Quick Tip: How to Make Retro Text with Illustrator Roughen Tool

Quick Tip: How to Make Retro Text with Illustrator Roughen Tool

Retro text and graphics are all the rage. Adding some vintage flair to your designs can easily help your designs transform into another era, but it's also important to remember that a lot of vintage designs are worn, weathered, and imperfect. In this quick tip, I'll show you how to quickly add some character to your design elements using the Roughen Tool in Illustrator.

Vintage and Retro Inspired Taffy Sign Tutorial Using Illustrator Roughen Effect

Step 1: Lay Out Your Text and Graphics

First, lay out your text and graphics in Illustrator. I've already added a Wave, Drop Shadow and Stroke to the "Taffy" text and added a taffy illustration. Taffy 10 cents retro text

Step 2: Apply the Roughen Tool

Select the text you wish to edit using the Selection Tool (V). In the menu, choose Effect → Distort & Transform → Roughen…. When the window pops up, check the Preview box so you can see what's going on. You can see that by default, the Size is set to 5%, Detail is at 10/in and Relative and Corner Points are selected. This produces quite a crazy effect. Roughen Effect in Distort and Transform in Illustrator

Step 3: Adjust the Options in the Roughen Tool Since we only want the text to be slightly imperfect, we can reduce the Size to 1px, change the positioning to be Absolute, and lower the Detail to 8/in. Also, it'll look less severe if we choose Smooth Points. Tweak the Size and the Detail until you get your desired look. Adjust the options on the Roughen effect tool in Illustrator

Step 4: Apply the Roughen Effect to Other Elements Once you have your Roughen Effect perfected for the text, you can easily apply the same effect to the other elements. With the Selection Tool, select the other elements in your design and then click Effect → Apply Roughen. Now all of your elements have that imperfect, vintage touch. Adjust if needed. Taffy sign has the roughen effect applied to text and images

Step 5: Finish in Photoshop

Once your text and image elements are perfected, you can drop these pieces into Photoshop. I've used the following resources to finish up: Again, here's our final product. Vintage and Retro Inspired Taffy Sign Tutorial Using Illustrator Roughen Effect Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

What are your favorite Effect tools in Illustrator?


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