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How to Create a Quick Retro Video Glitch Text Effect in Adobe InDesign

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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Want to give your type an edgy, Mad Max makeover? 

This super-quick glitch effect only takes 10 minutes to put together, and it makes a good substitute for lengthy or pricey Photoshop actions. 

If you want to make your design really unique, you can easily switch up the font to create a very different look. Head over to GraphicRiver or Envato Elements to source perfect fonts for your next project.

Let’s dive in!

What You’ll Need to Create Your Effect

As well as access to Adobe InDesign, you’ll also need:

1. How to Create a Backdrop for Your Text Effect

Step 1

Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document. Create a document at any size. Here, I’ve set the page to A3 Landscape. Then click OK

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and rename Layer 1 as Background. Create two new layers in this order: Type and Overlay.

Then lock all layers except Background, which we’ll work on first. 

locked layers

Step 2

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and create two new CMYK swatches:

  • Green: C=56 M=0 Y=65 K=0
  • Blue: C=54 M=0 Y=25 K=0
swatch options

Step 3

Choose New Gradient Swatch from the Swatches panel’s drop-down menu. 

new gradient swatch

Name the swatch Background Gradient, set the Type to Radial, and set the Stop Color to Swatches. Choose [Black] for the left-hand stop on the Gradient Ramp below, and choose Green for the right-hand stop. Then click OK

radial gradient

Step 4

Create a second new gradient swatch, naming this one Pink to Red and setting the Type to Linear.

Set the left stop to the Magenta (C=0 M=100 Y=0 K=0) swatch in the Swatches list, and the right stop to the Red (C=15 M=100 Y=100 K=0) swatch. 

pink to red gradient

Create a final Linear gradient swatch, naming it Blue to Green. Set the left stop to your Blue swatch, and the right stop to Green.

linear gradient

Step 5

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the whole page, setting the Fill to the Background Gradient swatch. 

Use the Gradient panel (Window > Color > Gradient) to reverse the Angle of the gradient if necessary, allowing the pale green color to extend outwards from the center of the page. 

radial gradient

Step 6

Use the Rectangle Tool (F) to create an image frame across the whole page. Go to File > Place, navigate to one of the glitch noise images from the texture pack you downloaded earlier, and click Open.

With the frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 80%. 


2. How to Create Your Glitch Typography

Step 1

Lock the Background layer and unlock the Type layer.

Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame on the page. Type in your text, here ‘GLITCH’, and set the Font to Bungee, or a font of your choice. 

From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to [Paper].

type text

Step 2

With the text frame selected go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Screen and Opacity to 85%.


Click on Outer Glow in the panel’s left-hand menu. Bring the Opacity down to around 50%.

outer glow

Click on Basic Feather in the left-hand menu. Set the Width to 0.125 in, Choke to around 20%, Corners to Rounded, and Noise to about 10%. Then click OK.

basic feather

Step 3

Select the text frame and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste in Place. Move it down and to the left a little, before Right-Clicking > Arrange > Send to Back. 

Adjust the Font Color of this pasted text to Blue to Green.

blue to green

Edit > Paste in Place again, adjusting the Font Color of this text to Pink to Red. Move the frame up and to the right a little. 

pink to red

Step 4

Once you’re completely happy with the formatting of your text, you can vectorize it to add more texture to the effect. 

Select all three text frames and head up to Type on the main menu. Choose Create Outlines. 

outlined text

Now that the text is vectorized, you can apply a Stroke Color to each word, in a color that matches the Fill

Then, with all three shapes selected, expand the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and set the Weight of the Stroke to 3 pt and Type to Wavy

wavy stroke

Step 5

You can add a final ‘ghost’ effect, by copying and pasting the white text, moving it behind the other text copies and setting the Transparency to Screen and 35% Opacity. 


3. How to Add Overlay Texture to Your Effect

Step 1

Lock the Type layer and unlock the top layer, Overlay

Create an image frame over the page using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and File > Place, dropping the same glitch texture image you used earlier (see 2.1, above).

glitch texture

Step 2

Go to Object > Effects > Transparency to set the Mode to Multiply and bring the Opacity down to 55%. 


Step 3

Click on Gradient Feather at the bottom of the left-hand menu, and apply a Radial gradient, beginning paler at the center of the page and becoming darker towards the edges, creating a spotlit effect. 

gradient radial


Your text effect is finished—great job! This is a fun, retro-inspired effect, which is great for adding a dystopian edge to your designs. 

You can find more great fonts for creating type effects over on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

final effect
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