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Any ideas how can I create "subtly pushed" buttons like the "Active filter" buttons in the following screenshot?

Mockup with subtly pushed buttons

The mockup is from here.

UPDATE: Here's what I have got so far:

Current status

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I posted a question here regarding elements of this post.… – Michel L Oct 29 '15 at 12:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try using an Inner Shadow Layer Style:

Inner Shadow Layer Style

You can tweak the size and opacity to adjust how subtle you want the effect to be

Pressed Button

Edit-- How to closely replicate the example:

Taking a very close look at the example, it "pops out" using 3 features:


  1. An inner shadow to give the button depth
  2. A white drop shadow to give the foreground depth
  3. A gradient stroke to give the button more depth

I used the following layer style settings to try and recreate the example as close as possible (in addition to a Gradient Overlay of course):

Layer Styles

The Result:


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Hi John, the original button has an effect that looks like an inner curve to they eye. As if its borders are a couple of pixels closer to the viewer than the adjacent pixels. But your buttons have a more flat-like surface. I had already found a tutorial that had suggested the same steps as you do here, but I couldn't achieve quite the desired effect. – Behrang Dec 26 '12 at 15:47
I'm not sure I know what you mean by "inner curve". I tried replicating the button as close as possible, does this show the effect you're looking for? Top one is mine, bottom is the original: – JohnB Dec 26 '12 at 16:21
Thanks John! Looks great! – Behrang Dec 27 '12 at 15:24

This is a fairly simple CSS button being replicated in PSD. I believe what John was seeing as an inner shadow is actually just a mis-aligned pixel.

Here are the basic ingredients:

  1. Dark outer border
  2. Medium to light gradient (same hue as the border)
  3. Text shadow shifted down 1px using the border color

The "remove" button looking debossed in the button provides further illusion of depth.

To improve the 3D affect of the styling, I would make a change to the text shadow. If the text is empressed into the button and not sitting on it, the shadow would be shifted in the opposite direction.

enter image description here

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The typical technique is to reverse the gradient. A standard button typically goes from top-top-bottom light-to-dark. A pushed button then goes from dark-to-light. In addition, an inner shadow may also be applied.

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