How to Add Gradient to Text in Adobe Illustrator

Any design can benefit from a well-placed gradient, and eye-catching visuals can be created by blending gradients with other design elements. For example, in logo design, text with a gradient fill, typically one that is vertically oriented, is a popular technique. It gives text a three-dimensional aspect.

Typography is a fantastic tool to utilize in conjunction with gradients, but you need to be careful about how you use it.

In Adobe Illustrator, there are two ways to gradient type: by utilizing destructive or non-destructive fill. Here is a comprehensive guide to carrying out both.

My name is Aly, I have been using Adobe Illustrator for many years as a graphic designer and today, I will be showing you how to add gradients to your text in Illustrator. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Destructive fill refers to the fact that your type will become uneditable once you’ve applied your gradient to it. When dealing with shorter content, such as titles or single words, this strategy works best.
  • Non-destructive fill refers to the fact that your type will still be editable after you’ve applied your gradient to it. When working with lengthy texts or texts that might still require editing later, this strategy works well.

Method 1: How to Add Gradient to Text in Illustrator using Non-Destructive Fill

Follow the steps below to learn how you can add a gradient to your text in Adobe Illustrator non-destructively.  

Step 1: To use the first technique, choose your text and click Window > Appearance from the menu. As soon as you click the Add New Fill button, check sure the freshly added fill is still chosen.

Step 2: To apply a gradient to all text in Illustrator, open the Gradient panel Window > Gradient and click the gradient slider or gradient thumbnail. After applying it, you can make any necessary changes to the gradient or the text.

Step 3: The writing has a light pixelated outline if you look at it closely. This is brought on by the original text color that is still visible behind your gradient.

You just need to take that color out to solve this problem. To access the text options, double-click the Character button on the Appearance panel. 

Utilizing the [None] swatch, click the Fill color wheel to eliminate the color. Clicking the Type button will take you back to the Appearance settings.

Method 2: Adding a Gradient to Text Using a Destructive Fill

Follow the steps below to add a gradient to your text using a destructive fill. 

Step 1: In order to convert your text into editable vector shapes for the second technique, select your text and choose Type > Create Outlines. The generated shapes can now be given a gradient, however, the gradient will be applied separately to each letter shape.

Step 2: Turning your group into a single vector shape will allow you to apply a consistent gradient to the entire text. Turn the generated forms into a compound path by selecting Object > Compound Path > Make or use the keyboard shortcut Command + 8

Open the Pathfinder panel and click the Unite button.

Step 3: Select your compound path, then navigate to the Gradient panel Window > Gradient, where you may use Illustrator to apply a gradient to the entire text selection. After applying it, you can change the gradient, but not the text.

Final Thoughts

Now you can properly fill the text with a gradient. After learning the methods, you can experiment with a wide range of settings and gradients to create a variety of looks.

Adding gradients to text in Illustrator is a fairly simple process that’s easy enough to learn, even for beginners. Hopefully, these two methods will help you to create a beautiful text face. 

Any questions about adding gradients to text in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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