letterpress effect drawing tutorial with Artboard

Create Letterpress Vector Style

Use the Style Editor, along with Artboard’s transform group settings, to create a popular letterpress graphic style treatment. It’s super easy to save the style and apply to other shapes.

Tutorial Details

Program: Artboard 2.0+ graphic design app for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector– Groups
Estimated Completion Time: 20 minutes

Step 1

Step_1.png

Open a new drawing and choose File > Drawing Size & Units from the main menu and set ‘points’ as the units of measure. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a rectangle the size of your drawing canvas and fill it with a light color (use a light, medium, and dark of any color). Having a background color from the beginning will make it easier to see the changes we will be making to the text.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Step 2

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Add a new layer by clicking the “+” at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. Drawing on a new layer keeps your drawing objects separate from the background will help prevent accidentally selecting the background. With the Text Box [t] tool, drag out a large text box; type to edit the text, clicking the Esc-key to end editing. With the text selected, use the Font panel to choose a font family, typeface, and adjust the size. Our example uses a bold font at 144pt for big header text, but you can adjust the text to fit your needs. After you get it just how you want it, choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu (or right click, Convert To > Shape) to convert the text to a shape (once you do that the text will no longer be editable).

Step 3

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Open the Style Inspector. Click onto “Color Fill” in the components list and click the color-well to choose your medium color (for example, medium purple).

Step 4

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With the text shape still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Transform” group from the style components drop-down list. Because Transform is a “group” property, you won’t see anything under the group until you add it, so click the “+” and choose Color Fill. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Transform” in the list to expand the transform group and click onto the color-well in the fill to choose a dark color (e.g., dark purple). In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to -1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 5

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Repeat Step 4 to add another transform group from the style components drop-down list. Add a color fill to the transform group and choose white from the Colors panel. In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to 1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 6

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With the text still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Core Image Filter” from the style components drop-down list. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Core Image Filter” in the list to expand the image filter group. Similar to Transform groups, you won’t see anything under the effect group until you add it, so click the “+” and add a Color Fill. Click onto the color-well in the fill and pick the light color matching your background color. Now, click again on “Core Image Filter” in the style component list. Choose “Gaussian Blur” from the Filters drop-down list, use the settings ‘Inside clipping path’ and 10-radius. That’s it!

Step 7

You’ve created a great ad-hoc style with popular letterpress treatment. Optionally, you can save the style to easily apply to other vector objects in this and other drawings. Simply click onto “Style” in the components list to return to the main window. Add a name for your new style and press enter. Click “Add To ‘Collection’…” to add it to an available My Library user collection. Pretty cool!

Final Image

Final_Image.png

At this point you can make the treatment better by jazzing up the background with some texture, different colors, and simple offsets to other text.