Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Envelope Distort

People have been crying out for more tutorials from us. The truth is we have been so busy working for our clients that finding time for members of the team to write tutorials is tough. However this time we've made the effort and hope our budding designers like this one...


Ever wanted to wrap some text inside a shape? The way you do it is with Illustrators handy "Envelope Distort" which can produce some very creative and exciting shapes to make your designs that extra bit special! "Tell me more" we hear you say - ok we will...

Step 1 / Shape up

Create the shape you want to eventually fill with text. For this example we produced a shape by using pen tool (Hot Key P). Make sure you join the edges of the shape together so its one continuous path. You can also use standard shapes like rectangles (Hot Key M) or ovals (Hot Key O).

Step 2 / Set the type

Next - create the text you wish to fill the shape. You do this selecting the Type Tool (Hot Key T) and then clicking and draging on your artboard to create a text box. Tap in your text and then formate it using the "Character" Pallet (Hot Keys OPTION +T).

Step 3 / Outline

Now "Outline" your text by selecting it (using the "Selection tool" - Hot key V) and then go to Type > Create Outlines (or hot keys Shift + Command + O).

Step 4 / Reorder & Shape

Make Sure your text is 'behind' the shape you want it to fill - Select the object and go to Object > Arrange > Send to back (Hot keys Shift + Command [ ). Also select different colors for your text and main object

Step 5 / Enveloping

Now we should be ready for Envelope Distorting! So simply select the text and the shape you wish for it to be fitted into. Go to Object > Evvelope Distort > Make with top object (or hot keys: alt + command + C) and wham - you have yourself a very cool piece of typography!

Step 6 / Finish it off

To finish off go to Object > Flatten Transparency and hit "ok" - you'll now find that you can see the bezier curves which will allow you to edit or position the object further if you need to.


So - another cracking effect brought to us via Adobe Illustrator! Leave a comments or example of this effect in action! Enjoy enveloping!


This is a great tutorial. It looks really effective when used and displayed in the right way. This is a much simpler way of doing this effect. I would have spent quite a while trying to adjust the text on top of the object. However, with this way I have found that it doesn't always work with thinner objects or objects that are at an angle.

Nice one! Really helpful... Thanks.

This is a brilliant way to distort typography, im still really keen to expand my knowledge of illustrator as its a great tool.

Cool tut, this will come in handy!!


Great simple technique! Sometimes there are so many little things in illustrator that we don't fully see. This one I never noticed. Cheers!

I"m having trouble it says I need to select multiple objects but I am...

hi there i have followed all the steps and its worked but the shape the type is overlaed onto has lost its colour ?

any thoughts on whats gone wrong ?
thanks by the way top tips

Thanks for the comments guys.

@Katherine - this might help: Select Multiple Objects ยป - if you are doing that then it should work.

@Ross - Sorry, not sure why it would have lost it's colour? Hopefully you can at least select it and then add the old colour back in?

Great tutorial. Its such a nice technique. I will definitely try this now. Thanks for sharing.

Well I was a die-hard Freehand person until I had no choice. Much like Starbucks; boy was I wrong! Very slick trick for future creations. Best of all; SIMPLE!

Thanks for the awesome tutorial.I am also working on my sites and I think I can add this tutorial in some part of the sites.