How To Add Gradient To Text In Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a graphic designing application primarily used for creating vector graphics. It has several tools to enhance your work, including the gradient tool. Adding a gradient to your text is a fun and useful way to create more engaging text designs. So, how can you add gradients to your text in Illustrator? 

There are two methods to add a gradient to text in Illustrator: non-destructive fill or destructive fill. Non-destructive fill means that your text will be editable even after a gradient has been applied to it, whereas text can no longer be edited if you use the destructive fill method.

The non-destructive fill method is better to use when you are working with longer forms of text. However, the destructive fill method should be used if you only write titles or single words. Keep on reading to learn how to use these methods!

The Non-Destructive Fill Method of Adding Gradient

To apply gradient non-destructively, use the following steps: 

  1. First, select the text, then go to the ‘appearance’ panel. Click on ‘add new fill’ and ensure that the new fill you just added is still selected. 
  1. Then, proceed toward the ‘gradient’ panel and click upon the gradient icon across the entire text in the app. Both the gradient and the text can still be edited afterward.
  1. To remove the pixelated outline of the text, remove the original color of the text. Click twice on the ‘character’ by going to the ‘appearance’ panel.
  1. You can remove the original color by going to ‘fill’ on the color wheel and then clicking on ‘none.’
  1. Go back to the appearance settings by clicking the ‘type’ button. 

Although a non-destructive fill gradient has been applied to your text, you can still edit it. To edit your gradient, select the ‘gradient window’ or the ‘character’ menu that is accessible via the toolbar.

Here’s a tutorial to help you gain a visual on the steps above: 

If you do not wish to edit your text once the gradient is applied, continue reading to learn more about the destructive fill method of applying a gradient to your text! 

The Destructive Fill Method of Adding a Gradient

For the destructive fill method of adding a gradient, follow these steps: 

  1. Begin by equipping the selection tool from the toolbar or using the keyboard shortcut ‘V.’ 
  1. Then, go to ‘type’ and ‘create outlines’ once you have selected our text. This will convert your text to vector shapes you can edit, enabling you to use a gradient on them. This is beneficial because you can apply the gradient to the shape of every single letter individually. 
  1. You must first turn the individual vector shapes into one to use an even gradient. Open the panel with ‘pathfinder’ and use the ‘unite’ button. 
  1. Then, turn the ensuing shapes into a compound path by clicking on ‘object,’ ‘compound path,’ and ‘make.’
  1. Select the compound path and move back to the panel containing the gradient. 
  1. Then, use a gradient for the entire text, as mentioned above. 

However, with this method, you cannot edit the text and will only be able to edit the gradient later. 

Final Takeaway

Gradients can be applied to text in Illustrator using the non-destructive fill method, or the destructive fill method, using the abovementioned steps. You must select the method of applying gradient keeping your use of text in mind.