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Create a Dirty Grunge Typography Piece »

Create a Dirty Grunge Typography Piece

  1. Make a new document that is 757 (width) x 510 (height). Fill your document with the background color #0bd08d.
  2. Now to begin this piece, I will be using the typeface ‘Univers’ and it’s many forms. If you don’t have this typeface, don’t worry. There are many other alternatives that are just as good. I would recommend using Arial if you don’t have Univers. We’re going to begin by writing out “You know that if I could I would stop the world”. Of course before we begin we must think about how we will assemble the text. Typography pieces are construction to me. I group words based on their importance (which will be larger in hierarchy, which words are most important, which will be bold, etc.) and then I arrange them accordingly. Also, use white and black as your colors and alternate them as pictured. Or whatever you like best!
  3. One important thing I relate to typography is alignment. Things should line up properly. Things should look clean and together. I usually eyeball things but since we want to be precise here we’ll break out the rulers (CTRL+R) and line up some things to make sure everything is in order. Just drag the rulers down and see if things line up. Things don’t always have to be aligned (say if you’re doing an intentionally non-gridded piece) but for this piece they will be.
  4. Now that we’ve gotten everything aligned we can begin the designing stage. I’m going to begin to add blocks behind the text so they look more dynamic. Make sure you make a new raster for every block. This is a trial and error stage so using the colors black and #e2ee15 (this will be our secondary color) take the rectangle tool (step 1 in picture), make a new raster layer and fill it underneath the text (step 2 in picture).

    I then added another background to the words “YOU KNOW” (color #e2ee15).
  5. For the words “I WOULD” I added a black background underneath, then I changed the type color of the words to the color same as the background.
  6. Change the type color for “THE WORLD” to #e2ee15.
  7. Now we’ll begin adding in the brushes to give it that grunge type look. To do this we will merge all our text layers together so they can become raster layers, and we can edit them. In doing this we can no longer edit the text (the colors, sizing, etc.). So click and shift select all of your text layers then press CTRL+E.

  8. Select your eraser tool, and then select the “YOU KNOW” layer. Now, using a textured eraser like the one below, give the block some texture. You can get the brushes I’m using from my brush set collection on the site. The one I am using is from the set “Magazine Cut Out Scan Brushes” located here.

  9. Now still using your eraser, select some dust and speckled brushes. You can also get these from my site, they’re called “Dirt Speck Brushes” and “Dirt and Grunge Brushes” located here. Go to your newly merged text layer and begin going over the text with the dust brush AS AN ERASER. You should see texture immediately!
  10. Now we can go ahead and do this eraser technique to the rest of our text. As well as adding textures with certain brushes using the eraser tool.

  11. Once you’re satisfied with the texture that your text has taken, switch layers to your text block and do the exact same thing with the eraser tool.

  12. Now go to the top of your layers and make a new raster layer. Grab your brush tool, and selecting the dust brushes once more in the colors black and white.
  13. Add random brushes you find interesting, I’m using lots of scribbles and grunge type brushes. Again, you can find all these brushes in my brush section of the site. The brushes I’m using specifically in this step are from the brush pack titled “Street Grunge Dirt Brushes” located here.

    Added a splatter.
  14. I didn’t like how straight the blocks were (the one under I WOULD) so I went back and erased the top and bottom parts of it to give it some texture.
  15. Add some floral brushes to the piece with the same colors used in your blocks. Make sure you make a new raster layer for these as well, and you place the raster layer underneath the color blocks.

  16. After you’re finished take these swirl brushes (titled “Illustrator Spiral Brushes” in the brush section) and add them on their own raster layer on the very bottom of all these layers. This raster layer will be right on top of the background. This is just to make sure they’re under everything!

    Of course afterwards we will erase with a texured dust brush, so you know what to do!
  17. Voila, we are all done here. You can add some more of your own touches but for now, we have our own grunge text piece.

    View the full size version.

Posted 02/20/2010 - tutorials | 23 comments


  1. Heyy, first comment! This is a first for me. :D

    I really, really appreciate this tutorial. I really want to learn typography and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing it. :)

    Justine Danielle posted this February 20 * # Reply

  2. I really love the final outcome of this tutorial but there’s some methods I’d change. Instead of converting your text to a raster layer I’d recommend converting it to a smart object and using layer masks instead of the eraser tool. That way you can go back and edit your text at any stage you like.

    Lauren posted this February 20 * # Reply

  3. I just wanted to point out that Smart Objects are available only in versions CS2 and up for those who wish to use them.

    Sumaiya posted this February 20 * # Reply

  4. This tutorial was really useful!
    My result:

    Karen posted this February 23 * # Reply

  5. This tutorial is great, It really helped me. It even helped me learn Photoshop a little haha. Here’s the result I got, I think I added a bit too much, but practice makes perfect I suppose. :P


    Victoria posted this February 20 * # Reply

  6. Thank you so much for this tutorial!
    This is my final RESULT –

    Marie posted this February 20 * # Reply

  7. Here is my version. I don’t like it as much as yours though.


    Dannielle posted this February 21 * # Reply

  8. this tutorial is great. i’ve always wanted to learn typography. thanks(:

    you can see my piece here

    Mikayla posted this February 21 * # Reply

  9. Wow at the same time I was watching your result I was listening to the same track ….what a coincidence :)):))
    Let This Go — Paramore right?

    Cristiana posted this April 22 * # Reply

  10. thanks Jess!

    Anna posted this February 22 * # Reply

  11. whoa! thanks so much, mine turned out really great! thanks for these tutorials :D

    Yuffie posted this February 23 * # Reply

  12. This is an absolutely amazing tutorial yet again!
    You’re always so creative in the way you do stuff!
    Love this<3
    I hope to try it out soon!
    Everyone’s pieces are great too (:

    Charlotte posted this February 24 * # Reply

  13. Jessica, you never cease to amaze me :]
    Here’s my finish product. I really hope you like it.


    It should be the the first image in my gallery.

    Sabrina posted this February 27 * # Reply

  14. how can i get my background color to fill??

    shay posted this March 27 * # Reply

  15. this was great, thank you!!

    my result –

    taylor posted this July 09 * # Reply

  16. I really enjoyed this one.
    Thanks! (:

    Sarah posted this July 14 * # Reply

  17. your website is very good and it gave a lot of help for me :)
    I tried this tutorial and here is the final result :D

    Tinaa posted this August 27 * # Reply

  18. Hi, nice tutorial, thanks! is what i did.. a bit crazy.. hehe.. let me know what you think :)

    dithadoank posted this December 06 * # Reply

  19. I personally think it’s a bit too grungy

    Anonymous posted this April 04 * # Reply

  20. Here’s my result, I used this only roughly as a guidance. Good tutorial though!

    Anna posted this April 06 * # Reply

  21. This tutorial is AMAZING. You’re a genious!!! Anyways, here is my finished result :]

    I credited you in the artist’s comments section! Thanks so much for this tutorial.

    Nic posted this July 01 * # Reply

  22. hello jassica ,

    by the way your tutorial means no thing without snaps “images”
    i know u worked hard on it but , that doesn’t work for every one

    hope u get it well No hate


    wassimo posted this December 21 * # Reply


    Hello posted this November 02 * # Reply

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