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How to Make a Retro Text Effect in Illustrator

How to Make a Retro Text Effect in Illustrator

Illustrator Vector Effects

When you want to make any kind of text effect, most of the time I immediately think to use Photoshop. But Photoshop isn't the only tool that can make incredible text effects — Illustrator can be just as powerful, and sometimes much faster. Today, I'll show you how you can make a Retro Text Effect in Illustrator using nothing but the Appearance Panel while keeping your text fully editable.​

Step 1

Open Illustrator and make a new file at any size you want. In this case i will make mine at 1800 x 1200 px.

Step 2

With the Type Tool (T) type your text. In this case, i will be using the HWT Artz font at 560 pt but you can use any font you want.

Step 3

In the Toolbar set the Fill and Stroke of the text to none.

Step 4

With the text selected, go to Window > Appearance.

Step 5

Add 3 new strokes by clicking 3 times on the "Add New Stroke" icon.

Step 6

Add 2 new fills by clicking 2 times on the "Add New Fill" icon.

Step 7

Click and drag the Fill layers above the last Stroke layer as shown.

Step 8

Set the first Stroke to 10 pt and use any color you want. In this case, i will set mine to #e7d1a1.

Step 9

Set the second Stroke to 10 pt and use any other color you want. In this case, i will set mine to #292529.

Step 10

With the stroke layer selected, click on the FX icon and from the dropdown choose Distort & Transform > Transform. Apply the following settings in the Transform window and click OK.

Step 11

Select the first Fill layer. Click on the layer thumbnail and then on the Swatches Library Menu icon. From the dropdown select Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Dots.

Step 12

Select the "10 dpi 40%" pattern.

Step 13

In the Fill layer, click on "Opacity" and set the opacity to 50%.

Step 14

Select the second Fill layer and use any color you want. In this case, i will set mine to #c05c56.

Step 15

Set the third Stroke to 10 pt and use any other color you want. In this case, i will set mine to #292529.

Step 16

With the stroke layer selected, click on the FX icon and from the dropdown choose Distort & Transform > Transform. Apply the following settings in the Transform window and click OK.

Step 17

Lastly, click on "Opacity", set the mode to Multiply and the opacity to 20%.

Some Final Notes

By making this effect using the Appearance Panel, you can freely change the text, font and size to your liking without making the whole effect again as shown in the following examples.


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