I'm trying to copy the text effect on an existing logo to no avail. I have been using Illustrator to work on the logo but cannot seem to get it workout the way I want.

enter image description here

It's not that I want to copy the logo! I have another font where I want that black border, the grey border inside with gradient to use in one of my own logos.

I'm not an Illustrator guru so the exact terminology of the used techniques you must forgive me. I tried all kinds of tutorials and found that the outline is doable but the inside fonts connecting is a bit problem I can't seem to figure out.

  • Black border is just outline wich is easy
  • But how could I make the inner letters connect like in the ugo logo and have a sharp edge like between the U and the G and the O on the bottom where the letters connect?

Any advice on how I could accomplish this?


Okay I messed around a bit! Nice nice its actually quite fun doing Illustrator if you know how to tame it ;)

Here is an example of what I have now, its ugly but the FX is correct:

enter image description here

Now the most simple part I seem to be unable to get together: the ellipse and make the type a mask for the ellipse.


After another 20 minutes searching fiddling around I figured it out ;)

enter image description here

3 Answers 3


I'm a HUGE fan of the Appearance Panel.

Using the Appearance panel you don't need to duplicate anything and you can keep the text live so you can edit it at any point in the future. Duplicating objects, for me, simply means there's two to three times more work involved if you should need to change something like a single character. Also, if you create this via the Appearance Panel, you can save Graphic Styles and next time you need the same effect, it takes 3 clicks to apply.

Here's the results I got....

Outer Appearance Inner Appearance

To create this effect you need to set the text, then Group it (even if it's only one object)

The top image shows the Appearance Panel for the outer group. The second image shows the appearance panel inside the group.

The outer group: Note the stacking order of items in the screen shot. It's somewhat important. You need the white stroke above <contents> and all other items below <contents>. Then I basically just applied fills with varying degrees of Effect > Path > Offset path applied. The gradient is offset by 5points, the black is offset by 15 points. Specific numbers will depend on your given font size.

If you double click the <contents> item you dive into...

The inner appearance: Here I've simply added a fill and applied a radial white to grey to white gradient. Then using the gradient Tool and the Gradient Annotator positioned the gradient accordingly. Then a simple grey stroke and used Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform to move the stroke down 1 point.

In the end you're left with a single object. And the type is live so you can retype anything and get the same appearance only needing to adjust the kerning for the text. You can also easily change fonts if needed.

Changing made easy

  • Good tip. I don't use AI, but the appearances tool would be one reason to maybe eventually give in to it. ;)
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2012 at 21:51
  • @DA01 Oh sure, when he suggests the appearance tool....... ;p
    – Farray
    Feb 23, 2012 at 22:16
  • @Farray I was swayed by the pictures. ;)
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2012 at 22:26
  • I figured... just because the pretty pictures :)
    – Scott
    Feb 23, 2012 at 23:13
  • 1
    @DA01 I found this a while back and it swayed me on the Appearance tool. The particular aesthetic of their examples is very blah, but the last example really got my attention and shows off the power of Apperances. In the example, they make a rose with multiple, petals, stem and leaves... using nothing but 1 ellipse shape and adding appearances to it. Extremely powerful...
    – Farray
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:01

The the letters, convert to outlines, and union them if you want them tightly kerned/overlapping like that.

Then clone it 3 times so you have 3 identical objects on top of each other.

Give the bottom one a large black stroke. Give the middle one a medium gray stroke. Give the top one no stroke, but a white fill.

Now convert the middle one's path to an object (I believe it's part of the pathfinder tools and will be labeled something like 'convert path to object')

Now give this a gradient fill. Note that this is sort of a reflective surfave modulating between white and a light gray. I'd experiment with the gradient options until you find one that gives you that effect. A cone gradient would likely work...or even a linear one that goes back and forth between colors multiple times.

Give the bottom most item (black outlines) a drop shadow.

You now have the black and silver borders done.

Now draw a large, wide ellipse across the top of your letters and give it a linear gradient from light gray at the top to white at the bottom. This is the reflection line you will be adding to the topmost letters (the white ones).

Clone your top layer (the white text) and place it above the ellipse you just made. You can now either use the pathfinder command to select both and combine where they overlap, or you can use the type as a mask for the ellipse. Now you have your reflection.


Some more info. First, I'll explain why I love the clone tool. Lots of people like trying to do more with one object, but I've always preferred having a bunch of duplicate objects that I can simply do more with individually to create one larger composition. This is especially useful once you get the hang of all the pathfinder tools where you may find your self constantly cloning an object to add and subtract chunks from.

As for the follow up question...the 'reflection' on the top layer, I can't give you the specific AI commands, as I use Inkscape now (RIP Freehand).

But in inkscape, here's what I'd do:

Take your topmost white UGO letterforms and clone that. On top of that shape, draw a large ellipse so that you get that nice curve somewhere in the middle of your letters. Give this ellipse a linear gradient top to bottom going from light gray to white.

Now select both your cloned UGO and your elipse and use the 'intersection' pathfinder tool. In Inkscape it's PATH >> INTERSECTION

You now have an individual object that is your reflection.

You could also use masks, which are less destructive, but I personally find having individual objects easier to work with. Feels more tactile to me.

  • I try this, most tutorials got me stuck on a certain part. The convert path to object I couldn't find but " Outline Stroke " on the 2nd element seems to work also.
    – Rubytastic
    Feb 23, 2012 at 17:45
  • Never thought about I could clone the text 3 times and use that, All my attempts where based on 1 single object of fonts. I now have it almost done big thx! Only problem your last paragraph I cannot figure out, how would I make the type a mask for the ellipse? could you explain that a bit more? bit thx!
    – Rubytastic
    Feb 23, 2012 at 17:59
  • @Rubytastic I updated my answer with a bit more info. BTW, thanks for posting your progress. It's always fun to see what people can come up with!
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2012 at 19:12

DA01 has the right process. As an aside to his answer, you might be able to do the same thing without cloning multiple objects. On the "Appearance" toolbox, add additional strokes and fills to the same object. For the stroke with a gradient, you can use an additional fill with an Offset effect.

The only part I'm not sure about is the complex gradients -- I only have CS3 on the machine I'm working today but I think you may be able to achieve the curved gradient with edge fades on CS5.

Quick hacky example (with incorrect gradients):

enter image description here

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