Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Retro
Design

How to Create a Warm, Retro Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps you will learn how to create a warm, retro text effect in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters, you will learn how to create the background, how to work with radial gradients, and how to apply built-in patterns. Using a simple piece of text and taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will learn how to create the final text effect. You will learn how to work with multiple fills and stroke and how to stylize them using effects or blending techniques.

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 Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 650 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.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

You should also 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. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 860 x 660 px rectangle, and make sure that it covers your entire artboard. Fill it with the radial gradient shown below and use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your gradient as shown in the following image.

radial gradient

Step 2

For this step you will need one of the built-in patterns. Focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), open the fly-out menu, and go to Open Swatch Library > Pattern > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. This will open a new panel with a bunch of built-in patterns.

Select your rectangle, move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select the new fill and simply apply the Crosses pattern.

pattern

Step 3

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the top fill, lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Color Burn, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

film grain

3. How to Add the Text

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Dokyo font and then set the size and the leading to 150 px. Simply click on the artboard and add your white (R=255 G=255 B=255) text.

type tool

Step 2

Make sure that your text stays selected. First, go to the Swatches panel and simply remove that white from your text color.

Next, move to the Appearance panel and click Add New Fill. Select the new fill and set its color to R=27 G=117 B=188.

add new fill

4. How to Create the Text Effect

Step 1

Make sure that your text stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill and apply that same Crosses pattern (now that you've already used it, you can also find it in the Swatches panel). 

Lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Color Burn, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Uncheck the Transform Objects box and check the Transform Patterns box, drag both Scale sliders to 50%, and then click OK. Be sure that your patterned fill is still selected and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

pattern text

Step 2

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

Select the stroke, set the color to R=0 G=73 B=113 and the Weight to 4 px, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 0.1 px, enter 40 in that Copies box, and then click the OK button.

stroke

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button.

Select this new stroke, set the color to R=255 G=200 B=50 and the Weight to 4 px, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset and click OK.

add new stroke

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third stroke using that same Add New Stroke button.

Select this new stroke, set the color to R=0 G=73 B=113 and the Weight to 1 px, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset and click OK.

blue stroke

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a new fill.

Drag it below the existing fills, set the color to R=24 G=42 B=62, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to -0.1 px, enter 30 in that Copies box, and then click OK.

transform

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a new fill.

Drag it below the existing fills, set the color to R=24 G=42 B=62, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 0.1 px, enter 140 in that Copies box, and then click OK.

3D

Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a new fill.

Drag it below the existing fills and set the color to R=24 G=42 B=62. Change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 0.1 px, enter 250 in that Copies box, and then click OK.

shading

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 at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.