Retro Text Effects with Adobe Illustrator’s Appearance Panel

How's it going everyone, this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Illustrator Today I'm going to show you some techniques for creating cool retro style text effects using Illustrator's Appearance panel, which preserves the live text so you can still edit the wording and change the font

Since we're working with retro type effects, the artwork we'll be producing is based on those old 'Come in, we're open' signs So open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document I'm using a generic A4 layout with Pixel units and the RGB colour mode Select the Rectangle tool and draw a shape to cover the artboard You can turn on Smart Guides from the View menu to help you snap to the artboard corners

Clear out the default black stroke, then double click the fill to enter a different colour I'm using a light blue of 130, 205, 255 in the RGB values Go to Object > Lock > Selection to avoid accidentally moving this background shape out of place Draw another rectangle on the artboard, this time more of a square shape in the centre Give it a fill of 255, 250, 235

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounder Corners, then alter the Radius to 100px Grab the Direct Selection tool and click the top right corner point Hold the Shift key and nudge it upwards and to the right a couple of times Select the other corner points and move them out of place to create an irregular shape Head to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter 10px

Switch the Fill and Stroke around for this new offset shape, then bump up the stroke weight to 8pt Currently the round corners don't run parallel to the original shape, so click the Round Corners option in the Appearance panel and increase it to 108px Adjust the size and position of these shapes then lock them with the Object > Lock > Selection menu Use the Type tool to lay out your chosen wording I'm using a font named SignPainter for the first words, which I'll link to down in the description if you fancy purchasing it yourself

Scale the text up in size and positioned towards the top of the background shapes Go to Object > Transform > Shear and check the Vertical option Change the shear angle to -10 degrees Hold the ALT key while dragging the text element to make a duplicate We can use the number 1 character to underline this word

Type it out, then right click and choose Create Outlines to convert to the text into a shape Begin rotating and stretching the shape to fit underneath the main text Go to Object > Transform > Reset Bounding Box to help stretch the shape further after it has been rotated Create a new type element and spell out the next words I'm using a font named Cervo, the Medium Italic variant in particular for this text

Set out the word OPEN in Cervo Medium, then scale and position all the text elements to size and align them up within the background shapes We'll treat the 'Come in' text and the underline and one element, so select them both and Group them together Clear out the black fill, then choose Add New Fill from the corner menu in the Appearance panel Use the Eyedropper tool to sample the blue background Multiple fills and strokes can be applied within the Appearance panel, which can help you produce creative effects by stacking them up

Add another fill from the menu, then double click the fill colour and enter 45, 30, 90, in the RGB values Drag this darker blue fill underneath the first fill, then click the little FX icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel and choose Distort & Transform > Transform Enter -1px and 1px in the Horizontal and Vertical Move options, then set the number of Copies to 10 Use the Eyedropper tool to sample the background shape colour as a stroke, then set the size to 15pt

You'll notice that each individual letter is outlined, which doesn't look right with this Script font You can fix this by choosing Pathfinder > Add from the FX menu Use the same technique to style up the next text element Start by clearing out the default black fill, then add a new fill in the Appearance panel Choose the dark blue of 45, 30, 90

Add another fill, and sample the pale background shape Drag it below the dark blue fill in the Appearance panel order Add a Transform Effect and set the Move values to -1px and 1px, then add 2 copies Drag this pale coloured fill onto the new icon to duplicate it, then change the colour to the light blue background Drag it to the bottom of the stack of fills

Expand the effects and click Transform to edit its settings Change the number of copies to 4 The effect is very similar to that used on the 'Come in' wording, except it uses just fills rather than a stroke You can layer up different fills to create some really cool effects Let's add some more effects to the big Open text

Clear out the default fill and add a new fill in the Appearance panel Choose a red of 250, 0 ,80 Add another fill, this time choosing the dark blue 45, 30, 90 colour Drag it to the bottom, or just edit the fill that's already underneath Add a Transform at -1 and 1px then set the number of Copies to 20 to produce a big 3D effect

Click on the red fill and add an Offset Path effect Set the Offset to -4px Add another fill, this time sampling the pale background colour Drag it between the Red and Blue colours Add an Offset to this fill too, but set the value at -2px

You can see how you can come up with some great text effects by layering up fills to produce alternating outlines and shadows Go to Object > Unlock All to make those background elements selectable again Retro designs always look great with a bit of texturing It is possible to add textures directly in Illustrator, but you get the best results working in Photoshop I'm going to be using one of my free rusty metal mockups, which you can download from my website

Draw a selection around everything in Illustrator and hit CMD+C (or CTRL C on Windows to Copy), then switch over to your chosen mockup in Photoshop I'm using number 19 from my pack Double click the Smart Object layer to edits its contents Paste in your graphic and scale it to size Press CMD+S to Save, then CMD+W to Close this Smart Object and return back to the main PSD

This mockup is designed for single colour logo graphics, so turn off the visibility of the Solid Fill, then add a Black and White adjustment layer above the background to remove the red colour from the original texture The final result is some great looking retro style type, made entirely in Adobe Illustrator's Appearance panel The best part is, this text is still editable in Illustrator, so you can change the wording and the font and still have the effects applied So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you did be sure to stick around by hitting the subcsribe button on my channel Check out some of my other videos for more Illustrator tips, as well as my website for more written tutorials and free design resources

Thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one!

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