40 Adobe Illustrator Text Effect Tutorials

October 25th, 2009

By Paul Andrew

Which one is better for manipulating text, Photoshop or Illustrator? There is no clear and defined answer. What is clear is that Illustrator, being mainly used used for creating seamless vector images, allows the user a greater degree of accuracy, control, and precision. Of course this depends on the hand controlling the mouse. So, if you are looking to simply manipulate text, then Photoshop would be your choice. If your goal is to create beautiful and original typographic art, then it has to be Illustrator.

In this Illustrator tutorial round-up, there are over 40 text effects, or if you prefer typographic effects, to help you learn new techniques and expand your typographic repertoire.

Of course, as any good graphic designer knows, being knowledgeable in one graphic editor limits your creativity. To accomodate this, we have included some tutorials that will require the additional knowledge of Photoshop and even some 3D software to give your text that added awesomeness.

Illustrator Text Effect Tutorials

Smokin’ Western Type Treatment
In this easy tutorial, you will create a western type treatment mainly using Illustrator's Effects. Using the effects from this tutorial, you can easily apply them to other type treatment and logos.

Illustrator Text Effects

3D Typography
In this in-depth tutorial you will undoubtedly learn new techniques, as well as finely tune some old. Upon completeing this intense walk though, you will be able to explore even new ways of creating fresh and unique typefaces.

Illustrator Text Effects

Ornate Lettering
In this tutorial you will learn how to create ornate lettering from sketches and vectors in Illustrator, make it three-dimensional in 3ds Max and fine-tune the final result in Photoshop.

Illustrator Text Effects

Add Decorative Glamour to Your Ordinary Script Font
Rather than choosing a fancy font from some of the free font sites, this tutorial shows you how to be creative and give some extra sparkle to your ordinary font, creating a typographic design which can stand by itself.

Illustrator Text Effects

Stunning and Detailed Typography
In this tutorial you will create a text effect inspired by graphic designer Sumeco, whose typographic style is very detailed, organic, and often uses 3d renders to assist the visual appearance of the type.

Illustrator Text Effects

Giving Your Flat Text Some Depth
This tutorial shows you a technique to adding shadow to your text and giving your boring and flat text an extra dimension and bringing it to life.

Illustrator Text Effects

Bling Bling Text Effect
In this tut you will learn how to create the 'Bling-Bling' texture and how to apply it to any text within Illustartor.

Illustrator Text Effects

Tackle Twill
Tackle twill is a widely used embroidery technique that involves sewing down nylon twill to a garment with zig zag stitching. This tutorial will show you how to recreate the tackle twill look with Illustrator’s Appearance palette.

Illustrator Text Effects

Swirly Type
Using free fonts, some brushes, and gradients you will learn how to create this swirly type treatment.

Illustrator Text Effects

Trendy Retro Type
Recreate this trendy retro type treatment , using a free font, gradients, blends, and some scatter brushes.

Illustrator Text Effects

Environmentally Friendly Green Type
In this Illustrator tutorial, you will be shown how to create a Green type treatment, that works great for logos and other design elements.

Illustrator Text Effects

Neon Text Effect

Illustrator Text Effects

BluePrint Type
Learn how to recreate this impressive, but simple, blueprint text effect, using a blend of live effects, filters, and a little gradient mesh.

Illustrator Text Effects

Gradient Strokes
This technique uses the Appearance panel and effects to create editable gradient strokes in Illustrator, and create a simple yet effective text effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

Cool Water Effect
You will learn how to use the mesh tool to create the water droplets and use the symbol sprayer tool to disperse the water droplets.

Illustrator Text Effects

Fun Eye Catching Text
In this tutorial you’ll explore the many ways you can manipulate text in Illustrator. By combining color and effects, you can create really fun and eye-catching text in no time at all.

Illustrator Text Effects

Warp Text Inside A Heart
In this tutorial, you will learn how to combine the text wrap and heart shape together to achieve the text effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

Old School Type – Line Gradients
You can use this effect with any typeface or font by following the principles outilined in this tutorial, and add that cool “line gradient” effect that you see inside the actual lettersn giveing the text an old-school or vintage feel to it.

Illustrator Text Effects

Dream Design with 3D Typography
In this tutorial, you’re going to create a 3D Typography based design, with all the elements revolving around the centerpiece and theme: dreaming.

Illustrator Text Effects

Sticker Text and Graphic Effect
In this tutorial, you will be shown how to create, the popular, sticker style effect in Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator Text Effects

Letterpress Styled Text
Utilizing the Appearance panel and Graphic Styles, you can quickly and consistently apply this style to any editable text and other vector objects and create, the popular, the letterpress effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

3D Text and Paint Effects
In this tut, you’ll learn how to employ 3D extrusion techniques by creating elements in Illustrator for import into Photoshop; you’ll also hone your brush and drawing skills, and learn how to achieve this wonderfully subtle, cloudy background and the bold but not too in-yourface highlights.

Illustrator Text Effects

Stunning and Bold 3D Text
Learn a method for creating attractive 3D text that features some beautiful lighting and textured effects, using Adobe Illustrator for the text and Photoshop to help finish the effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

Cartoon Style
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create the cartoon style of text often seen on cereal boxes.

Illustrator Text Effects

Grunge Effect
This is a simple tutorial which will show you how to give grunge effect to your text , the beauty of using this technique is that you get text that can be scaled to any size without loosing its clarity.

Illustrator Text Effects

Turn Any Font Into a Sketch Font

Illustrator Text Effects

Dynamic Burberry Text
You will learn how to create dynamic art, vector art that isn’t destructive to the vector paths and give the text a burberry style.

Illustrator Text Effects

Stylish Colorful Text Effect
In this tutorial you will be shown how to make this cool colorful text effect using a vector image, and learn how to use the appearance palette and how to use the blending mode effectively.

Illustrator Text Effects

Type Tecnique Using Shapes
In this tutorial you will learn a technique for using shapes as type, and using this to create a very impressive text effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

Zee Logo

Illustrator Text Effects

Tug and Twirl Text
In this tut you will learn a technique for converting Illustrator text to outlines.

Illustrator Text Effects

Distress Text
Traditionally, if you wanted distressed-looking text in your designs, you either had to have a typeface that was designed to look that way or you had to apply filters to the text in Adobe Photoshop. With Adobe Illustrator, you can use the Live Trace feature to achieve a similar effect.

Illustrator Text Effects

Vibrant 3D Pixel Type
In this tutorial,using a free font, gradients, and Illustrator 3D filter, you will easily create this type treatment that you can apply to many other fonts.

Illustrator Text Effects

3D Lighted Text

Illustrator Text Effects

Textured Grungy 3D Type Design
In this tutorial you’ll look at creating a cool grungy design based around some abstract 3D type, then apply a few finishing touches to really bring the design to life.

Illustrator Text Effects

Playful Yet Robust 3D Letter Design

Illustrator Text Effects

Rocky 3D Text
In this tutorial you will learn how to distress your own type, turn it into a 3-dimensional shape and then apply some hand drawn styling to it.

Illustrator Text Effects

Emboss Text Effect

Illustrator Text Effects

Creating Swirly Type
In this tutorial you will explore the "Average" command in Adobe Illustrator, and learn how to use it to create abstract swirls using relatively simple methods and apply it to type.

Illustrator Text Effects

Working with Type in Illustrator
This tut focuses on using type in Illustrator to create a bold, eye-catching message, useing a ‘type as image’ style of typography. This style is both popular and effective for communicating strong messages visually.

This tutorial is not so much a text effect, it is more of an indepth look at typography within Illustartor.

Illustrator Text Effects

Create 3-D Text with Extreme Lighting
In this tutorial you are going to take an object/text and change it from 2-D to 3-D and then give it some realistic effects. You will be using Illustrator to create the object, then bring it into Photoshop to add highlights and shadows.

Illustrator Text Effects

Stunning, 3D, Sunset Type Illustration
Using multiple platforms you will learn how to create a warm and sunny typographic treatment. You'll use C4D (or any other 3d software) to create the text, Illustrator for several decorative motifs, and Photoshop to bring them all together.

Illustrator Text Effects

Making an Ambigram
An ambigram is typographical design where the word looks and reads the same when it is upside down, or flips to create a whole new word. There are many types of ambigrams, in this tutorial you will learn the most basic type, a rotational ambigram – the visual representation of a word that when rotated 180 degrees (i.e. flipped both vertically and horizontally), it spells the same word as before.

Illustrator Text Effects

Glyph Panel
Glyphs would not be the first thing you would think of when setting out to create a cool text effect, is it? Used properly, glyphs can be quite effective, and in this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a font monster made entirely out of a single typeface.

Illustrator Text Effects

About the author

Paul Andrew is a freelance web designer. He is chief admin for Speckyboy – Design Magazine, a web design, web development and graphic design resource blog. Follow him on Twitter here:

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42 comments for „40 Adobe Illustrator Text Effect Tutorials
  1. Stanislav Kirilov on October 25th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Thanks, very nice tutorials ;)

  2. klaus on October 25th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    very nice collection :)

  3. Windy May on October 25th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I am sooo excited to try some of these tuts – especially explore the ‘Working with Type in Illustrator’ one.

    Thanks for the awesome resource.

    Stumbled AND Bookmarked.


    Windy May

  4. Aphichat Panjamanee on October 25th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Very good collection and usefull.

  5. esranull on October 25th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    wooww it s wonderfull

  6. joyoge bookmark on October 25th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    very nice .ai tutorials, thanks a lot..

  7. squareart on October 25th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Nice one:) Seen a couple of these, but there are some nice additions. Thanks

  8. cooledit on October 25th, 2009 at 11:57 pm


  9. Web 2.0 on October 26th, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Excellent collection!

  10. Mauro on October 26th, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for Sharing, some are very “popular” but also there’s others that i’ve never seen before :D

  11. Minneapolis Web Design Guy on October 26th, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Wow, this covers just about every type of text effect you could possibly want. Nice job collecting!

  12. designfollow on October 26th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    thanks for this great post.

  13. Edward on October 26th, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Wow!..Thank you for this. Will come in handy.

  14. Rogerio Fratin on October 26th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    GREAT tutorials, man! Thannx!

  15. Vivek Mahadik on October 28th, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Love Stumble Upon. Thanks for the great info!

  16. Fast Lion Design on October 29th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Great article. I appreciate the time you took to pull all of this together.

    Question: Have any of you Illustrator experts tried Inkscape, the open source software that also is made to create vector images? Does Inkscape compare in quality to Illustrator?

    I use Photoshop for almost everything. And I have only fooled around a little in Inkscape — it was a little buggy when I used it. Just wondering what you think.


  17. Autonomy on October 31st, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Paul, this is awesome. Thanks for all the tutorials!

  18. sivakumar on November 1st, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I am not using illustrator currently but after seeing this i am going to use that

    • Alan on November 2nd, 2009 at 2:55 pm

      I’m really happy to have my cartoon style cereal box logo included in your list! Thanks!

  19. ali on November 4th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    l like the list very good and nice to read.

  20. boat on November 11th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    great tutorials

  21. Brian on November 26th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Love any type of tutorial that involves typography. My only problem with a tutorial is to make sure the text on the tutorial itself that we are creating is spelled correctly…check out the “NO VACANY” I would hope they meant “NO VACANCY” OOPS!

  22. golf on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:30 am

    very nice, thanks a lot

  23. Sam Stephen on January 7th, 2010 at 12:30 am

    these tutorials are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Itsashirt T shirts on January 13th, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Some i have seen before, but there are some interesting new ones, thnx for the tutorials

  25. Lefty Argonaut on May 9th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Great list! I especially enjoy the tutorials that combine Illustrator and Photoshop with 3D programs to really bring the type to life.

  26. Julian on July 5th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I love the collections they all look so amazing, especially the environmental and the dream design, love, love love it all.

  27. Prime on September 15th, 2010 at 5:05 am

    wow., some awesome tuts..

  28. W3 Promoter on October 2nd, 2010 at 7:25 am

    really awesome tutorials. i like all of them…


  29. Brett Widmann on November 17th, 2010 at 3:12 am

    This is a really cool collection of tutorials. Thanks for sharing.

  30. cahyo on November 28th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    cool….very nice collection

  31. Design Panoply on February 5th, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Some cool stuff here. I haven’t seen a few of these.

    We have a few you might like too :)

  32. fijea on February 14th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    thanks for sharing it! :)

  33. chrism on February 27th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    thanks for sharing.great tutorials!

  34. Susan McLoughlin on April 2nd, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Wow! Thank you so very much for taking the time and love to post these wonderful tutorials for someone like me. How generous you are!

  35. Rama Mohan A on April 24th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Excellent Designs. Thanks for sharing

  36. bayanmagazin on April 25th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    very nice effect and cool :). thanks for sharing :)

  37. yuvaraj on May 14th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    thank u very much, these tuts r good.

  38. jeanette on May 16th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing, just what I was looking for.

  39. Adam on July 6th, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Love these! Nice work man. Used a couple today already.

  40. vaneet on September 1st, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Love any type of tutorial that involves typography. My only problem with a tutorial is to make sure the text on the tutorial itself that we are creating is spelled correctly…check out the “NO VACANY” I would hope they meant “NO VACANCY” OOPS!

  41. David Fitzgerald on March 31st, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Very comprehensive collection! Was looking for logo inspiration for a client using typography and found it! Thanks for sharing!