I am a newbie to Illustrator. What I want is to create add a "pressed-in" effect to a shape (basically add some depth to it), so that it looks like it has been "pressed-in" into its surrounding background.

What I want is kind of similar to how especially the dot of the i in the following logo looks:

enter image description here

But I want it to be a bit more pronounced.

Could anybody provide pointers on how to do this in Illustrator?

2 Answers 2


As Johannes points out, it's merely a darker edge on one side.

The easiest way to do this in Illustrator is via the Appearance panel.

It's simply a matter of adding a dark fill and a light fill, then moving them 1 point (or more) so they essentially "stick out" from behind the main fill.

In the image below you can see I've added two new fills and moved the new fills below the "Character" item in the Appearance panel.


I then moved the dark fill up 1 point by highlighting it in the Appearance Panel and choosing Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. (The -1pt actually moves the art upward - 0 is center negatives are up, positives are down)


I then highlighted the lighter fill and again used Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform to move that fill down 1 point.


You can reverse the dark and light offset to make the type appear to rise a bit rather than sink.

The advantage to the Appearance Panel method is it retains the live type - You can edit the actual text and retain the effect. In addition, it's one solid appearance so you can save it to the Graphic Styles Panel and then simply click the style if you ever wish to apply the same appearance again.


The key is subtlety.

Depth is created by shadows, and to the untrained eye shadows may not actually even register.

But with careful examination (in this case zooming in on the image) we can kind of break down what is happening.

Take a look below:

enter image description here

As you can see, the depth in this example is created by the dark line/shade at the top of the A and i It's very very small, only about a pixel in height, which is what makes it hard to figure out at times. However, it manages to create enough contrast to create the illusion of depth.

So how do you do it? Well there's countless ways. You can use the pen tool to draw the areas of contrast, you can make shapes, use the pathfinder between two shapes.

I think that the best way to really learn is just be examining and exploring various examples, and the more familiar you get with it all, the easier and more "second-naturey" it'll feel.


I would also like to mention that in this example the "pressed-in" feel is created by positioning the darker areas at the top of the lighter areas. You won't find it on the bottom or on the sides.


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