Gradient Turns Black In Illustrator? [Here’s Why]

While we all love Illustrator for what it can do for our businesses and companies, it’s not immune to problems and glitches. Many users have reported having issues recently with the gradient turning black when you try to do something with your font. So we are here to help you fix it. 

If your gradient is turning black in Illustrator, it can be for a couple of reasons. Either your software needs you to use the selection arrow to select the text instead of the type tool, or your Illustrator is recognizing your letters as both characters and type, which is causing a problem. 

Now, unfortunately, there is no specific way to figure out why your gradient is having problems, or even what you need to do to fix it. The only things you really have are previous experiences from other people and solutions that have worked more often than not. Even if you have to use the process of elimination, at least you have a path to help you get on your way to solving the solution. 

Fixing Your Gradient Issue

Since there are two different things that can cause a gradient problem, there are a few solutions you can try depending on what you think your problem is. The great thing is, any of these solutions you can do won’t mess up anything else, so you can use princess of elimination until you fix the issue. 

Resetting Your Options

In some cases, you may need to just reset your gradient or fill options back to default, or remove all changed options completely and allow the software to reset everything. It’s recommended that you save your file before starting this process. 

To reset everything, you do not have to completely remove everything, you simply need to choose your text and reset all settings associated with your text including:

  • Color
  • Outline
  • Gradient
  • Background
  • Size
  • Orientation
  • Fill
  • Font

(Source: Reddit, Adobe Community)

Once you reset everything, start off by seeing if you can do what you want with the gradient. If your gradient doesn’t turn black, slowly, one by one, change your settings back and try gradient every single time you change a setting. If you notice your gradient starts having issues again, try turning off the most recent change and try again. 

This will allow you to pinpoint which setting is specifically causing the issue and also gives your illustrator a chance to reset and fix everything itself. If you get to the end of changing and fixing all the settings and your gradient never fixes itself, you will have to move to the next solution. The great thing is, since you saved your file, you now have a file where you can change things around as much as you want to find the solution without messing up your original. 

Using the Right Tool to Select The Text

Sometimes illustrator needs you to use the selection arrows to select your text instead of the type tool. If you have used your type tool to select your text and the gradient is turning black, try the selection tool instead. If this doesn’t fix your issue, then you need to move on to the next solution. 

Characters Vs. Type

There are some ways that illustrator treats characters versus types and while it’s not widely understood, there is a pretty simple way to fix the issue this causes with gradient. If you use the gradient fill tool, click on your type and open the appearance palette. Once there you will see the option to select your type and then you’ll see the gradient fill below characters. 

If you can drag characters to where it sits above gradient fill, you will see a slight shift in your text, and then you can double click “characters”. From there you can choose the “fill” option and set the gradient to transparent. This should fix your problems if neither of the other solutions did. 

(Source: Graphic Design, Reddit, Adobe Community)

Customer Support

If all else fails, you can contact customer support for illustrator, or join in on the conversation in their forum. Either one of these options should give you the answer you are looking for, or at worst a few solutions you can try and see if they help you with your issue. 

Final Thoughts

While your Illustrator issues may be frustrating, the simple solutions that are provided should allow you to continue using the software with minimal interruptions. Thankfully, there is a customer support option within Illustrator for those who can’t seem to fix the issue they have.