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How to Install and Use a Graphic Style in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Graphic Styles can be a wonderful asset to any illustration or graphic creation in Adobe Illustrator. In this quick tip tutorial, we'll source and download a stock graphic style from Envato Market, install the style, use and edit it. Let's get going!

1. Download and Install the Graphic Style

Step 1

For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll be using the Diamonds & Gold Graphic Style Plus Diamond Pattern purchased and downloaded from Envato Market.

Download your file and unzip your folder. If you're on a Mac, simply Double-Click. If you're using Windows, Right-Click and hit Extract All.

The graphic style file is located in the folder labeled Place this file in Illustrator App.

Download and unzip your graphic style stock files

Step 2

We're going to move the actions file into the preset Actions folder. On a Mac, you'll likely find it as Applications/Adobe Illustrator CC 2015/Presets/en_US/GraphicStyles. This will vary according to your version. For Windows users, you'll likely find it as C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CC 2015\Presets\en_US\GraphicStyles unless you've specified a different location for your program and related files to be saved.

Copy the diamond_style.ai file into your preset folder (specified above). Now you'll be able to easily retrieve your style from the Graphic Styles panel itself.

Paste your graphic style file into the preset folder

2. Applying Graphic Styles

Step 1

Let's start with one of the files provided in the download: diamond_style.ai. The Artboard is already filled with some graphics with the two graphic styles applied as seen below.

check out the graphic style applied to stock graphics within the provided ai file

Step 2

Create a New Layer and hide the other graphic layers in the Layers panel. Using a shape tool, such as the Star Tool, draw a simple star within the Artboard.

create a new layer and new object with the star tool

Step 3

Open the Graphic Styles panel. In it you'll see our two styles from this stock download: small diamonds and large diamonds.

Open the graphic styles panel and check out the downloaded styles

Step 4

Select your star shape and then select one of the styles from the Graphic Styles panel. Instantly your simple white star is transformed into a rendered, bejeweled star! Graphic Styles can instantly create a finished illustration or design, ready for assorted web and print media.

Apply your new graphic style to your object

3. Loading Graphic Styles Into a New Document

Step 1

What if you don't want to use the provided AI file? What if you want to load a Graphic Style into your new or working document? Let's do that now! Create a New Document in Adobe Illustrator and open the Graphic Styles panel. Notice how a handful of default styles are visible, but our new styles we used in the previous file are not.

Go to the panel's Options > Open Graphic Style Library > diamond_style in order to load the downloaded styles we placed in the preset folder previously.

Locate and load your graphic style file

Step 2

This time, use the Type Tool (T) to type out some text with the font of your choice. Apply the Graphic Style from the Graphic Styles panel. Your text will be rendered, but remain as editable text versus outlines.

4. Editing a Graphic Style

Step 1

Let's edit the style currently applied to our text. In the Appearance panel you can see everything that has gone into creating the style: brushes, patterns, and gradients. Note that the gradients are applied to Offset Paths, and the brush is a sparkling scatter brush that dances around the outside of the word.

check out the appearance panel to see everything that went into the graphic style

Step 2

With your text selected, select one of the gradients in the Appearance panel. Open the Gradient panel and you can adjust the Linear Gradient that's been applied to your design.

Open the gradient panel to edit gradients

Step 3

For example's sake, let's change the bronze gradient to a small rainbow. Edit, add, or delete colors as you see fit.

Change the gradient applied to the graphic style

5. Scaling the Graphic Style

Step 1

A common question is how to scale a graphic style once applied to an object. For this we start in Preferences (Control-K). You'll want to have both Transform Pattern Tiles and Scale Strokes & Effects selected in order to allow the style to transform fully with your object.

Youll want to have both Transform Pattern Tiles and Scale Strokes  Effects selected in order to allow the style to transform fully with your object

Step 2

With these two options selected, strokes, patterns, brushes, and effects all transform as any expanded object would. This allows you to Scale your object at your whim while its attributes remain easily editable.

With these two options selected strokes patterns brushes and effects all transform as any expanded object would

Step 3

Alternatively, if you deselect the two options, your style's attributes will remain constant and adapt to the changes you've made to your object. Whether you're ScalingRotating, or altering an object in another way, the style will adjust to the object. It's entirely up to you which options you'd like to enable and how you want your style to scale.

Deselecting the two options allows your style to adapt to your objects changes

Great Job, You're Done!

You can freely edit other aspects of your object from the Appearance panel without altering your Graphic Style file. Graphic Styles make it easy to render objects, text, and more within a design. Furthermore, you have the ability to edit them as you see fit, so long as the content you've downloaded allows for such edits to be made.

Graphic styles make text effects easy
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