Text effect question...

cap8ntballer's picture

Hey, I was wondering if anybody knew how to create distressed/faded/word/grungy looking text on either photoshop and or illustrator. I am doing a project for someone and I plan on having large and bold arial type, but I wanted it to be distressed and I was wondering how to go about it. Suggestions are wanted, thanks much.

beejay's picture

Yves posted a nice tutorial

on creating weathered type.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Here's a few links to follow:

Bicerebral's Corroded Text

Mac Design Magazine's Grunge Type (scroll down page)

The Web Machine site has several good tutorials, but because of their stupid dynamic frame-based site structure, I can't link directly to any of them. Click on the Photoshop tab, and then scroll through the list of tips on the left-hand side of the page. Of note are the Grunge Type, Worn Out Type, and Quick Grunge tips.

Hope this helps you get started.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Ooh, nice one Yves. Hadn't seen that thread before,

beejay's picture

Some other methods ...

In Illustrator, create outlines on your type, then go to

Object > Path > Simplify

Type in a value of 90-95 percent. This will
strip your type of points and give it a more
beat up look.

Then also mix in

Filter > Distort > Roughen

size, 1 to 2 percent
detail, 10 to 20

This will add more points.

You can then go back to simplify.

This will just affect the perimeter, however.

To get inside, i use one of these templates below ...

I made a bunch of them a couple of years ago.

In Photoshop, select the black with the Magic Wand, then
select Similar. Fill with White.

Overlay the white distressed file on top of your black type.
Blur some. Then Flatten and go

Mode > Bitmap > 50 percent threshold.

Then back up to Grayscale, blur some more,
maybe overlay the file again rotated differently,
than back down to Bitmap, etc. etc.

Also, you can mix in the airbrush tool on DISSOLVE setting.

If these don't give you the effect you're after,
you can contact me offline.

a not-so-professional tutorial but maybe it'll help.


distress.11.tiff.zip (55.9 k)

vwcruisn's picture

i do a lot of my work using a photocopier, sandpaper, an exacto knife and scotch tape. I basically xerox many times ... enlarge, reduce,, sand the outputs, cut them up, tape them back together, recopy,... etc. I have a lot of fun :-) Get some cool results too. Heres a typographic poster i did using this method:

geraintf's picture


david_roughs's picture



There's nothing like going analog to get some good random distortion. Brings me back to the glorious days of all-night Kinko's punk-rock poster making.

David Roughs

vwcruisn's picture

david, yes that poster was the result of an all night outing at non other than kinkos ;)

its really nice to get off the computer sometimes. I think for a distressed/weathered effect.. its really the only option. I cant stand type that was digitally altered to look like this. And you can tell right away. Seriously, it doesnt take all that much more time to do it right.

Hildebrant's picture

Jason --

So true, the only real way to to f*ck it up by hand. :-)


bjorn's picture

I agree with David.

The result is not only better, but creating it is fun!!!
Photocopiers are a gift from heaven. If you have an older one it is even more fun. You hardly ever know what you are going to get.
Paste it up by hand or assemble in Photoshop.

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