How to Make Glow Effect in Adobe Illustrator

The primary method of making a glow effect in Illustrator is to apply the Inner and Outer glow effect to your object. 

Select the object, go to the overhead menu, click Effect > Stylize > then choose your preferred glow effect (Inner or outer glow). Use the pop-up dialogue box to customize the glow effect (you can edit the opacity, color, and blur percentage).

Hi, my name is Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. I like using the glow effect to evoke emotions with my designs – plus it’s easy to use. 

In this tutorial, I will show you different ways to make a glow effect in Illustrator in this article.

Key Takeaways

  • You can adjust the outer glow effect settings to create the desired glow effect. You can choose the color, opacity, size, blend mode, noise level, etc
  • The glow effect adds a soft-bright depth in or around an object.
  • Always select your shape/text before adding the glow effect.

3 Ways to Make Glow Effect in Illustrator

You can either use the blur effect or the (inner or outer) glow effects to make something glow in Adobe Illustrator. Additionally, you can also make a gradient glow effect. 

You can either add a glow effect to text or shape. So go ahead and create a shape or add text to your Artboard.

Your object is ready. Let’s go ahead and add a glow effect to it.

Note:  All screenshots are from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Version. Mac and other versions may appear different. 

Method 1: Inner/Outer Glow

Let’s apply the glow effect to the text and shape below.

Step 1: Select the object using the Selection Tool from the toolbar or if you want to add the same effect to everything on a layer, select the layer from the Layers panel.

Step 2: With your object selected, go to the overhead menu, then select Effect  > Stylize > Glow (choose your preferred glow effect Inner or Outer Glow).

Note: The inner glow brightens the object from the inside while the outer glow brightens around the object. 

Let’s apply the Inner Glow effect to our object.

Did you notice the glow inside the object? That’s what the inner glow effect does.

Now, let’s use the Outer Glow effect and see the difference between the two.

You can adjust the glow settings to achieve your desired glow result (check the preview box to see the result while trying out different settings).

Tip: If you want to edit the glow effect, go to Windows > Appearance. Click on the glow effect to reopen the dialogue box, where you can adjust the settings. 

Method 2: Gradient Tool

I often use the Gradient Tool to make a more complex and dynamic glow effect on my shapes and text. 

I think this method is cool because it allows you to create a gradient that fades from one color to another – which helps to make your design more believable. 

Let’s use the Gradient tool to add glow to our object in a few quick steps.

Step 1: Select the shape and click on the Gradient Tool in the toolbar.

Step 2: Click and drag the gradient tool across the shape to create a gradient (press G on your keyboard to activate the Gradient Tool).

Adjust the gradient angle, colors, and opacity to achieve the desired glow effect.

I just changed the color of my shape and also removed the text (I want to apply the effect on just the shape).

Tip: You can combine gradient with other glow effects.

For example, I will combine the “Outer Glow” effect with the gradient effect to create a more vibrant look.

Method 3: Blur Effect

You can continue working on a gradient-filled shape or just a regular-filled shape. 

Then simply select the shape, go to the overhead menu, and select Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

You can move the Radius slider to increase the blur. The higher the radius, the more faded the edges and corners of the shape will be. 

How to Make a Neon Glow Effect with the Blur Tool

If you want to add vibrance to your object with the glow effect, then use this method. The neon glow is a trend that you can incorporate into your designs to make it pop.

Let’s make the neon glow effect on our shape using the blur effect.

Step 1: Select your object and change the fill color to None. Then select a stroke color for your shape. Increase stroke to make the effect more obvious.

Step 2: Go to the Appearance panel and select Gaussian Blur. Since you have already applied some effect to the object, it is easier to just go to the appearance panel to apply the Gaussian Blur.

That’s it. You just made a neon glow effect.

Final Thoughts

Creating a glow effect in Adobe Illustrator is a simple and effective way to add depth and dimension to your designs. You can achieve a variety of glow effects by experimenting with different settings and effects. You can also use gradients and other effects to create more complex and dynamic glows.

Any questions or ideas to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

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