Two simple ways to make textured text in Sketch

Ivana Galic
Dec 16, 2015 · 3 min read

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a poster with a cool textured text. I decided to go with a poster because it is the most common use of textured text, but you can also create amazing website headers using the same techniques or even packages for physical product. Possibilities are endless really, so don’t be afraid to explore.

Let’s begin by importing a photo to Sketch. You do this by going to Insert → Image in the menu bar. I used the photo from deathtothestockphoto.com and cropped it to fit my needs.

There are two ways you can make a textured text in Sketch. First goes like this: you fill the characters with a texture by going to the Fills in the inspector then to Pattern Fill to the right to choose the image you want to fill the characters with. The other way is to import the image you want to fill the characters with onto the canvas, convert the text to outlines and use it as a mask. But, let’s go step by step.

After importing the main image into the canvas, write the text (by pressing letter T on your keyboard or going to Insert → Text in the menubar). In my case, it is “Take a journey into the wild”. I split it into 2 text layers with different fonts.

Now, after we wrote our text, let me show you the first mentioned way to fill it with texture.

  1. Go to Fills to the right in the inspector, then select the Pattern Fill (it’s the striped icon).
  2. Click on Choose Image.
  3. Select the image you want to fill the characters with.

I have a great photo of pine woods, again from deathtothestockphoto.com, which I think makes a nice texture for the story we are telling. I cropped it so I don’t get the mist in the characters, otherwise, the characters won’t be visible on the background. You can play with the Tile or Fill option, but for this purpose, I will use Fill. Since the goal is to communicate the journey into the wild I will create a texture on the text layer, “Into the wild”, using the heavy bold font Ultra.

The good thing about this technique is that the text is still editable after applying the texture.

On the other hand, you can’t affect which segment of the image is going to be used. I had to crop mine to get the part I want.

The other way for creating textured text has its own pros and cons. But let’s first go through the steps to see how it’s done.

  1. Import the image you want to fill the text with. I’ll use the same pine woods image as in the first case and position it above the text layer “Into the wild”.
  2. Group the text “Into the wild” and the image you want to fill it with together and rename it to “into the wild” (to keep it nice and tidy).
  3. Next, Convert the text to outlines by right-clicking on the selected text layer. That means that our characters will become ordinary shapes (an awesome feature in Sketch, gives you a lot of flexibility in creating new shapes from characters!).
  4. Lastly, right-click on that text layer again and select Use as a mask.

And you get the same cool textured text like in the first case.

There are some differences, though. Once you convert text to outlines, you can’t edit it anymore as a font, only as a regular shape. Also, you can control what segment of the image is used as a texture. There is no right or wrong answer here, experiment and see what technique works best for you.

Credits for the photos go to Death to the Stock Photo, under the license: http://deathtostock.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/Death-to-the-Stock-Photo-Photograph-End-User-License-8-2015.pdf

Ivana Galic

Written by

UI/UX designer. Loves all things nature, diving, hiking, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, French comedies, rock music and rain.

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