I'm working on a logo in Illustrator where the pieces have black outer glows to give depth to a paper-fold style logo theme.

enter image description here

The shadows on the outside of the logo text are just a result of the effect needed to achieve what I want on the inside of the logo text.

I want to contain the outer glows so that they only appear within the bounds of the letters, not showing up against the background.

How can I do this?

For a fast, rough example of my goal, I took this into photoshop and pajnted over the shadows I want to hide:

enter image description here

In photoshop, I could just mask the edges of this properly, but I need it done in Illustrator, in vector.

  • scratches back of head The very defintion of an outer glow is that the effect lies, well, outside of the shape. Really, the only way I can think of getting what you want is an inner glow, as @EnergyNumbers says. What about that does not match your expectations?
    – Vincent
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:12
  • 1
    @Vincent See the way each piece glows to emit an apparent shadow on the other pieces? That doesn't happen with an inner glow. an inner glow applied to the pieces would instead make the pieces glow inside themselves, which is not even close the this effect. I'm trying to figure out how to contain the outer glows so they only appear in the bounds of the shape. I dont understand why you guy think an inner glow would do that at all.
    – J.Todd
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:52
  • An inner glow would apply the glow to all inside edges of all shapes, rather than the the places where shadows should be cast..
    – J.Todd
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:53
  • 3
    I would use gradients, not glows. But that's me... avoiding raster at all times in logos.
    – Scott
    Feb 6, 2015 at 16:31
  • 1
    It's not an outer glow for the most part. They are shadows created by gradients on the sections. The top image is using an outer glow on everything, but even a dark to transparency gradient can achieve that. Are you wanting the top image exactly? I'd honestly not use the big outer glow on everything, but that's just my taste in logo design.
    – Scott
    Feb 6, 2015 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


It would seem to me that this is a fairly easy thing to pull off with gradients rather than raster effects.

enter image description here

It is just a matter of positioning gradients at the proper angles for some sections.


You will want to use an outer glow, in order to retain the shadow effect. The best way I think to achieve this is to mask your shapes, so their effects don't extend beyond the total shape. Proceed as follows:

  1. Copy all shapes and paste in front (Edit > Paste in Front or Ctrl / Cmd +Alt+Shift+V);
  2. With just the new shapes selected, unite them with the Pathfinder palette (the first icon);
  3. With the resulting shapes still selected, choose Object > Compound Path > Make;
  4. In the Appearance palette, click the 'stop board' icon to remove the path's appearance (and mainly, the copy of the glow effect);
  5. Add your original art to your selection;
  6. Make a Clipping Mask by choosing Object > Clipping Mask > Make (or right-click > Make Clipping Mask).

You can edit the clipping mask as well as its contents separately by entering Isolation Mode.

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