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Design

Create a Button Using a Piece of Text and the Appearance Panel

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:

In the following steps you will learn how to create a social button using only one piece of text in Adobe Illustrator. For starters, using the Type Tool, a basic font and a nice dingbat font you will create that piece of text. Next, taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, using multiple fills, strokes and effects along with some basic blending techniques you will learn how to create the actual button. Finally, you will learn how to easily edit and recolor your button.


1. Create the Text

Create a New document, pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character or hit Control + T). Simply click on your Artboard, add the "Subscribe V" piece of text and make sure that there is some space between the "Subscribe" and the "V". Use the "Myriad Pro" font with the size set at 13pt and the color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0). Using the Type Tool (T), select only the "V" and focus on the Character panel. Increase the font size to 18pt and replace the "Myriad Pro" font with the "Social Media Icons Bold" dingbat font.

social buttons

2. Create the Button Taking Full Advantage of the Appearance Panel

Step 1

Make sure that your piece of text is selected, open the Appearance panel and simply add a fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Select this new fill, use the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

social buttons

Step 2

Make sure that your piece of text stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it below the existing fill, set the color at R=241 G=90 B=41 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius and click OK.

social buttons
Check the Relative box from the Convert to Shape - Rectangle effect and the properties of the effect will automatically change when you decide to change the size of the text.

Step 3

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the orange fill is selected and hit the Duplicate Selected Item button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select the newly added fill, replace the orange with white, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK.

social buttons

Step 4

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the white fill is selected and hit again the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, replace the white with the linear gradient shown below, change its Blending Mode to Normal and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

social buttons

Step 5

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select the bottom fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the right window (in the following image) and click OK.

social buttons

Step 6

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select the existing stroke, set the color at R=221 G=70 B=21, make sure that the size is set at 1pt and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -0.5px Offset and click OK.

social buttons

Step 7

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new stroke, make sure that the size is set at 1pt, set the color at R=35 G=31 B=32, lower its Opacity to 10% and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 0.5px Offset and click OK.

social buttons

Step 8

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the black stroke is selected and hit the Duplicate Selected Item button. Focus on this newly added stroke, increase the size to 3pt and open the existing Offset Path effect. Increase the Offset to 1.5px and click OK. Make sure that this new stroke is still selected and lower its Opacity to 5%.

social buttons

3. Change the Color and the Purpose of the Button

Step 1

Here are the small changes that you need to make if you want to turn your "Subscribe" button into a "Twitter" button. First, make sure that the Type Tool (T) is active and focus on your piece of text. Replace the "Subscribe" with "Follow us" and the "V" with a "B". Make sure that your piece of text stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and replace the orange fills with the blue ones shown in the following image.

social buttons

Step 2

Finally, here are the Appearance attributes that you should use for a "Favorite" button or a "Facebook" button. For the "Favorite" button replace the "V" with a "K" and for the "Facebook" button replace the "V" with an "S". Also, if you choose to create the "Favorite" button, select the white fill, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

social buttons
social buttons

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

social buttons
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