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Design

How to Create a Football Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a football text effect and also a football field background to go along with it. At the beginning, you'll create the football pattern and the shape of the letters. Next, you'll give some dimension to the letters and apply the pattern, followed by the highlights and shadows.

If you love football or sports in general or maybe you need more text effects in your life, be sure to check out Envato Market for inspiration. You'll surely find what you're looking for there. Let's begin!

Tutorial Assets

To complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:

1. Start a New Project

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions, and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Make sure that Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and, while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

open new illustrator document

2. Create the Football Pattern

Step 1

First, take the Polygon Tool, click on your artboard, and enter the settings shown to draw a small hexagon. While the shape stays selected, go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points in order to add an extra point in the middle of each side.

draw a hexagon

Step 2

Multiply the hexagon and arrange five of them, one below the other, to create the first row. (1). For the second row, arrange six new hexagons on the right side of the first row (2). Select and duplicate the first two rows and arrange them on the right side (3). Duplicate the last two rows and arrange them on the right side again (4).

Select some of the hexagons and give them a black fill color. For the rest of the hexagons, select a 1 pt gray Stroke. Now, the football pattern is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes (5).

compose the football pattern

3. Prepare the Letters

Step 1

Take the Type Tool (T) and write “Sport” on your artboard using the Geist Knt Font at a size of 145 pt. After that, choose Expand from the Object menu and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G).

Take a look at the Appearance panel and see if your letters are paths or compound paths. If the answer is compound paths then go to Object > Compound Path > Release.

type and expand the text

Step 2

Spread the letters to have more space between them, and delete the letter “O”. Instead, draw a 119 x 119 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L).

create letter O

4. Match the Letters With the Pattern

Step 1

Focus on the letter “S” and move the pattern over the letter. At first, match the bottom right corner point of the letter with the corner point of the black hexagon as indicated. You still need to make a few small adjustments, so grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move some of the points to the correct spot.

The purpose here is to align the corner points of the letter with the corner or middle points of the black hexagons. Do not modify the pattern, only the letter. 

match letter S with the football pattern

Step 2

Make a copy of the pattern and move it over the letter “P”. Match the bottom left point of the letter with the corner point of the hexagon, as indicated. After that, make the extra adjustments needed. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move and align the other points with the corners of the hexagon.

Make another copy of the pattern and move it over the letter “O”. We'll get back to this one later.

match letters P and O with the football pattern

Step 3

Do the same thing for the letters “R” and “T”.

match letters R and T with the football pattern

Step 4

If needed, spread the letters with their pattern to see everything better. At this point, you may have some rows of hexagons in the pattern that don't come into contact with the letters. Select those and delete them to save some space.

delete extra hexagons in the football pattern

5. Give Dimension to the Letters

Step 1

Go the Layers panel and hide the five pattern groups for the moment using the visibility eye. Fill the letters with the linear gradient shown, at a 90 degrees Angle.

Before you continue, make copies of the letters because you will need them later in the tutorial. 

color the letters

Step 2

While the five letters stay selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of -8 px. As a result, you will get five smaller letters in front.

Fill the smaller letters with the linear gradient shown at a 90 degrees Angle and, after that, move them 2 px to the left and 2 px upwards by pressing twice on the Left Arrow key and the Up Arrow key on your keyboard.

create and move smaller letters

Step 3

Draw three 40 x 38 px ellipses filled with white and arrange them in the top left side of the letters “P”, “O”, and “R”. For the letter “S”, draw a 14 x 72 px ellipse, and for the letter “T”, draw a smaller 10 x 60 px ellipse.

Drag a selection over the letter “S” to select all three shapes, and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 30 Specified Steps and hit OK; then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Repeat the same thing for the other letters. 

blend the letters

6. Apply the Pattern to the Letters

Step 1

Let's make some adjustments for the letter “O”. Select the pattern group (1); then go to Effect > Warp and apply the Inflate and Fisheye effects in order to obtain the rounded look (2).

Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and rotate the pattern about 25 degrees. Choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu to expand the effects applied, and then reposition the pattern so that you have a black hexagon in the center and six hexagons on the sides of the circle (3). 

distort football pattern over letter O

Here are the settings for the Inflate, Fisheye, and Transform effects:

Inflate FIsheye Transform settings

Step 2

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only one of the black hexagons (1) and then go to Select > Same > Fill Color. As a result, Illustrator will select all the black hexagons at once for you (2). Replace the black fill color with the shade of gray indicated (3). 

recolor the black hexagons in football pattern

Step 3

Now, grab the copies of the original letters that you made earlier and set them to stroke-none and fill-none. Bring them in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]).

Select the copy of the letter “S” along with the pattern group and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same thing for the other letters.

mask the football pattern

Step 4

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only one of the stroked hexagons in the pattern (1) and then go to Select > Same > Stroke Color. As a result, Illustrator will select all the stroked hexagons for you (2). Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) and then in the Stroke panel, increase the Weight to 2 pt and select Align Stroke to Inside. For visual reasons, I've changed the stroke color to blue (3).

create highlight shapes

Step 5

Select all the blue hexagons from above the letter “S” and Group (Control-G) them. While the group stays selected, choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu to turn the strokes into fills. Repeat the same thing for the other letters (1).

Fill the five new groups of shapes with the linear gradient shown at a -45 degrees Angle (2). Name each group “hexagon highlights”.

color highlight shapes

Step 6

Select only the “hexagon highlights” group from above the letter “S” and, in the Layers panel, drag it under the mask that you made earlier and under the pattern. Work with each letter, one at a time, and do the same thing. 

mask highlight shapes

Step 7

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the gray filled hexagons from under the mask, but only the bigger ones. Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V), and then select another fill color. With the blue shapes still selected, go to File > Scripts > Round Any Corner and apply a Radius of 3 to obtain the rounded corners. 

create new big hexagons

Step 8

With the blue shapes still selected, change the fill color to black. Add a New Fill above and use the linear gradient shown at a -45 degrees Angle. Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and in the Scale field type 95%

apply settings to new big hexagons

Step 9

Now, you need to mask the new hexagons, but only where needed. Grab a copy of the letter “S”, bring it in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]), and set to stroke-none and fill-none. Next, select the three new hexagons from above the letter “S” along with the copy of the letter “S” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same thing for the letters “R” and “T”. 

mask new black hexagons

Step 10

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select all the smaller gray hexagons from under the mask, and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V). For visual reasons, I've changed the fill color to green. 

create new small hexagons

Step 11

While the green shapes stay selected, change the fill color to black. Add a New Fill above and use the linear gradient shown. Next, go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of -1 px

apply settings to new small hexagons

Step 12

It's time to mask the new hexagons. Grab a copy of the letter “P”, for example, bring it in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]), and set to stroke-none and fill-none. Now, select the three new hexagons from above the letter “P” along with the copy of the letter “P” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Work with each letter at a time and do the same thing. 

mask new small hexagons

7. Add Texture to the Letters

Step 1

At this point you can move the letters closer to each other in the final position. Grab a copy of each letter and bring them in front of everything. While the copies are selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) and then fill the resulting compound path with black. 

create a compound path from letters

Step 2

While the compound path stays selected, go to Effect > Sketch > Note Paper and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 40%.

Move this compound path under all the black hexagons in the Layers panel because you want the texture to be visible only on the “white” part of the letters. 

create texture on the letters

8. Add Highlights on the Black Hexagons

Step 1

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the bigger black hexagons from under the masks, and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V). While the copies stay selected, choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu and then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). As a result, the two existing appearances of the black hexagons will turn into two separate shapes. For visual reasons, I've changed the fill colors to blue and pink.

Select all the blue shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). After that, select all the smaller pink shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). Before you continue, make a copy of the two compound paths for later use. 

create new compound paths from hexagons

Step 2

Bring the blue compound path above the pink compound path and move it 2 px down by pressing the Down Arrow key twice and 1 px to the right by pressing the Right Arrow key once.

Now, select the two compound paths and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. As a result, you will get the thin shapes in the upper left side of the black hexagons. Group (Control-G) all of them and name the group “up highlights”.

create highlight shapes in the upper left

Step 3

Fill all the thin shapes that you have obtained in the previous step with the linear gradient shown, at a 45 degrees Angle

color the highlight shapes in the upper left

Step 4

Now you need the copies of the blue and pink compound paths that you made earlier. Bring the blue compound path in front of the pink compound path and move it 2 px upward by pressing the Up Arrow key twice and 1 px to the left by pressing the Left Arrow key once.

Select the two compound paths and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. As a result, you will get the thin shapes in the lower right side of the black hexagons. Group (Control-G) all of them and name the group “down highlights”.

create highlight shapes in the lower right

Step 5

Fill all the thin shapes that you have obtained in the previous step with the linear gradient show at a -60 degrees Angle

color highlight shapes in the lower right

Step 6

Make a copy of the compound path that you used for the texture earlier in the tutorial and remove all the existing appearances. Bring this copy in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]) (1).

Now, select this copy along with the “up highlights” and “down highlights” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (2). You can see the result in the image below (3).

mask all highlight shapes

Step 7

Zoom and focus on the letter “S”. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a shape over the black hexagon as shown in the close-up (1). Multiply the orange shape and arrange a copy over the other black hexagons but only on the ones that are entirely visible. For the letter “O”, scale and rotate the shape to make it fit.

Fill all these shapes with the linear gradient shown at a 90 degrees Angle (2). Group (Control-G) all of them and then set the group to Blending Mode Screen and 40% Opacity (3). 

add shine to black hexagons

9. Create the Background

Step 1

Let's create a football field background. First, create a new layer in the Layers panel behind the one with the text effect.

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a 850 x 600 px rectangle which is the size of your artboard. Fill it with the radial gradient shown. Add a New Fill above the first, keeping the same gradient, and go to Effect > Texture> Grain. Apply the settings shown and, after that, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create the grass football field background

Step 2

Draw eight 55 x 600 px rectangles filled with black, and then Group (Control-G) them and reduce the Opacity of the group to 10%.

create stripes on football field background

Step 3

Select the big rectangle and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V). Fill the new rectangle with a radial white to black gradient and then set it to Blending Mode Multiply and 20% Opacity

create new background rectangle

Step 4

Use the Line Segment Tool (\) to draw four straight paths with a 4 pt white Stroke around the background. After that, draw the halfway line, followed by a 182 x 182 px circle in the center. 

draw the lines on the football field background

Step 5

Next, draw two 116 x 314 px rectangles on the sides, followed by two smaller 35 x 142 px rectangles to define the penalty area. They have a 2 pt white Stroke.

Continue with the goal area, which is made of a bunch of vertical and horizontal lines having a 0.5 pt white Stroke and, after that, the background is ready.

draw the goal area on the football field background

10. Create the Shadow

Make a copy of the compound path that you have used for the texture and remove all existing appearances. Move this compound path to a new layer behind the text effect but in front of the background.

Fill the compound path with black and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect four times. 

add shadow to letters

Here are the settings for the Drop Shadow effects:

drop shadow settings

Congratulations! You're Done

The football text effect is ready now. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and don't forget to show me your recreations of this effect. I always love to see your work.

football text effect final image
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