This tutorial will cover some helpful tools used to create an editable text effect in Illustrator. Sometimes, Illustrator can be overwhelming. The Un-intuitive use of layers, overlaying objects over one another just to get that visual effect. What if I told you that you can layer effects over each other without grouping and scale all objects in one click. That’s where the helpful Appearance panel comes in. With the appearance panel, we can create multiple strokes, fills and patterns to one object and then tie effects (like transform and warp) to each of those individual fills and strokes. This not only makes it maintainable to edit but also gives you the ability to save that effect for later and apply it to other objects and text as well. Our final project will look similar to the image below.

Create Editable Text Effect Final

Step 1

Before we start designing, we need to prepare a couple of colors and patterns into our swatch panel. Start drawing two Rectangles (M) and filling them with two colors (We chose a blue and tan combo). Now drag those colors into your Swatch Panel (you can also find it in the Windows Drop Down Menu). Next, type out your word and pull up the appearance panel. You will notice that you will have a fill color selected and most likely not have a stroke. You will be working mainly with these two panels for here on.

Editable Text Effect step 1

Step 3

To get the stripped effect in the image, We must create a stripped pattern. Go ahead and use the Pen Tool (P) to layout a line across your text. To get evenly spaced lines you can select that line, hold Alt or Opt and drag a copied line below the original. Next press Cmd + D / Ctrl + D to Duplicate the copy multiple times to get evenly spaced lines. Next, select all those lines and drag them into your Swatches Panel to get a new Fill Pattern that you can use. Make a Rectangle (M) and test your pattern. If you need to make adjustments, you can double click the swatch and make edits from the Pattern Options Panel.

Editable Text Effect step 2
Editable Text Effect step 2b

Step 4

Next, go to the Appearance Panel and click on the options panel in the top right corner of the panel. You will see an option for Add New Fill. Add Two New Fills (You should have three in total. The first Fill, fill it with the stripped pattern we created. The second Fill, fill it with white. The third Fill, fill it with a blue color. To make the blue fill look offset from the text, click on the FX button at the bottom of the Appearance Panel and select
Distort & Transform < Transform and Move the Horizontal & Vertical to 5px. Your project should now look similar to the image below.

Editable Text Effect step 3

Step 5

Next, we will repeat the process but instead of Adding New Fill, you want to select two Add New Stroke in the Appearance Panel (You should have three in total). The first stroke should be a white stroke at 2pt wide. The second should be a blue stroke at 4 pt wide. and the third should be a blue stroke at 4pt wide. The third stroke we will add the Transform effect again but only Move it 1px on both the Horizontal & Vertical. Your final appearance panel should look similar to the image below.

Editable Text Effect step 4

Step 6

Before committing the style into a Graphic Style. You may want to go back and adjust any colors and sizes to make sure that it looks the way you want it to. This is the biggest advantage to using the Appearance, this method is completely flexible no matter what stage of the design you are at. If you are happy with look of your style, go to Windows < Graphic Styles, select your text with effects and in the Graphic Styles Panel, Click the New Graphic Styles button. You have now saved the style which can now be used repeatedly on any new object you created.

Editable Text Effect step 5

Wrapping It Up

Go ahead and experiment with the new Graphic Style that you created. Create new vector objects and apply the style by simply clicking the style in the Graphic Styles Panel. This will help create a consistent look and feel for all the objects that you create from now on. Want to use it in another project? You can bring that style swatch over to a new project and save yourself the time and hassle of repeating yourself.

Editable Text Effect Final