Creating multiple strokes using the appearance panel in Illustrator

Appearance Panel in Illustrator

This is extremely handy when working in Illustrator. This effect can be placed on objects and text, and on clipping paths. You can arrange the stacking order and the size, as well as the colors. One great advantage is that you can add effects, such as blurs to each stroke and they stay editable. The Appearance Panel offers a great deal of flexibility with your objects.

Using this method also helps to ensure that your type isn’t invaded by your stroke. You can easily drag the fill layer below the stroke layer, keeping the stroke on the outside of the typeface. The typeface remains editable and all of the attributes of the object remain completely editable.

appearance panel in Illustrator

To create a new stroke, have your object selected and if there is not going to be a fill, then remove the fill and select the stroke. Set it to the size that you want and drag it to the new layer icon at the bottom to duplicate the stroke. Take the fill layer with no fill and drag it to the top. This makes it so that the stacking order is the text with no fill, stroke one and then the duplicate stroke. Change the stroke to a different color by clicking on the swatch in the appearance panel and then choosing another swatch. You can do the same with the duplicate stroke layer at the bottom. When you see no change, don’t be alarmed. What we have to do now is make the bottom stroke larger than the top one, so that it peeks out from behind.

If you want, just for earning purposes, you can add different effects to each different stroke layer. I added a different gaussian blur to each stroke, and you can even adjust the opacity of each stroke. With this, you can create some truly remarkable effects.

Another tip that will make this extremely handy and help with production is to save this set up as a style so that we can use it again. All you have to do is click the object that you have just created and drag it to the style panel. It will create a new style square with your effect. Then you can start building a custom styles document. Click the flyout menu on the style panel and choose to save your style. Then, you can load it when you start each day and add to it. This makes it so that you can put the same effect on multiple objects quickly and easily. Note that you may have to adjust your style in the appearance panel to fit your object, but that is much better than starting from scratch for each object.

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