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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects
Design

How to Create a Multi-Layered Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a fully editable, multi-layered text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

For starters, you will learn how to create a simple piece of text and how to stylize it. Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to add multiple fills for your text and how to easily adjust them. Using basic blending techniques and some blurs, you will learn how to add some extra shading.

The text, "G'mar Hatima Tova," is a Jewish greeting used on the holiday of Yom Kippur. It means: "May you be inscribed for good [in the Book of Life]."

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

1. How to Create a New Document and Add Text

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 760 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.

Open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. These options will significantly increase your work speed.

new document

Step 2

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Etna font and then set the size to 150 px and the tracking to 50. Move to the artboard, click on it, and type your text.

add text

2. How to Apply the Starting Effects

Step 1

Make sure that your text is selected, focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), and click that [None] swatch to remove the existing text color. Open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select it and set the color to R=0 G=56 B=184.

color none

Step 2

Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill.

Select this new fill, set the color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset and click OK.

add new fill

Step 3

Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill.

Select this new fill and drag it below the white one. Set the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Horizontal slider to -2 px and click OK.

black fill

Step 4

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

Select the black fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the bottom, black fill, increase its Opacity to 40%, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2 px Radius and click OK.

gaussian blur

3. How to Multiply the Effects

Step 1

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

Select the white fill along with the two black fills and duplicate them using that same Duplicate Selected Item button. Focus on these three new fills, open the Offset Path effects applied to each of these fills, and increase the Offset value to -4 px. Select the newly added white fill and change its color to R=0 G=56 B=184.

duplicate fill

Step 2

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

Again, select the top three fills and duplicate them. First, open the Offset Path effects applied to each of these new fills and increase the Offset value to -6 px, and then select the top fill and set its color to white.

duplicate fills

Step 3

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

Once again, select the top three fills and duplicate them. First, open the Offset Path effects applied to each of these new fills and increase the Offset value to -8 px, and then select the top fill and set its color to R=0 G=56 B=184.

duplicate fills

Step 4

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

One last time, select the top three fills and duplicate them. First, open the Offset Path effects applied to each of these new fills and increase the Offset value to -10 px, and then select the top fill and set its color to white.

duplicate fills

4. How to Add Extra Shading and a Background

Step 1

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

Add a new fill and drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, below the existing fills. Set the color to R=0 G=56 B=184, lower its Opacity to 10%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

transform effect

Step 2

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

Add a new fill and drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, below the existing fills. Set the color to R=0 G=56 B=184, lower its Opacity to 5%, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -4 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

transform effect

Step 3

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

Select the bottom fill and simply duplicate it. Select the new fill, increase its Opacity to 25% and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 10 px Radius and click OK.

gaussian blur

Step 4

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 850 x 760 px shape. Fill this new shape with white, make sure that it covers your entire artboard and send it back (Shift-Control-[).

background

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. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

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

final product

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