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Design

How to Create a Western Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a simple Western text effect in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to create a simple background and how to add a basic piece of text. Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to create your Western text effect.

You'll learn how to work with multiple fills and stroke, Offset, Rounded Corners and Transform effects, some Photoshop effects plus basic blending techniques. Finally, you'll learn how to save and use a simple graphic style.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources on GraphicRiver.

1. How to Create a New Document and Add a Simple Background

Step 1

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width and height boxes, and then click the Advanced button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

new document

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke and then select the fill and set its color to R=231 G=207 B=180. Move to your artboard and simply click on it to open the Rectangle window. Enter "860" in both boxes and then click that OK button.

rectangle

2. How to Add Your Text

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Use the Texas Tango font, set the size to 120 px, and then simply click on your artboard. Add the "WILD" text and set its color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255).

type tool

Step 2

Make sure that your text remains selected, focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), and click the [None] swatch to get rid of that white fill.

Move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and click that Add New Fill button to add a new fill for your piece of text. Select it and set its color to R=212 G=92 B=17.

new fill

3. How to Create the Back Side of the Text Effect

Step 1

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button and drag it below the existing fill.

Select the new fill, set its color to R=53 G=9 B=8, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 10 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 10 px, click OK, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Vertical slider to 5 px and then click OK.

Add New Fill

Step 2

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect that bottom fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top left window (in the following image), click the OK button, and then add the other three Drop Shadow effects shown below.

Drop Shadow

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a third fill and drag it between the existing two fills.

Select this newest fill, set its color to R=76 G=28 B=15, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 6 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Vertical slider to 4 px and then click OK.

Offset Path

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fourth fill and drag it right below the top fill.

Select this newest fill, set its color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 10 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 10 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Vertical slider to 5 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Drag the three sliders as shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

Film Grain

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect that black fill, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Multiply

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fifth fill and drag it right below the top fill.

Select this newest fill, set its color to R=76 G=28 B=15, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 10 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 10 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Vertical slider to 5 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Set the Stroke Direction to Vertical, drag the two sliders as shown in the following image, and then click that OK button.

Graphic Pen

Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect the fill added in the previous step, lower its Opacity to 10%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Soft Light

Step 8

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the top fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then add the two Drop Shadow effects shown below.

Rounded Corners

4. How to Create the Front Side of the Text Effect

Step 1

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones.

Select this newest fill and replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown below. Keep in mind that the blue numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage.

Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Scale-Vertical slider to -96%, don't forget to check the top middle reference point, and then click that OK button.

Linear Gradient

Step 2

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the top fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, replace the linear gradient with black, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Drag the three sliders as shown below and then click that OK button.

Film Grain

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect the fill added in the previous step, lower its Opacity to 5%, and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Multiply

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones.

Select this newest fill, set its color to R=76 G=28 B=15, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Set the Stroke Direction to Vertical, drag the two sliders as shown in the following image, and then click that OK button.

Graphic Pen

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect the fill added in the previous step, lower its Opacity to 15%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Soft Light

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones.

Select this newest fill, set its color to R=235 G=190 B=89, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter all the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

Inner Glow

Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones.

Select this newest fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay, and replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown below. Keep in mind that the yellow number from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -7 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Scale-Vertical slider to -96%, don't forget to check the top middle reference point, and then click that OK button.

Overlay

Step 8

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect the fill added in the previous step and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 3 px and then click that OK button.

Gaussian Blur

Step 9

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect the fill added in the previous step and duplicate it using that same Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 30%, and remove that Gaussian Blur effect.

Duplicate Selected Item

Step 10

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill and drag it above the existing ones.

Select this newest fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay, lower the Opacity to 20% and replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown below. Remember that the yellow number from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5 px Offset, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Scale-Vertical slider to -96%, don't forget to check the top middle reference point, and then click that OK button.

Linear Gradient

Step 11

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the stroke, make it black, set the size to 6 px, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 2 px, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset and then click the OK button.

Black Stroke

Step 12

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect that stroke, lower its Opacity to 25%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

ABCD

5. How to Save and Use Graphic Styles

Step 1

Make sure that your text is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles), and simply click that New Graphic Style button.

New Graphic Style

Step 2

Finally, you can add new text and use your saved graphic styles as shown below.

Graphic Styles

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.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration on GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

Final Product
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