How to Create an Ice Text Effect in Adobe InDesign

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this short tutorial you’ll learn how to create an icy effect which you can apply to any text. Guaranteed to give your designs an instant wintry vibe, this is also a quick introduction to InDesign effects for beginners.

If you want to add a unique touch to your text effect, you can easily switch up the font to create a very different look. Head over to GraphicRiver or Envato Elements to source fab fonts for your next project. 

Ready to create our icy effect? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need to Create Your Frozen Effect

As well as having access to Adobe InDesign, you’ll also need to download the following images and font files to create your effect:

* If you’d like to use a different font for your text effect, go ahead!

1. How to Create a Frozen Backdrop for Your Text Effect

Step 1

Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document. You can create the type effect at any size you wish, but here I’m going to set up an A3 landscape page with the Intent set to Print.

Once you’ve set up the specs for your document, go ahead and click OK

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on the Layer 1 name. In the Options window, change the name to Background and click OK.

background layer

Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the panel and rename the new layer Typography. Finally, create a third layer and name it Texture

Lock both the Texture and Typography layers, clicking on the Background layer to activate it. 


Step 2

Take the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag across the whole page. Go to File > Place and choose the ice background image you downloaded earlier. Click Open and allow it to fill up the whole frame. 

ice background

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s top-right drop-down menu. 

Name the swatch Blue and set the levels to C=60 M=26 Y=9 K=0. Click Add and then OK.

blue swatch

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle shape that extends across the whole page and past the left and right edges, as shown below. Set the Fill to Blue

blue fill shape

With the rectangle selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 25%.

multiply effect

Click on Gradient Feather at the bottom of the panel’s left-hand menu. Set the Type to Radial, and allow the gradient to move from a paler center to darker outer edges, before clicking OK to exit.


2. How to Create Your Icy Text Effect

Step 1

Lock the Background layer and unlock the layer above, Typography.

Take the Type Tool (T) and drag onto the center of the page, before typing in the text you want to apply the effect to. 

From the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character) or the Controls panel at the top of the workspace, set the Font to Charlevoix Pro (or a font of your choice) and make the Font Size big and generous. 

character panel

Step 2

Make sure you are completely happy with the formatting of your text, because we’ll be vectorising the design before we apply the effects to it. You don’t have to do this, but it can be easier to move the text around and play with the scale of the design once it’s vectorised. 

To vectorise the text, go to Type > Create Outlines

outlined text

Edit > Copy the vectorised text, and Edit > Paste a copy onto the pasteboard. We’ll come back to this later, in Step 6.

From the Swatches panel, set the Fill of the vectorised text to [None], and then go to File > Place. Navigate to the same ice background image you used earlier, and Open, allowing it to fill up the text shape. 

image fill

Step 3

Now you’re ready to start building up effects on your text, such as shadowing and 3D elements.

With the text shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Outer Glow. With the Mode set to Normal, bring the Opacity down to about 40%. Set the Technique to Precise, Size to about 0.7 in, Noise to about 15%, and Spread to about 40%. 

Tweak the levels of each setting individually until you have a nice diffuse glow around the edge of the text.

effect color

Step 4

Click on Bevel and Emboss in the Effect window’s left-hand menu. Set the Style to Inner Bevel and Size to about 0.4 in. Set the Technique to Smooth and Soften to about 0.2 in. Increase the Depth to 100%.

Adjust the Shading options to create a subtle shadow. For the Shadow color, click on the colored square and choose your Blue swatch. 


Click OK to exit the Effects window. 


Step 5

Create a new CMYK swatch, C=94 M=69 Y=27 K=11, and name it Dark Blue. 

swatch options

Lock the Typography layer and unlock the layer above, Texture

Step 6

Select the copy of the vectorised text which you placed earlier onto the pasteboard (see Step 2, above), and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste it, moving the new copy on top of the text sitting on the page. 

Go to File > Place and choose the ice texture image you downloaded earlier. Click Open and allow the texture to fill up the vector.

texture layer

Step 7

With the vector selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 80%.


Click on Inner Shadow in the window’s menu, and set the Mode to Darken and Effect Color to Dark Blue (click on the colored square to edit this). Increase the Opacity to 100%. 

From the Options section at the bottom, increase the Size to about 0.2 in and Choke to about 30%. 

effect color

Click OK to exit. 

Step 8

We can deepen the engraved shadow effect of the text by bringing over the vector copy still sitting on the pasteboard and laying it over the top of the other text vectors. Set the Fill to Dark Blue. 

blue overlay

Go to Object > Effects > Transparency and set the Mode to Overlay.


Then click on Gradient Feather and add a Linear 90 degree gradient, going from darker at the top to lighter towards the bottom of the text. 


Click OK to exit the window. 

Conclusion: Your Finished Ice Text Effect

Your type effect’s looking awesome—great job! You can now incorporate it into another layout or simply enjoy it as it is. 

You can find more awesome fonts for creating type effects over on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

final effect