All kinds of cool effects can be created in Illustrator by outlining text into a solid shape then making various permanent alterations, but what if you want to keep your text editable? In today’s Illustrator tutorial we’ll take a look at the Appearance Panel and see how it can be used to build up layers of non-destructive effects that can then be saved as Graphic Styles so the effect can be instantly applied to any elements with just one click.

Retro text effect

The effect we’ll be creating is this bright and colourful retro style text style. It’s made up from multiple fills and strokes in the Appearance Panel, some with extra modifications thanks to the Effects tools. The result is a cool looking effect that retains the editability of the basic text, allowing you to easily change the wording or apply the effect to other elements.

To create this specific effect we’ll need to set up our Illustrator document in RGB mode to make use of the wider spectrum of vibrant colours. Under the Advanced settings alter the Color Mode to RGB.

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  1. Illustrator’s appearance panel is really such a hidden gem, I design as a hobby/passion but my day job is as a commercial graphic artist in the print and packaging arena and we use appearances for all our grips and traps, it’s really quite excellent. As always Chris, quality work mate.

  2. Very cool, very useful, and very well-explained. As usual. Have already breezed through this and added it to my collection. Thanks Chris!

  3. Really great tutorial, very quick and easy to follow. Looking forward to experimenting with this window to see what other great effects I can come up with. If anyone comes up with anything, fancy sharing?

    AI really is fully of hidden gems like this.

    Thanks again, Chris. Keep up the brilliant work.

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