I have a rounded square with some stroke. I want some inner color.

enter image description here

Similar to this. How can I achieve that effect in illustrator?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Yeah I agree @Benteh, I was traveling. Just opened up my computer :) Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 22:49
  • Splendid – good stuff.
    – benteh
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 23:17

5 Answers 5


The Inner Glow Way

  1. Select Object

  2. Go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow

  3. Choose black color and adjust the opacity and blur to your liking (make sure to change color mode to normal! default is screen)

  4. Rasterize the the object (Edit > Rasterize)

  5. Image Trace the object to create shadow levels (adjust number of colors)

Tinker with it.

Here is an example:

enter image description here

Multiple Strokes Way

You can create the effect using multiple strokes. To add multiple strokes open up the Appearance window and click on the Add new stroke button / icon, it is the first in the bottom left side of the panel.

Make sure the strokes are inside the object for optimal control.

Example: enter image description here

  • 1
    Your Multiple Strokes technique is pretty neat, learnt something new today, cheers +1 Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    Multiple strokes is definitely the way to go if supported by your version of Illustrator. I'd point out that you can change the opacity/blending mode for each stroke, which would be the best way to replicate the way the strokes layer on top of each other in the original image. Also, you can really quickly copy this appearance to another object if you want to use the same effect multiple times.
    – wing-it
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 15:13

I think multiple strokes is a great way to achieve this effect, but there is another method that may or may not be better, depending on your specific needs.

Start with your outer path, no stroke, fill with the color you want for the outermost stroke. Go to Object > Path > Offset Path... and enter how much smaller you want to make the inner path.

Offset path

Then change the fill of the inner shape to the color you want the innermost part to be, select both and go to Object > Blend > Make (hotkey is Alt+Ctrl+B on Windows). Then go to Object > Blend > Blend Options..., change the spacing to "Specified Steps" and enter the number of steps you want, hit OK and you're done!

Blend Options

There are a couple of advantages to this method.

  • Available in older versions of Illustrator
  • Size and color of each section is automatically generated rather than you having to manually figure out values
  • You can play with the blend options and the size and color of both shapes to quickly try out multiple looks
  • You can quickly convert this into multiple separate paths if necessary by going to Object > Blend > Expand

Again, this may or may not be a better method, it really depends on your specific needs.

  • that's a great approach too!
    – Aziz
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 5:36

@Aziz answer is great, if you are using an older version of AI that does not allow multiple strokes and you need vector paths, this may help.

If you need the artwork to be vector paths (say you want to cut vinyl graphics on a plotter for example) you can try this method. Obviously this way is little more labour intensive and less customisable, so only use if you need your shapes to be paths.

  1. Replicate your shape the number of times you need and give them strokes increasing in size (the largest will be you most inner colour)
  2. Outline your strokes and remove the main fill
  3. Delete the out edge, so you shape is no longer hollow
  4. Align all of your shapes together (or place how you would like them)

Finished Shape

Outline view

Preview and outline together

  • 1
    This is very awesome and answers another question I had. Sometimes building an object I want to avoid strokes, this is perfect. It is more work, so in this case I don't think I will use this method, but I definitely think I can use this in many other cases. Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 22:56
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    @MichaelJosephAubry yeah it's definitely more situational, but I thought it was worth documenting incase it was one of the rare occasions you needed to use it. Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 23:22

The is a very simple process, and can be achieved with one object.

First create your initial object:

Initial object

Now, open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).

Appearance panel

Then, with the object selected, duplicate the stroke in the appearance panel by dragging it to the duplicated selected item at the bottom of the panel. Move the duplicated stroke below the original, change the color and stroke size.

Add new stroke

You may add/duplicate as many strokes as you need, move each newer one to the bottom of the stack and manipulate color and stroke size.

Add a third stroke


  1. Keep the object selected all the time to see the results as you are doing them.

  2. In order to maintain the transition to the inside, select "Align stroke to inside" from the stroke panel.

  3. You can also click on the little arrow next to the stroke to open the opacity option (opening a whole new universe of creativity).

  4. Should you want to use the final style on other objects later, you may save it by selecting "New graphic style" in the graphic styles panel.

Hope this method has been useful to you and anyone who is reading this.


You should try using the appearance panel - Window / Appearance. Apply a new fill on top of your square and use transform to scale the new fill down. That's your first shadow. Repeat this action.

  • I'd use the multiple stroke technique, it's easier to implement and you can achieve a much better result. The only downside is the reusability, as you'd have to go through them one by one and change them.
    – Septronic
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 14:43

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