Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating offset outlines in Illustrator, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] Hi, I'm Nigel French. For this week's Type Tip I'm in Illustrator and I want to show you a very simple and very effective technique for creating offset outlines using the Appearance panel. And the effect is completely non-destructive, leaving our text editable. So this is the end result. I'm now going to come to my second artboard where we have the type in it's starting state. I'll select it, come to the Appearance panel.
I'll start out by adding a new fill and use this orange color. Then I'll come to the stroke and for the stroke I want this lighter orange color. Now I can adjust the weight of the stroke and I'm gonna go to two point, in this case. You can see that, currently, the stroke is above the fill and that that means the center-weighted stroke is going inside the letter shapes as well as outside.
So the first thing I want to do is move the stroke down beneath the fill. We only now see half of this weight of stroke. Only the portion of the stroke that goes outside the letter shapes. Now what I want to do is select the stroke and offset it. So with it selected, I'll come to the Effect menu, Distort & Transform, Transform. Check the Preview, come to Move, and I'm gonna move it horizontally and vertically.
Now if I need to revisit the amount of offset, I can at any time just come and click on Transform on the Appearance panel and I'm taken back to those settings. To finish the effect, I need to add another stroke, so I'll come and choose Add New Stroke, from the bottom of the Appearance panel. And this stroke, which, again, needs to be below the fill, but above the previous stroke in this case, I need to change it's color to the background color.
Which in my case is white. And this is going to create the offset between the type and the colored stroke. Now I'm just going to zoom in and adjust the weight of that stroke. I think I'd like that to be a little heavier. When I achieve the result that I am after, I can now capture this as a graphic style, so that I can then, with a single click, apply it to other type objects, or indeed any objects. I'll select the type, come to my Graphic Styles panel and create a new Graphic Style.
Now let's come to my third artboard where I will select this type and then apply the same effect with a single click. Just to hammer home the point that this is non-destructive, the type remains editable. I can select it and edit it to my hearts content. So that's how we can create offset outlines using the Appearance panel in Illustrator.