A lot of sports logos use this effect, where shapes are outlined twice by different colors:

  1. Black outline, orange outline
  2. White outline, blue outline
  3. Blue outline, white outline

enter image description here

But when I try to outline a shape in illustrator, it encroaches on that shape:

(See top image in screenshot)

What I've been doing is copying the shape, changing the color of the copy, and placing it behind the original. Then I try and and measure out both sides to make sure that there is even space and good symmetry when I resize the copy:

enter image description here

Is there a faster / more efficient way of doing this? Is there a way to outline the shape without the outline entering the shape and cutting off the color? Thank you.

  • So I am looking at this and left wondering if you have ever heard of offset? And then my next thinking is have you heard of effects? Could you enlighten me on this for my personal interest. Seems to me this has been answered but I am unable to find a exact match. But this post is close, but using transform instead of offset.
    – joojaa
    Sep 15, 2016 at 21:04
  • I just learned about offset after posting, since this link showed up as related, but I had not yet heard of transform. Both links are helpful and answer my question. Thanks! Sep 15, 2016 at 21:13

2 Answers 2


You can add multiple strokes to a single object with the Appearance panel (Window → Appearance). You can also use the Appearance panel on whole groups or layers. You can also apply effects to specific strokes or fills.

You can see this example is a single live text object and a single ellipse. Using the Appearance panel I added 2 strokes to the text and 3 strokes to a group containing the text and the ellipse. I also added a Transform effect to one of the strokes on the text.

Appearance Panel Strokes

Keep in mind that the order of appearance attributes matters, so in this example I had to drag "Contents" (which contains everything in the group) above the strokes, otherwise the strokes would be drawn on top of the groups contents.


The easiest way to do this is duplication of the object, as many times as you need. Top copies have the lesser (thinner) outlines, lower ones have the thicker outlines.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.