? No fills, no round corners, nothing :-(
    Thank you for this.

  13. nice tutorial!

  14. Jaque Rebelo
    February 11th

    I was facing some difficulty with the gradiente text color. The text kept filled with solid black. The answer I found here: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/581186.
    “With the selection tool (black arrow) select the Text, do not use the text tool use the selection tool…”. That’s it.

    Encontrei dificuldade com a cor gradiente do texto. O texto se mantinha com a cor preta sólida. A resposta encontrei aqui:
    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/581186.
    “Com a ferramenta ‘seleção’ (seta preta) selecione o texto, não use a ferramenta ‘texto’, use a ferramenta ‘seleção’.” É isto.

  15. Sir verily this is really informative and useful post for the beginner at illustrator. I like it. Thanks for sharing

  16. Robson
    February 27th

    Gostei muito. Bem simples e bem explicado também. Só não gostei desse template do fundo atrapalha a leitura.

  17. great effects

  18. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked.

  19. Very cool….very awesome idea.Thanks

  20. i lost track when inserting the gradient.. totally i cannot understand that step… can u teach me by a video? or suggest any related video??

  21. Miguel
    October 9th

    Amazing, thank you.

  22. thanks Artrell. Glad you liked it!

  23. I appreciate your work. This was the thing I was looking forward. 

  24. Designer
    August 13th

    You are welcome. Always looking to be a hand for creatives.

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