Web Design

How to design with editable text in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator でテキストを編集可能なままデザインする方法

Hi there.
I’m Satou, a Web/App/UI designer.

I’m going to write about How to design with editable text in Adobe Illustrator.

The latest Illustrator can design without outlining text

Back in the day, the only designs that could be applied to text in Adobe Illustrator were fill color (monochromatic) and line color (monochromatic).

In order to apply designs such as gradients, patterns, clipping masks, and transformations, the text had to be outlined (command + shift + O).

Now you can apply various designs to editable text without having to outline the text.

Newcomers to Illustrator, as well as old designers like myself who continue to use Illustrator with the old common sense, are likely to be unaware of the new common sense, so if you are not familiar with what I am about to introduce here, please take advantage of it.

“Appearance” to add design to text

To add designs to text, use the “Appearance” feature.
Appearance is not just a feature for text; it is a general feature that can be used for any other object, but we will focus on text in this article.

What “Appearance” can do

Appearance allows you to apply multiple fills, lines, and effects (such as transformations and blurring) on top of one object.

The image is that the effects are layered on top of each other in a layer-like fashion.

So, for example, if you put paint on top of paint, the paint underneath will be invisible, and if you put lines of the same thickness on top of each other, the lines underneath will be invisible.
In such cases, the design can be layered by using transparency, overlay effects, or by shifting the coordinates of the lines.

You can design to some extent without using “Appearance,” but there are limitations

You can create a certain amount of design in text without using Appearance.

You can use a single color for fill and line, pattern swatches, and clipping masks.

Apply pattern swatch to text
Applying a pattern swatch to text…
Apply clipping mask to text 1 Apply clipping mask to text 2
Applying a clipping mask can be done normally.

You can, but that’s as far as it goes.

For example, if you want to add lines only outside of text, you can’t do that without using Appearance, and if you want to add lines to text with a clipping mask applied, you can’t do that without using Appearance.

Limit 1 without appearance no-appearance limit 2

Also, designs such as applying gradients to text fill or lines, or double or triple borders, cannot be achieved without appearance.

[Practice] Adding lines only on the outside

The first thing to remember as a premise is that text cannot change the “line position”.

Shapes can change the position of lines.
The path can set the position of the line as center/inside/outside like this.
line position not clickable
Text does not respond when I click on the button to change the position of the line.

Therefore, we use appearance to make it look like the line is only on the outside by layering a fill layer on top of the line layer and hiding the inside of the line with the fill.

Prepare the text

First, prepare the text you want to design with appearance.
Lines are not necessary.
The fill color can be any color, as it will be set later in the appearance.
In this example, we have prepared text with a black fill.

Prepare the text you want to apply the design to

Open the Appearance palette.

Then select the text and open the Appearance palette.

Open Appearance Palette

Add fill with Appearance.

From here we will set the fill and line for the text, but this time let’s start with the fill.
This can be done from either side.
If you want to start with lines, you can start with lines.

Click Add Fill in Appearance
Click “Add Fill” at the bottom of the Appearance palette.
Fill added
Fill has been added.
A line is added at the same time. When the first fill (or line) is added, the line (or fill) is also added as a set.

Changing the color of a fill

The fill appearance can of course be changed to any color.
Clicking on a fill color chip opens a color palette where you can apply different swatches.

Click on fill to open color palette
Click on the color chip in the fill to open the color palette.
Various swatches also available
Various swatches can of course be used.

You can also shift + click on a color chip to open the color slider and set the color freely.

shift+click color slider
Shift + click on the color chip in the fill to open the color slider.

Set the lines

Next, set the color and thickness of the lines.

Open line color palette Set color to lines
The process for setting the color is the same as for the fill. Click to open the color palette or shift + click to open the color slider to set the color.
Set line thickness
Set the line thickness as well. As mentioned earlier, the only “line position” for text is “center”, so setting the thickness to 10px will set the line 5px inside and 5px outside.

Move the lines under the fill

If you look at the overlap order of the appearance, the lines are above the fill.
So we will reverse the overlap order.
Either drag the line and bring it below the fill, or drag the fill and bring it above the line.

Drag the line under the fill
Drag the line and bring it under the fill.
overlap order reversed
The line has been moved below the fill and the inner line within the fill has been hidden.

Completed

This completes the design with lines only outside of the text.

completed
The fill and lines added by the appearance are layered, with only the lines that extend outside the fill visible as lines.
Comparison of completion
Center is the original text. The top one has lines added with the appearance, and the bottom one has lines added without appearance.

Line options can also be applied

Did you notice that the “Lines” in the Appearance palette has an underlined dotted line?
This means it is “clickable.
Clicking on it opens the Line Options palette, where you can set options other than “Line Position”.

Line Options

If the “text” is above the appearance, the appearance is hidden.

Appearance is layered on top of the original text as a layer to achieve its effect.
The original text is the layer that is “text” in the Appearance palette.
When applying a design with an appearance, the appearance of the design must be placed above this “text”.

If the “text” comes above the appearance, the appearance will be hidden by the original text, and you will end up panicking and saying, “The appearance doesn’t work! and you will be upset.
I set the appearance, but it doesn’t work! If you find that the appearance is not working, please check the overlapping order of the appearance and the text.

Text is on top of appearance

[Practice] Adding more lines

As an application, you can add more lines with different thicknesses to create a design with multiple lines.
The thickness of the line becomes thicker as the layer goes down.
The layers of lines overlap like a pyramid.

Set multiple lines
Multiple layers of lines, the lower the layer the thicker the line.

[Practical] Applying a gradient to text fill

If you try to apply a gradient to the text fill as usual, you will not be able to apply it.

Gradient swatch not applicable Gradients cannot be set on text

So, we will use the appearance to apply a gradient to the text fill.

Applying a gradient to the appearance “fill”

Once you have the text you want to apply the gradient to, select the text, open the Appearance, and add a fill.
Then apply the gradient to the fill.
You can apply a gradient swatch, or you can set the gradient directly on the fill’s appearance.

Applying a gradient swatch to the “fill” appearance

Apply Gradient Swatch 1

Set gradient directly against the fill

Select a fill Set gradient directly

[Practice] Applying a gradient to lines of text

If you try to apply a gradient to a text line normally, you will not be able to apply it.

Gradients cannot be applied to lines

So, we will use the appearance to apply a gradient to the text line.

Applying a gradient to the appearance “line”

Once you have the text you want to apply the gradient to, select the text, open the Appearance, and add a line.
Then apply the gradient to the line.
You can apply a gradient swatch, or you can set the gradient directly on the line’s appearance.

Apply gradient to text line
Combine fill and multiple lines for a rich design.

[Practice] Setting lines on clipping-masked text.

If you create a clipping mask normally with text that has lines set, the lines will disappear and be lost.

text with lines set
With this text…
Image to mask
Mask this image…
No more text lines
The lines that were set in the text will disappear and be gone.
You can't add lines afterwards
I can’t even add a line afterwards.

So we add a line to the clipping-masked text using Appearance.

Select text, open Appearance, and add a line

Select text to open appearance
Select the text with the direct selection tool (white cursor) to open the appearance.
Be careful not to select with the selection tool (black cursor) at this time.
Add a line with appearance
Add a line for text.

If you select with the selection tool (black cursor), the line will not be reflected

Be careful not to select with the selection tool Appearance lines not reflected
If you select with the selection tool instead of the direct selection tool, you select a group of masked images and text instead of text, and the appearance is not reflected.

Be careful when using clipping mask

Appearance cannot be layered on text to which a clipping mask has been applied.
Also, “fill” cannot be added (it is ignored), so you cannot add lines only to the outside of the text.

If you want to add overlapping lines to text to which a clipping mask has been applied, you must copy and stack the text, apply the clipping mask to the text on top, and add lines to the text on the bottom.

Okay, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
In this article, I wrote about how to design with editable text in Adobe Illustrator.
How was it?
I hope it was helpful to you.
See you next time.