Stylish text effect tutorial using Illustrator

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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


First add a new fill and choose a black tone.


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


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.


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.


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







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.


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


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


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.


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


With 2 px it’s more than enough.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


And adjust the effect according to the following parameters:


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


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


And adjust the effect according to the following properties:


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.


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.


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


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


Adjust the superior drop shadow effect to the following parameters:


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.


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


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.


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:


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


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:


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.




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


And now our design is looking like this:


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


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


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.


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.
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