How to create unique typography with Illustrator’s 3D tools

workerbee

Ever wondered how to make your typography pop… literally?

In this tutorial, we’ll look at some simple ways to utilize 3D tools in Illustrator to create unique typographic results. From distressed lettering to a slick, vintage style – here are the tools you need to use for wow-worthy letters.

type 1

To begin a simple text box has been created. In the layers panel it has been duplicated, as with custom typography, it helps to preserve the original letterforms. This will become more apparent later.

type 2

The 3D tool this tutorial explores is the Extrude & Bevel option which can be found under the effects drop down menu.

type 3

Here, the tool is simply being used to create a subtle dimensional effect. The X axis is set to 3 degrees, the Y is set to 7 degrees and the Z is left alone. These can all be adjusted for various impacts.

type 4

Here is where the original letterforms return. They have been placed on top and colored so they are visible. The following steps explore some simple variations that can open up many creative ideas.

type 5

In the above screenshot the stroke (inset) of the original letterforms has been set to black and the fill has been set to white.

type 6

Another interesting avenue is to use pattern fills! This example uses a default fill that comes with most versions of Illustrator.

type 7

Where this example starts to get exciting is when the bottom 3D layer is expanded into fills and strokes, then filled with a simple line pattern.

type 8

Finally the original letterforms are duplicated and offset using Effect>Path>Offset Path to create a thin center fill.

It should be easy to see that there are many areas within this tool set that can be explored to output an infinite amount of results and the 3D options offer even more capability.

It can be interesting to think about what happens when the letterforms are deeply extruded or twisted on different axis, or even ways that the 3D tools can been used subtly. Happy exploring!

How do you use 3D tools in Illustrator? Post below!

Related articles

How to create more fun and playful typography

How to create more fun and playful typography

Good typography may be hard work, but designers shouldn’t forget to have some fun with it! While crafting fonts and typographic characters can sometimes feel stiff and overly mathematical, we want you to help you find the joy in creating more expressive and playful typography. Of course, this approach is great for children-oriented design projects—but let’s not limit ourselves. After…

6 tips for better typographic hierarchy in web design

6 tips for better typographic hierarchy in web design

Have you ever looked at a design and thought, “Something doesn’t feel right”? If you can’t put your finger on what it is, the odds are good it’s an issue with your visual or typographic hierarchy.  When you cram content onto a page with a muddied mass of line breaks, bolded letters and italics—you’re sure…

Digital Fonts: A condensed history

Digital Fonts: A condensed history

More than ever before, designers today are tasked with designing with digital tools, for digital environments like web pages. The digital-to-print connection, once paramount, is now only one task among many. This change affects all aspects of design, but perhaps none more than typography, where the readability of digital fonts depends so much on the…

Current Design Contests

Designers, check out these contests so you can start building your career.