In the following steps you will learn how to create a fully editable text effect inspired by the colors of the German flag in Adobe Illustrator.
For starters, you will learn how to create a simple piece of text. Using the Appearance panel, four simple fills and several effects, you will learn how to create the final text effect. Finally, you will learn how to add a subtle texture and some overall shading to your final design.
We’ll be using a German proverb for the text: Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst. A literal English translation would be Starting is easy, persistence is an art. It highlights how starting something is much easier than seeing it through to the end. Keeping up your motivation is an art form in itself.
For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.
What You Will Need
You will need the following resource in order to complete this project:
1. How to Create a New Document and Create the Text
Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the Width box and 990 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.
You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Also, set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.
Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Robinson font and then set the size to 160 px and the tracking to 15. Move to your artboard, click on it, and type your text.
2. How to Create the Text Effect
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. This should make your text invisible, but don’t worry—we’ll fix it in the next step.
Make sure that your invisible text is still selected, open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill and set the color to R=255 G=206 B=0.
Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill.
Select this new fill, move it below the yellow one, set the color to R=221 G=0 B=0, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 1 px and enter 8 in the Copies box, and then click OK.
Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill.
Select this new fill, move it below the red one, set the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 1 px and enter 16 in the Copies box, and then click OK.
Make sure that your text stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a fourth fill.
Select this new fill and move it below the black one. Set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 50%, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Move sliders to 1 px and enter 24 in the Copies box, and then click OK.
Make sure that your text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Click that “Type” section to make sure that your entire text is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Set the Radius to 5 px and click OK.
3. How to Create a Background and Add Overall Shading
Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Set the Width to 870 px and the Height to 1010 px, and then click OK to create your rectangle.
Select this new shape, set the color to R=221 G=0 B=0, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the alignment to Artboard (open the fly-out menu and go to Show Options if you can’t see the Align To section as shown in the following image) and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. This will quickly move your rectangle to the center of the artboard.
Make sure that your red rectangle is still selected, add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).
Select this new shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill and replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown below. Lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your gradient as shown below.
Make sure that the rectangle added in the previous step is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button. Remove the Film Grain effect applied to this new fill and then increase the Opacity of the new fill to 100%.
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.