Glitch Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

In this video, we will explore the process of creating a stunning glitch text effect in Adobe Illustrator. First, we will cut the text apart using the pathfinder tool to create multiple pieces of the text. Then, we will transform these copies in various ways to create a fragmented and distorted glitched edge. To add to the glitch effect, we will add glitch colors to the copied text and layer on lines and color. Finally, we will use the rectangle tool to create the artifacts that give this text effect a deep and realistic glitch effect. By the end of this tutorial, you will have the skills to impress all of your friends with your own unique glitch text designs. It’s all completely vector, too!

Create a new Illustrator document sized 1920×1080.

Add a rectangle and get rid of the stroke. Fill this rectangle with a dark teal-to-black gradient and use the gradient tool to adjust this as a radial gradient and just generally adjust it until it looks like a nice and subtle gradient background. Align the rectangle to the center of the artboard.

Lock that layer and create a new layer.

Generally, it is a good idea to use a large, sans-serif font for this typography effect. I chose two fonts from Adobe Fonts called Kallisto Heavy and the font I ended up using was Forma Black Italic.

I created this text and sized it to 275pt and filled it with 95% gray #f3f3f3

Right-click on the text and choose to convert it to outlines. This transforms the live text into shapes.

Use the Pen Tool and draw four straight lines across the text. Hold down the shift key while drawing the line to keep them perfectly straight and hit the Enter/Return key after each line so you will be able to create a fresh, new line each time you draw across the text.

Drag a selection over all the text and the four lines. Open the Pathfinder panel and choose the “Divide” function. This will use the four lines to cut the text into four layers.

It will probably appear as if nothing happened. That is OK. Select the text and go to Object>Ungroup. You will now have a bunch of <Path> layers that appear in the Layers panel.

Use the selection tool to drag a selection over just the bottom pieces of the text. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + G to group this text together. Lock this group in the Layers panel and repeat this process for each “layer” of cut text on the artboard. You will now have five groups of sliced pieces of text.

Select one slice of text at a time and shift them left or right to build the base of the glitching effect.

Select all of the groups of letter pieces and go Object>Group.

Now, with this group selected, go Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform and choose to move the shape +10 on the horizontal move slider and make 1 copy. Hit OK.

Now go Object>Expand Appearance and then go Object>Ungroup. The Group in the Layers panel on the bottom is now the artwork that has been shifted 10px to the right.

Select the bottom group and fill this artwork with the color #e50083

Select the original white type and repeat the process of transforming, but this time move the text -10px on the horizontal move slider and create one copy.

Again, go Object>Expand Appearance and then go Object>Ungroup. The Group in the Layers panel on the bottom is now the artwork that has been shifted 10px to the left.

Select this new group of text and fill it with the color #07ede6.

Grab the Rectangle tool and click a single time and create a 40x4px rectangle shape. Fill this shape with white.

Alt/Opt + drag out copies of this white line to drag and drop little streaks all around the letters wherever it seems to make sense.

Lock the white, magenta, and cyan text layers and drag a selection over all the little white shapes that we just created. Go Object>Group to group all of these shapes into one selectable group.

Next, create two new rectangles, each one 40x2px in size. Fill one of these shapes with the same magenta and fill the other with the same cyan color we’d used earlier.

Duplicate these little shapes around the edges to build out the glitch effect even more. Drag a selection over them all and group these lines into a single group.

Drag the cyan shapes’ group to just above the cyan text but, leave the magenta shapes’ group up above all the text. This will give the illusion that the text if being slightly cut even more from the top down.

Unlock the white center text and select it. Go Edit>Copy. Lock up the original white center text.

Go Edit>Paste in Front. Fill this text with the same cyan-blue color we used in our glitch text. Select this new piece of text and go to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur and blur this about 75px. (TIP: Adjust the Add Around Object number to 75px in the Document Raster Settings if your blur has sharp edges.)

Set this new blurry shape to the Overlay blend mode.

Duplicate this shape and paste it in front. Fill this blurry shape with the same magenta that we used on our glitch text and drag this blurry magenta text below all of the text that we have.

Now, set this magenta blurred text to the Color Dodge blend mode.

Finally, duplicate that cyan blurry text one more time and set this layer to the blend mode Soft Light and drag it just below the top cyan-colored glow that we just made.

We now have glitched text that is glowing above a dark background. The final graphical element we can add is a simple scan line. Grab the Rectangle tool and click a single time and choose to create a 1920x5px and fill it with black.

Align this rectangle to the top center of the artboard and duplicate the rectangle to the bottom center.

Now go Object>Blend>Blend Options and choose the “Specified Steps” option and choose 90 steps.

Select both of our blue lines and go Object>Blend>Make and then set this new blend group to the Overlay blend mode and 10-15% opacity.

Finally, tweak and adjust the background color to change the intensity of the glows and scanline effects.