Adding a gradient to text

Here is a question I recently got asked on my Illustrator class:

How can you add a gradient to text?

When working within any Adobe application it is always important to keep things editable, so changes can be made. So lets take a look at how to add a gradient to text and keep the text editable too, in Adobe Illustrator.
First lets create some text.
Using the Type Tool (highlighted in red below), click on the document, then type in a word. Select the text and increase the font size (highlighted in blue) in the Control panel.

The Appearance panel

The Appearance panel is a very useful panel indeed. It’s the place to go to for creating effects and working with fills and strokes. The Appearance panel should be in the panels on the right-side of the screen. If not, go to Window > Appearance.

Click on text using the Selection Tool, to select it.

Take a look in the Appearance panel.

Two attributes will show: Type and Characters. So what’s the difference you maybe wondering:

Type is the word or words you have created

Characters are the individual letters or numbers that make up the word or words

If you were to select either the Type or the Character attribute in the Appearance panel and try to add a gradient it won’t work. You will still have text with no gradient – try it.

Adding the gradient

The gradient will be added to the Type attribute for this effect to work. But first we need to set the Fill attribute off the Characters attribute to None. If a gradient is added to the Characters attribute it won’t work – promise.

Double-click on the Characters attribute – highlighted in red below.

The Appearance panel will now show you the Fill attribute for the characters, which will be black by default. Click on the Fill colour and change it to None.

Double-click on the Type attribute (highlighted in red below)

and then click on the Add New Fill button.

Click on the Fill colour and change the colour from Black to a gradient.

Your text should now have a gradient applied – hurray. Now have fun and tweak that gradient using the Gradient panel and the Gradient Tool.

Highlight the text with the Type Tool and change the word, you will discover it is editable too.



If you’re interested in learning more about Adobe Illustrator, then we offer a range of high quality courses at different proficiency levels, in numerous cities across the UK.


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