Create a Neon effect styled glowing text using Adobe Illustrator CS5

You must have seen glowing text on billboards or number plates or hoardings. It is used to catch your attention and attract customers. Since Neon effect grabs attention it is used by restaurants, bars, pubs and many others to publicize their products. The effect is beautiful. You can use it for print banners or other print media. In this tutorial, we will create glowing neon effect text, but the same tutorial can be followed to add the effect on shapes and images.

Glow text

1. The neon effect will be clearly visible on dark backgrounds, so we will create a canvas for our art work in a shape of a rectangle filled with black color. This will be our first layer. Open out the ‘Layers Panel’ and rename this layer as ‘Background’.

2. Then create a new layer ( Layer 2) and rename it as 1. Place a text box in the center of the rectangle. Type in some text. Make the fill as none and stroke as white.

Stroked text

3. Now we will need two more layers with our text on it. So in the ‘Layers Panel’, choose the layer ‘1’ that has text on it, click on the small triangle like icon in the top right corner of the panel and choose ‘Duplicate “Layer 1”’ from the menu. Repeat this one more time to get yet another duplicate layer. Rename these layers as ‘Layer 2’ and ‘Layer 3’.

Duplicate layer

Layers Panel

4. Toggle off the visibility of layers ‘2’ and ‘3’ by clicking on the eye icon in front of these layers. Then select layer ‘1’ and change the stroke color to a bright ‘cyan’ or any other bright color. Increase the Stroke width to 7 or 8. Stroke width could be changed in the ‘Stroke Panel’ (Window > Stroke) or on the utility bar )that’s what I call it) that is below the Menu bar.

5. Then with the text on this layer selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur… In the Gaussian Blur window, increase the radius to 3 and click OK. It may take few seconds to apply the blur.

1 st layer with effect

6. Now toggle the visibility of layer ‘2’. Change the stroke color to a a lighter shade of the color you used in layer ‘1’. Also increase the Stroke weight to 4.

2nd layer with effect

7. Lastly toggle the visibility of layer ‘3’. Change the stroke color to even more lighter shade of the color you earlier used. Let the stroke weight be 1.

3 rd layer with effect

You can experiment more by adding effects like Outer Glow/Inner Glow to the text in 1st layer. We have added an outer glow of white with a blur of 1 and blending mode of Lighten, to get this effect.

Glow text

Isn’t that cool!

Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator


About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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