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How to Create a Football Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In
this tutorial you will learn how to create a football text
effect and also a football field background to go along with
it. At the beginning, you’ll create the football pattern and the shape
of the letters. Next, you’ll give some dimension to the letters and
apply the pattern, followed by the highlights and shadows.

If
you love football or sports in general or maybe you need more text
effects
in your life, be sure to check out Envato Market for
inspiration. You’ll surely find what you’re looking for there. Let’s
begin!

Tutorial
Assets

To
complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:

1. Start
a New Project

Launch
Illustrator
and
go to
File
> New
to
open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the
dimensions, and then select
Pixels
as
Units
and
RGB
as
Color
Mode
.
Make sure that
Align
New Objects to Pixel Grid
is
not checked.

Next,
go to
Edit
> Preferences > General
and
set the
Keyboard
Increment
to
1
px
and, while there, go to Units
to
make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with
these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

open new illustrator document

2. Create
the Football Pattern

Step
1

First,
take the
Polygon
Tool
,
click on your artboard, and enter the settings shown to draw a small
hexagon. While the shape stays selected, go to
Object
> Path > Add Anchor Points

in order to add an extra point in the middle of each side.

draw a hexagon

Step
2

Multiply
the hexagon and arrange five of them, one below the other, to create
the first row. (1). For the second row, arrange six new hexagons on
the right side of the first row (2). Select and duplicate the first
two rows and arrange them on the right side (3). Duplicate the last
two rows and arrange them on the right side again (4).

Select
some of the hexagons and give them a black fill color. For the rest
of the hexagons, select a 1 pt gray Stroke. Now, the football pattern
is ready, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes (5).

compose the football pattern

3. Prepare
the Letters

Step
1

Take
the Type Tool (T) and write “Sport” on your artboard using the
Geist Knt Font at a size of 145 pt. After that, choose Expand from
the Object menu and Ungroup (Shift-Control-G).

Take
a look at the Appearance panel and see if your letters are paths or
compound paths. If the answer is compound paths then go to Object >
Compound Path > Release
.

type and expand the text

Step
2

Spread
the letters to have more space between them, and delete the letter
O”. Instead, draw a 119 x 119 px circle with the Ellipse Tool
(L)
.

create letter O

4. Match
the Letters With the Pattern

Step
1

Focus
on the letter “S” and move the pattern over the letter. At first,
match the bottom right corner point of the letter with the corner
point of the black hexagon as indicated. You still need to make a few
small adjustments, so grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move some
of the points to the correct spot.

The
purpose here is to align the corner points of the letter with the
corner or middle points of the black hexagons. Do not modify the
pattern, only the letter. 

match letter S with the football pattern

Step
2

Make
a copy of the pattern and move it over the letter “P”. Match the
bottom left point of the letter with the corner point of the hexagon, as indicated. After that, make the extra adjustments needed. Use the
Direct Selection Tool (A) to move and align the other points with the
corners of the hexagon.

Make
another copy of the pattern and move it over the letter “O”.
We’ll get back to this one later.

match letters P and O with the football pattern

Step
3

Do
the same thing for the letters “R” and “T”.

match letters R and T with the football pattern

Step
4

If
needed, spread the letters with their pattern to see everything
better. At this point, you may have some rows of hexagons in the
pattern that don’t come into contact with the letters. Select those
and delete them to save some space.

delete extra hexagons in the football pattern

5. Give
Dimension to the Letters

Step
1

Go
the Layers panel and hide the five pattern groups for the moment
using the visibility eye. Fill the letters with the linear gradient
shown, at a 90 degrees Angle.

Before
you continue, make copies of the letters because you will need them
later in the tutorial. 

color the letters

Step
2

While
the five letters stay selected, go to Object > Path > Offset
Path
and apply an Offset of -8 px. As a result, you will get five
smaller letters in front.

Fill
the smaller letters with the linear gradient shown at a 90 degrees
Angle
and, after that, move them 2 px to the left and 2 px upwards by
pressing twice on the Left Arrow key and the Up Arrow key on your
keyboard.

create and move smaller letters

Step
3

Draw
three 40 x 38 px ellipses filled with white and arrange them in the
top left side of the letters “P”, “O”, and “R”. For the
letter “S”, draw a 14 x 72 px ellipse, and for the letter “T”, draw a smaller 10 x 60 px ellipse.

Drag
a selection over the letter “S” to select all three shapes, and go
to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 30 Specified Steps and hit OK; then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B).
Repeat the same thing for the other letters. 

blend the letters

6. Apply
the Pattern to the Letters

Step
1

Let’s
make some adjustments for the letter “O”. Select the pattern
group (1); then go to Effect > Warp and apply the Inflate and
Fisheye effects in order to obtain the rounded look (2).

Next,
go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and rotate
the pattern about 25 degrees. Choose Expand Appearance from the
Object menu to expand the effects applied, and then reposition the
pattern so that you have a black hexagon in the center and six
hexagons on the sides of the circle (3). 

distort football pattern over letter O

Here
are the settings for the Inflate, Fisheye, and Transform effects:

Inflate FIsheye Transform settings

Step
2

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only one of the black
hexagons (1) and then go to Select > Same > Fill Color. As a
result, Illustrator will select all the black hexagons at once for you
(2). Replace the black fill color with the shade of gray indicated
(3). 

recolor the black hexagons in football pattern

Step
3

Now,
grab the copies of the original letters that you made earlier and set them to stroke-none
and fill-none. Bring them in front of everything by going to Object >
Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-])
.

Select
the copy of the letter “S” along with the pattern group and go to
Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same
thing for the other letters.

mask the football pattern

Step
4

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only one of the stroked hexagons
in the pattern (1) and then go to Select > Same > Stroke Color.
As a result, Illustrator will select all the stroked hexagons for you
(2). Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) and then in the Stroke
panel, increase the Weight to 2 pt and select Align Stroke to Inside.
For visual reasons, I’ve changed the stroke color to blue (3).

create highlight shapes

Step
5

Select
all the blue hexagons from above the letter “S” and Group
(Control-G)
them. While the group stays selected, choose Expand
Appearance
from the Object menu to turn the strokes into fills.
Repeat the same thing for the other letters (1).

Fill
the five new groups of shapes with the linear gradient shown at a -45
degrees Angle
(2). Name each group “hexagon highlights”.

color highlight shapes

Step
6

Select
only the “hexagon highlights” group from above the letter “S
and, in the Layers panel, drag it under the mask that you made earlier
and under the pattern. Work with each letter, one at a time, and do the
same thing. 

mask highlight shapes

Step
7

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the gray filled hexagons from
under the mask, but only the bigger ones. Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
, and then select another fill color. With the blue
shapes still selected, go to File > Scripts > Round Any Corner
and apply a Radius of 3 to obtain the rounded corners. 

create new big hexagons

Step
8

With
the blue shapes still selected, change the fill color to black. Add a
New Fill above and use the linear gradient shown at a -45 degrees
Angle
. Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform
and in the Scale field type 95%

apply settings to new big hexagons

Step
9

Now,
you need to mask the new hexagons, but only where needed. Grab a copy
of the letter “S”, bring it in front of everything by going to
Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]), and set to
stroke-none and fill-none. Next, select the three new hexagons from
above the letter “S” along with the copy of the letter “S
and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the
same thing for the letters “R” and “T”. 

mask new black hexagons

Step
10

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select all the smaller gray hexagons
from under the mask, and then Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
. For visual reasons, I’ve changed the fill color to
green. 

create new small hexagons

Step
11

While
the green shapes stay selected, change the fill color to black. Add a
New Fill above and use the linear gradient shown. Next, go to Effect
> Path > Offset Path
and apply an Offset of -1 px

apply settings to new small hexagons

Step
12

It’s
time to mask the new hexagons. Grab a copy of the letter “P”, for
example, bring it in front of everything by going to Object >
Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-])
, and set to stroke-none
and fill-none. Now, select the three new hexagons from above the
letter “P” along with the copy of the letter “P” and go to
Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Work with each
letter at a time and do the same thing. 

mask new small hexagons

7. Add
Texture to the Letters

Step
1

At
this point you can move the letters closer to each other in the final
position. Grab a copy of each letter and bring them in front of
everything. While the copies are selected, go to Object > Compound
Path > Make (Control-8)
and then fill the resulting compound path
with black. 

create a compound path from letters

Step
2

While
the compound path stays selected, go to Effect > Sketch > Note
Paper
and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Soft
Light
and reduce the Opacity to 40%.

Move
this compound path under all the black hexagons in the Layers panel
because you want the texture to be visible only on the “white”
part of the letters. 

create texture on the letters

8. Add
Highlights on the Black Hexagons

Step
1

Use
the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the bigger black
hexagons from under the masks, and then Copy and Paste in Place
(Shift-Control-V)
. While the copies stay selected, choose Expand
Appearance
from the Object menu and then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). As a
result, the two existing appearances of the black hexagons will turn
into two separate shapes. For visual reasons, I’ve changed the fill
colors to blue and pink.

Select
all the blue shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make
(Control-8)
. After that, select all the smaller pink shapes and go
to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). Before you
continue, make a copy of the two compound paths for later use. 

create new compound paths from hexagons

Step
2

Bring
the blue compound path above the pink compound path and move it 2 px
down by pressing the Down Arrow key twice and 1 px to the right by
pressing the Right Arrow key once.

Now,
select the two compound paths and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder
panel. As a result, you will get the thin shapes in the upper left
side of the black hexagons. Group (Control-G) all of them and name
the group “up highlights”.

create highlight shapes in the upper left

Step
3

Fill
all the thin shapes that you have obtained in the previous step with
the linear gradient shown, at a 45 degrees Angle

color the highlight shapes in the upper left

Step
4

Now
you need the copies of the blue and pink compound paths that you made
earlier. Bring the blue compound path in front of the pink compound
path and move it 2 px upward by pressing the Up Arrow key twice and 1
px
to the left by pressing the Left Arrow key once.

Select
the two compound paths and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel.
As a result, you will get the thin shapes in the lower right side of
the black hexagons. Group (Control-G) all of them and name the group
down highlights”.

create highlight shapes in the lower right

Step
5

Fill
all the thin shapes that you have obtained in the previous step with
the linear gradient show at a -60 degrees Angle

color highlight shapes in the lower right

Step
6

Make
a copy of the compound path that you used for the texture
earlier in the tutorial and remove all the existing appearances.
Bring this copy in front of everything by going to Object >
Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-])
(1).

Now,
select this copy along with the “up highlights” and “down
highlights
” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make
(Control-7)
(2). You can see the result in the image below (3).

mask all highlight shapes

Step
7

Zoom
and focus on the letter “S”. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a
shape over the black hexagon as shown in the close-up (1). Multiply
the orange shape and arrange a copy over the other black hexagons but
only on the ones that are entirely visible. For the letter “O”,
scale and rotate the shape to make it fit.

Fill
all these shapes with the linear gradient shown at a 90 degrees Angle
(2). Group (Control-G) all of them and then set the group to Blending
Mode Screen
and 40% Opacity (3). 

add shine to black hexagons

9. Create
the Background

Step
1

Let’s
create a football field background. First, create a new
layer in the Layers panel behind the one with the text effect.

Take
the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a 850 x 600 px rectangle which is the
size of your artboard. Fill it with the radial gradient shown. Add a
New Fill above the first, keeping the same gradient, and go to Effect > Texture> Grain. Apply the settings shown
and, after that, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

create the grass football field background

Step
2

Draw
eight 55 x 600 px rectangles filled with black, and then Group (Control-G)
them and reduce the Opacity of the group to 10%.

create stripes on football field background

Step
3

Select
the big rectangle and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V).
Fill the new rectangle with a radial white to black gradient and then
set it to Blending Mode Multiply and 20% Opacity

create new background rectangle

Step
4

Use
the Line Segment Tool () to draw four straight paths with a 4 pt
white Stroke around the background. After that, draw the halfway line, followed by a 182 x 182 px circle in the center. 

draw the lines on the football field background

Step
5

Next,
draw two 116 x 314 px rectangles on the sides, followed by two smaller
35 x 142 px rectangles to define the penalty area. They have a 2 pt
white Stroke.

Continue
with the goal area, which is made of a bunch of vertical and
horizontal lines having a 0.5 pt white Stroke and, after that, the
background is ready.

draw the goal area on the football field background

10. Create
the Shadow

Make
a copy of the compound path that you have used for the texture and
remove all existing appearances. Move this compound path to a new
layer behind the text effect but in front of the background.

Fill
the compound path with black and then go to Effect > Stylize >
Drop Shadow
and apply this effect four times. 

add shadow to letters

Here
are the settings for the Drop Shadow effects:

drop shadow settings

Congratulations!
You’re Done

The
football text effect is ready now. I hope that you enjoyed
this tutorial, and don’t forget to show me your recreations of this
effect. I always love to see your work.

football text effect final image