Illustrator and Applying Texture to Text

Skill Level: Beginner

Texture is a really great thing to have within your graphic design pieces. It can be applied to any element such as images or text. Applying a texture to your major text elements can make your piece that much more interesting to the viewers of your work. Also, adding a texture to your text is incredibly easy, so give it a shot!

1. If you’re creating a new work, simply go to File>New>Select your settings>OK. For this tutorial, I chose an 8.5X11 art board size. If you’re not creating a new work go ahead and skip to step 4.

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2. Add a background to your piece by creating a rectangle that is the size of your art board. Go to your side bar menu on the left side of the screen and select the Rectangle Tool (or press M). Then click and drag from corner to corner on your art board. To change your rectangle’s color, select the rectangle, double click on the white square on the bottom of your side menu to bring up your fill color selector. Find a color that your like, for this tutorial I’m using a maroon color (#4C1212), then click OK.

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3. Next we’re going to create a new layer in order to add our text without interfering with the background. To do this go to your layers panel and click on the New Layer icon (it looks like a piece of paper). This made a new layer that is on top of your background color. For now on we will be working in Layer 2.

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4. Now we’re going to add our text. In the left side panel, select the Type Tool (or press T). Then click inside your work space and start typing whatever word(s) you’re working with. To change the font style, size, and color, press command+A (for Macs) or ctrl+A (for PCs). This will highlight the text you have just typed out. Then go up to your Character menu bar at the top of your work space and choose the font, font size, and color that you like. For this tutorial, I am using Stencil Std Bold, 72 pt, white (#FFFFFF).




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5. Next you will want to open your texture vector. It is ideal to use a vector image so that your texture is never pixelated while it is in use no matter what size it is. For this tutorial, I am using a texture that I downloaded from an online source. To use the same texture, go to To open your texture go to File>Open>Downloads>Vector-Textures>Vector Textures.eps>OK. This will open your texture in a new tab next to the tab your work is located in.

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6. With the Selection tool (press V), select the texture that you would like to use with your text. For this tutorial, I will be using the second texture in the top row. Click on your desired texture and copy it. Then go back to your work space. You will be pasting it later in the next step.

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7. With the Selection Tool (press V) you will select your text. On your right side panel, select your Transparency window or you can go to Window>Transparency. In this window, click on the button that says Make Mask. Then you will click the black box next to it. After clicking the black box, paste your texture into your work space. Hold Shift+Alt to scale your texture to make it cover the entire text, this will keep your texture from getting distorted as it grows or shrinks.

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8. Once your texture has covered the text, go back to your transparency panel. In the panel, unclick the option to Clip your texture. Make sure to select both the text and your texture. Then you will want to click the Invert Text option. Then click onto the first white box in the Transparency panel and then click off into your workspace. You have now created your texture inside a text element! Feel free to follow the next steps to add more texture.

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9. Go back to your tab that contains your textures. If you have closed this, just simply reopen it by following the past steps. You will be selecting a different texture that you have used from the first time. For this step, I will be selecting the first texture in the top row. Once you have it selected with the Selection Tool (press V)  you will copy it.

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9. Go back to your work space. Select your text and click on the second white box in the Transparency panel. Then you will paste your second texture. Like the first time, scale your texture to cover the entire text. Then click the first white box and then click off of it within your work space. You have now added more texture to your text!

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10. Marvel at your work and how great of a designer you are. Don’t forget to save your work when you’re finished! (File>Save)

You’re welcome.

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