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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects
Design

How to Create a Graffiti Text Effect in Illustrator

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

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a graffiti text in Illustrator using a graffiti text font. 

What You Will Learn in This Graffiti Text Effect Tutorial

  • How to use a graffiti text font in Illustrator
  • How to make text look like graffiti in Illustrator
  • How to import and use a graffiti spray brush in Illustrator
  • How to import and use a brick wall texture in Illustrator
  • How to create graffiti-style text in Illustrator
  • How to make a full graffiti design in Adobe Illustrator

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

What You Will Need

You will need the following resources in order to learn how to create graffiti text in Illustrator:

1. How to Create a New Document and How to Create Graffiti Text in Illustrator

Step 1

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 890 in the height box, and then click that More Settings 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 Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Street Hustle graffiti text font and set the size to 150 px.

Click on the artboard, type in your text, and center it.

graffiti text font

2. How to Make Text Look Like Graffiti in Illustrator

Step 1

Select your graffiti text, focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), and click that [None] swatch to remove the black text color.

Make sure that your text remains selected and go to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select that new fill and set its color to R=50 G=255 B=255.

graffiti text font

Step 2

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

Add a second fill and select it. Set the color to R=63 G=0 B=109 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

graffiti text effect

Step 3

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a third fill and select it. Set the color to R=50 G=255 B=255 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

Reselect this new fill and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to -2 px and then click OK.

graffiti effect illustrator

Step 4

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a fourth fill, select it, and drag it below the existing fills. Set its color to R=63 G=0 B=109 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

graffiti text style

Step 5

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a fifth fill, select it, and drag it below the existing fills. Set its color to R=63 G=0 B=109 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 10 px and then click OK.

graffiti text

Step 6

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a sixth fill, select it, and drag it below the existing fills. Set its color to R=148 G=16 B=239 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

Reselect this new fill and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 10 px and then click OK.

Focus on the Appearance panel and expand this new fill using the tiny arrow button. Click that Opacity piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel and lower the Opacity to 30%.

graffiti text effect

Step 7

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a seventh fill, select it, and drag it below the existing fills. Set its color to R=250 G=220 B=30 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 15 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

graffiti text style

Step 8

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add an eighth fill, select it, and drag it below the existing fills. Set its color to R=250 G=220 B=30 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 10 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK.

Reselect this new fill and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 10 px and then click OK.

graffiti effect illustrator

3. How to Apply a Graffiti Brush in Illustrator

Step 1

Before you continue learning how to make a graffiti text in Illustrator, let's import the Splatter & Smear Brushes Pack. Open the fly-out menu from the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and go to Open Brush Library > Other Library. Now let's use the first graffiti brush in Illustrator.

Reselect your graffiti text and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke, drag it below the existing fills, and apply the Drip 11 art brush. Set its color to R=232 G=0 B=140 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 15 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK. Reselect the stroke and go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add.

graffity text effect

Step 2

Make sure that your graffiti text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and let's use another graffiti brush in Illustrator.

Add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button, select it, and drag it below the existing stroke. Apply the Drip 10 art brush, set its color to R=148 G=16 B=239, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 15 px Offset, set the Joins to Round, and click OK. Reselect this new stroke and go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add.

This will be the fully editable part of your graffiti effect in Illustrator. You can save this graffiti text style using the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and simply apply the same appearance attributes to a different graffiti text font.

graffiti text style

Step 3

Now that you know how to make graffiti text in Illustrator, let's learn how to add a graffiti spray brush in Illustrator and how to improve the look of this graffiti in Adobe Illustrator.

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Drop 5 scatter brush. Spread some splatters around your graffiti text, as shown in the following image.

graffiti spray brush illustrator

Step 4

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Drop 7 scatter brush. Add some splatters to your graffiti text, as shown in the following image.

graffiti scatter brush illustrator

Step 5

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Drop 3 scatter brush. Use this Illustrator graffiti spray brush several times, as shown in the following image.

graffiti spray brush illustrator

Step 6

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Splat/Drop 2 art brush. Add a dripping splatter next to your graffiti text, as shown in the following image.

graffiti dripping brush illustrator

Step 7

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Smear 2 art brush. Add a smear path to your graffiti text, as shown in the following image.

graffiti smear brush illustrator

Step 8

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select the Splat/Drop 4 art brush. Use this Illustrator graffiti spray brush several times, as shown in the following image.

graffiti drop brush illustrator

4. How to Complete Your Graffiti in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a shape that covers your entire artboard. Set its color to R=34 G=30 B=31 and send it to the back (Shift-Control-[).

graffiti effect illustrator background

Step 2

Import the 12th brick wall texture from the Vector Brick Wall textures pack and resize it to fit your artboard, as shown in the following image.

brick wall texture

Step 3

Select your brick wall texture, lower its Opacity to 70%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

graffiti text effect overlay

Step 4

Select that dark background rectangle, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to the front (Shift-Control-]).

Change the color of this new shape to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 25%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

graffiti text effect texture

Congratulations! Your Adobe Illustrator Graffiti Tutorial Is Complete!

Here is how your Illustrator graffiti effect should look. I hope you've enjoyed this Adobe Illustrator graffiti tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don't hesitate to share your final graffiti text effect in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust this Illustrator graffiti effect and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your graffiti-style text.

how to create graffiti text in illustrator

Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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