Long Shadow Effect in Adobe Illustrator – Step by Step

A lot of you may be wondering how to make long shadows in illustrator. Making a trendy long shadow effect is not as hard as we think. There are many ways to create this but using the transform tool has many advantages.

Such as:

  • Long Shadow effect remains live.
  • Apply on any object or shape (using Graphic Style).
  • Change the direction of your shadow.
  • Change the colours as you wish.

So let’s get started and create a flat long shadow in illustrator.


Create a new document with the size of 1100px x 740px (you are free to choose whatever size you want). Now make a rectangle same size of your artboard and give it any colour as a background so we can clearly see the long shadow effect I am giving it a nice orange colour (#d14841).

Activate the Type Tool by pressing T on your keyboard and type any word you want and align it to the centre. Give it a white colour you can choose whatever colour you want to have.

long shadow step 1


Here comes the trick to make the long shadow effect. Go to Effect then go to Distort & Transform and then click on Transform. You should have the Transform Effect properties window popup. Now you need to specify settings to have the long shadow effect. Make sure Preview box is checked so you can see the live changes.

Under the move change the horizontal value to 0.5px and vertical value 0.5px too. Under the Options make sure you have Transform Objects selected. Now in the copies section make around 800 copies this may be different in your case. We just need to make sure the long shadow effect goes beyond your artboard and then click OK.

long shadow step2    long shadow step22

Step-3 :

While selecting it to click on the Eyedropper Tool (I) on your keyboard and click on the background to adopt the same fill colour as the background. Now go to Transparency Panel and change the Blending Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 30% or whatever fits best in your case.

So far we have this long shadow effect but we have not finished yet. There are still few steps left to have our finished look.

long shadow step3


Now make a copy of this and paste it to the front of the current long shadow. ( Ctrl+C to Copy – Ctrl+F to Paste at the front). While selecting this new copy go to Appearance panel and find the Transform effect on it and press delete. This will remove the long shadow effect from the new copy and you will have only text left. Also in the Transparency Panel change the Blending mode back to Normal and Opacity back to 100% also change the colour of the text to white and now you have the nice looking long shadow effect.

You may notice that long shadow is going way beyond the artboard and we need to fix this. Now there are many ways to fix this but let me show you one easy way to fix this. This method will not let you expand the objects and will make the long shadow effect live so you can save it and use it on any object or text.

long shadow step4    long shadow step44


Make a new Rectangle same size as your artboard. Here you need to make sure you have no Fill and no Stroke selected for this Rectangle. Now while this Triangle selected press and hold shift and select the long shadow and then right click and choose Make Clipping Mask on the drop-down menu.

long shadow step5

This will clip the long shadow effect inside that triangle and you will not have this outside of your artboard. Now one last thing you need to adjust as this has pushed the text itself on the back so we need to bring that front and push this long shadow effect at back.

To do this right click on the rectangle which has the long shadow, of it and from the drop-down menu go to arrange and select Send Backwards. You can also click Ctrl+[ on your keyboard for quick action.

long shadow step55    long shadow step555

We are done. We have now this nice looking Long Shadow Effect.

final preview

Now let’s see how you can save this as a style and apply it to any object or text.

Double click on the rectangle which contains the Long Shadow effect to enter in the isolation mode. Now go to Windows on the top bar and click on the Graphic Style from the drop-down. You should have the Graphic Styles panel popup. Now click and drag the long shadow effect and drop inside this panel.

isolation mode

This will add as a Graphic Styles and now you can apply this effect to any text or the object you can also change the direction or the opacity of this as you want. To apply this effect on any new object or the Text simply select the new object or text you want to have the effect on then simply click once on the new Graphic Styles swatch and this will apply the effect to the object.

graphic style1    graphic style2

You may also notice there is no colour or effect upon applying the effect on the new object simply change the fill colour to any colour you want so you will have the effect visible.

If you wish to change the direction simply go to Appearance Panel and click on the Transform. This will open up the Transform Effect window again from where you can change as you want.


If you want to learn more about Illustrator Tips & Tricks check out the following Posts.

How to make reflection- super easy way – Adobe Illustrator

How to make round corners in older versions of Illustrator

Offset Path Explained – The Right Way – Adobe Illustrator CC

5 Quick tips beginners should know – speed up your workflow in Illustrator.

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