This blueprint technique has been seen just about everywhere—even on the cover of The Photoshop Help Desk Book by Dave Cross. This is a quick demo using a blend of live effects, filters, and even a little gradient mesh to create a seemingly complex logo treatment.

1 START WITH THE TEXT
Begin by setting your text. Select the Type tool (T) in the Toolbox and click on the artboard to set a text object. In the Control panel, set the font to Arial Black and the text size to 285 pt. Enter one or two lines of text using any word(s) you like. We have simply typed in “HOUSE WORKS” on two lines. We also typed four spaces before “WORKS” and tightened up the tracking by selecting all the text with the Type tool and pressing Option-Left Arrow (PC: Alt-Left Arrow) a few times.

2 ADD STROKE; FILL WITH WHITE
Select all the text with the Selection tool (V). Near the bottom of the Toolbox, click on the Stroke option to make it active. Go under the Window menu and choose Swatches to open the Swatches panel. Then select the blue swatch in the Swatches panel, as shown here, to set the stroke color. Set the Stroke size to 5 pt in the Control panel. Now simply set the Fill color to white.

3 COPY TEXT; SWAP FILL AND STROKE
Copy this text to the clipboard by going under the Edit menu and choosing Copy. Then, go under the Edit menu again and choose Paste in Front. This will paste the copy directly over the original, so you won’t see any change. (Trust us, it’s there.) Then, swap the Fill and Stroke colors by clicking the bent double-headed arrow next to the Fill and Stroke color swatches in the Toolbox. Set the Stroke to None. All you should have is a blue fill and no stroke. Keep this object selected.

4 APPLY SCRIBBLE EFFECT
With this object still selected, go into the Effect menu, under Stylize (in the Illustrator Effects section), and choose Scribble. This is one really involved effect. At this point, you can either use the settings shown here or you can experiment to see the different results you can get. Keep an open mind—you may discover a really cool effect. Click OK when you’re done.

5 DRAW BLUE LINE ABOVE TEXT
Next, select the Pen tool (P) in the Toolbox and click a point just above and to the left of the text. Hold the Shift key and click a second point to the right of the text. Set the Stroke color to the same blue color we used for the text. Then in the Control panel, set the Stroke size to 7 pt. Lastly, select the line and position it right along the top edge of the top line of text.

Note: If you can’t see the stroke, make sure the Scribble effect isn’t applied to it in the Appearance panel.

6 COPY BLUE LINE THREE TIMES
Press Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to copy this line, and then press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) three times to paste it three times. Drag a copy to the bottom of the first line of text and then drag copies to the top and bottom of the next line of text (as shown here). This will give us the baselines illustrating the straightness of the letters. Offset the lines from each other so it doesn’t look too symmetrical.

7 ADD ADDITIONIONAL LINES AND ARROW SYMBOL
Use the Pen tool to create similar blue lines along the sides of some of the letters to enhance the blueprint effect (set the Stroke to 5 points to match the stroke on the letters). Open the Symbols panel under the Window menu. In the panel’s flyout menu, go to Open Symbol Library>Arrows. Drag-and-drop the third arrow onto the artboard. With it still selected, go into the Control panel and click the Break Link button. In the Object menu, select Expand Appearance. This will turn the Symbol into a regular object. Set the Fill to the same blue we’ve been using and resize as necessary.

8 ADD ARROWS, DOTTED LINES, AND NUMBERS
Arbitrarily place arrows on the lines that you drew in Step 7. Just copy-and-paste numerous copies of the arrow and drag them into place. Use the Selection tool to vary the size and rotate them as necessary. Now add some small, meaningless numbers around the text to give the idea of measurements. Then add some simple, dotted lines using the settings in the Stroke panel, as shown here. We also used the Pen tool to draw an additional element to our original arrow.

9 CREATE BLUE BOX AND MASK WITH BLACK BOX
Select the Rectangle tool in the Toolbox and draw a box over the entire graphic. Set the Fill color of this box to—you guessed it—blue. Now draw another box right over this blue one that’s slightly inset and set the Fill color of this box to black (make sure the fill is R:0, G:0, B:0 or C:0, M:0, Y:0, K:100). So you should have a black box on top of a slightly larger blue box. Select both boxes and open the Transparency panel under the Window menu. In the panel’s flyout menu, choose Make Opacity Mask. The black box will mask away the blue box.

10 ADD GRADIENT MESH TO MASK
We need to do a little more work on the mask, so make sure that the mask thumbnail is highlighted in the Transparency panel (indicated by a thick, black line). Select the mask shape and go under the Object menu and select Create Gradient Mesh. Enter 6 for Rows and 6 for Columns. Set the Appearance to Flat and Highlight to 0%. Click OK. (Did you know that you could have a gradient mesh mask?)

11 CHANGE POINTS ON THE GRID TO WHITE OR GRAY
Using the Direct Selection tool (A), select various points of the mesh and set their colors to white or any varying shade of gray to allow all or some of the blue to come through. The mask works similar to that of a layer mask in Photoshop where black will completely mask a shape, white reveals everything, and gray will show some transparency. The goal here is to give the effect of the blue powder on a blueprint. Note: Make sure the Fill is active in the Toolbox.

12 ADD TEXTURE
The last thing is the texture. Use the Rectangle tool to draw another box approximately the same size as the mesh (make sure you’re back in art mode and not mask mode in the Transparency panel). Set the Fill color to an off-white like this one shown in the Swatches panel. Go under the Effect menu, under Photoshop Effects, and choose Texture>Texturizer. Set the Texture to Sandstone, the Scaling to 100%, and the Relief to 3. For the Light direction, choose Top Right. Click OK. Then go under the Object menu, under Arrange, and choose Send to Back. This will finish the effect of blueprint paper.

Final Image

Share & Enjoy


 

  1. Kendrick (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    I can actually use this tutorial today on a project I’m working on. Thanks!

  2. Chris Bautista (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Corey – AI noob here. Cool effect! Thanks!

  3. Carsten (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Thanks! Well explained and understood :-) Even for a total beginner like me who wants to get an idea how Illustrator works.

  4. Michael Roussetos (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    How do you switch back from to ART MODE after creating the mask…

  5. RAJLAKSHMI NAHATA (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    I AM VERY HAPPY & PLEASED TO LEARN THE TUTORIAL FROM YOUR SITE.IWANT TO LEARN MORE FROM U.PLZ SEND THE BEST TUTORIALS, TIPS & TRICKS FOR PHOTOSHOP, ILLUSTRATOR, & CORELDRAW IN MY EMAIL.

    THANKS,
    RAJLAKSHMI NAHATA

  6. Tala (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Very nice indeed ^_^

  7. Wonderer (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Is this a plugin? I have Illustrator CS3 and can’t find this under effects at all.

  8. Josh (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    How do you switch back from to ART MODE after creating the mask?!?!?!?

  9. mithun (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Please send the CS3 illustrator tutorial.

  10. MRP (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    I tried this tutorial but I don’t have the scribble effect? is it a plug in, I have the complete CS3 edition. What am I missing?

  11. H V Mukunda (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Hi

    Please tell me can we use like photoshop filters in illustrator directly

  12. Deborah (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Again…..How do you switch back from to ART MODE after creating the mask…

  13. Deborah (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Again…..How do you switch back from to ART MODE after creating the mask?… Otherwise this is a good tutorial. Don’t stop making them!!!!

  14. Karen (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    To switch to art mode, you simply click on the other box in the transparency panel (not the mask).

  15. Benjamin (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Great tutorial, the feeling you achieve is fantastic. Corey your tips are brilliant.

  16. Anton (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Wow, you could create mask with gradient mesh! Didnt knew that.

  17. rehmat hadi (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    the very ideal tutorial that widly important and most people need it.very nice work. thank u.

  18. Jesse Vlasveld (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Here I am, scanning in self-made “scribbles” not knowing there is a simple function built-in Illustrator.

    Will certainly come in handy, thanks.

  19. GILbert B (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    MUY BUENO ME PARECE EXCELENTE EL TUTORIAL Y NO SOLO ESTE SI NO TODOS LOS QUE OFRECEN………GRACIAS POR ESISTIRRRRRR

  20. [...] Blueprint Style Text in Adobe Illustrator A text effect thats surprisingly not as complicated as it looks. The end result is a text logo that resembles a blueprint. [...]

  21. SEGRAN PILLAY (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    this will really help me on a project I am workin on …thanks somuch,,,,,

  22. dchapell (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    great stuff – i’ve seen this used and wondered how this was created

  23. Crystal (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Very nice tutorial. Loved you you added the arrows to some of the letters to give it more of that blueprint effect. The gradient mesh mask trick was brilliant as well! Thank you!

  24. Dwayne.D.C.Tucker II (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Oh thank you so much. I have to create an ad for Thrus for my class and I wanted to think of something different. Seeing this just popped an idea in my head thank you!!!

    Matt get at me how are you doing how are things going?

    Dwayne.D.C.Tucker II
    Nassau,Bahamas
    http://DwayneTucker.com/blog

  25. sadiq (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    how i use the adobe photoshop styles in adobe illustrator pls tell me…

  26. scott (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Is anyone aware of a way to make the edges of the scribbled lines square? Or if there is any way to apply a brush style to each scribbled stroke? I am trying to simulate marker fills… is there another way without using scribble effect to produce a seemingly random marker look? i would love to get some help with this and would truly appreciate any comments.

  27. Brian (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    The scribble effect is a Illustrator CS4 Effect. Its new and was introduced in CS4.

  28. Gavin (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    enjoy your tut very much, everything work, I used AI CS2

  29. [...] 12. Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  30. Pete (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    You can’t use the photoshop effects if you are in CMYK. Is that not correct

  31. Luis (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    This is jus an awesome way to use mask and mesh, I never imagine this! thanks so much

    best regards from Guatemala

  32. Cumbrian (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    i too, used this on a live job that needed blueprint effect type. works a treat. i’m still using cs3 so it’s defo not a new thing to cs4

  33. Gurpreet Singh (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Very nice tutorial. I have used opacity mask with gradient never thought of using it with mesh tool. Thanks.

  34. rj (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    im using adobe illustrator 10 but it doesnt have scribble effects.

  35. Simon Corbett (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    is there a way to put a jpeg file or any other image file into the fill of a word in adobe illustrator cs4?

    Thankyou

  36. Simon Corbett (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    also is there any link to an interactive tutorial cd for adobe illustrator cs4 either cheap of free? Thankyou.

  37. Bell (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Very nice instructions!

  38. Jrgen (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Great tutorial!
    I’ve added it to the tutorial directory at http://www.TutorialMagazine.com. Contact me at jorgen [at] tutorialmagazine.com if you want your new tutorials to show up there automatically :D

    Jrgen
    - editor of http://www.TutorialMagazine.com

  39. jayesh Tanna (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Supperb!!

  40. Mike Angley (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Just what I was looking for. Even after 20 years of using Illustrator (since Illus.88) I learned something new – gradient mesh mask.

  41. Jason Skinner (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    Great tutorial!!! It is always hard to find a good font that offers a scribble form and now you just created a whole new way with ANY font.

  42. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  43. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  44. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  45. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  46. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]

  47. igor de Sousa Saraiva (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    very niiiiiiiiiiiice!

    amazing

    http://www.igorsaraiva.com

  48. JP (Reply) on Thursday July 31, 2008

    It would be nice to have hi-res images for each of the steps. But at the very least a hi-res of the final image would be great. Just a thought…

  49. [...] Blueprint-Style Text in Adobe Illustrator [...]



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