How to add a DOUBLE outline to a text or a shape in Adobe Illustrator ?


I am creating a logo and I would like to put a double outline on it, do you know any clever way to do it ?

1/9/2014 11:32:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Edit: There was a better way to do Quick & Dirty #1. I have revised the answer with the improvement. This is now my preferred method.

Like many Illustrator things, there are multiple ways to do this.

The Quick & Dirty Ways

Use these methods if the outline object is at the bottom of your layer stack and transparency doesn't matter.

Quick & Dirty #1 (Recommended)

  1. Select your object and on the Appearance palette select the Menu and Add new stroke
  2. Select the new stroke on the Appearance palette and go to menu EffectPathOffset Path and offset it by a point or 2.
  3. (Optional) If you want to reuse this style, open the Graphic Styles Palette and select the Menu and choose New Graphic Style...

Quick & Dirty #2

  1. Copy & Paste duplicates of your object above each other until you have 3 identical objects.
  2. Make the lowest-layered object have a thick stroke.
  3. Make the middle-layered object have a less-thick stroke in a different color.
  4. Make the the top-layered object have the thinnest stroke.

If you really need transparency, you can select your objects and Outline Stroke to form filled shapes. Then subtract & combine your shapes as appropriate to quickly create an outlined solid-fill shape object.

The "Brush" Way

This method is very flexible but takes more time to set up. This is definitely the method you want to use if you will be using this border style in multiple places.

  1. Make a Art Brush
    1. Create multiple parallel lines (I find it easiest to start with horizontal lines)
    2. Select your lines
    3. Open your Brushes palette (F5).
    4. Click the menu and select New Brush...
    5. Choose New Art Brush
    6. Make sure the direction guide arrow is going the correct direction for your lines.
  2. Apply your new Brush to the object that you want outlined
    1. Select your object.
    2. Click on your newly created brush on the Brushes palette.

Creating your own brush is simple and powerful for basic shapes like lines or easy curves. If your object has many corners you will need to edit your brush to include the correct way to form corners.

Edit: Afterthought. If you're making a complex shape that needs outlines, you're going to need to create a Pattern Brush to accommodate corners, you can't do this with an Art Brush. To create a Pattern Brush, you need to create each of your corner & side situations and then create pattern swatches. You then use the pattern swatches to create your Pattern Brush.

Here's the easiest way I know of to make your pattern brush:

  1. Make tiles for each of the required tiles (Outer Corner, Inner Corner, Start, Side, End).
    Keep in mind that the tiles need to align with each other on shapes so it may help to create squares and build your tiles in the squares. In the below image, I made my bounding squares blue so you can see them. When I use them to create swatches in the next step I will remove the stroke from the squares.

    Example tiles for pattern brush

  2. Drag each of your tiles up to your Swatches palette to make pattern swatches.

    Pattern swatches in my palette

  3. Make a new pattern brush and assign your swatches to each of the appropriate tiles.
    You may need to adjust your scaling if you made your pattern at a much larger size than its intended use case.
    (Note also that the end-tile indicator is misleading. The End tile should be pointed the same direction as your start tile, as if they were the same object. The dialog seems to indicate that it should be faced the opposite direction but this is incorrect.)

    Pattern brush options

  4. Apply your pattern to shapes to test it out.

    Pattern brush applied to shapes

  5. When you apply it to a font, you may need to clean up the anchors a bit where they are too close together (depending on the scale of your pattern). For example:

    • Here's a B from Font to Outlines with no cleanup (using my example brush stroke):

    B with too many points

    • Here's the same B with an extraneous point removed:

    B with extra point cleaned up

2/28/2012 3:57:00 PM

How I do it:

Create your text. Clone it three times. You now have your text layered 3 times.

Bottom layer gets a border of, say, 10pt black. Next gets 8pt white. Next gets 6pt black. Top layer gets no border at all.

But I'm old fashioned. Farray's solution is probably good too. Just be sure that you don't distort the letterforms with a stroke that goes inside glyph.