Create 80s Retro Futuristic Text with Photoshop

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Create 80s Retro Futuristic Text with Photoshop

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assumptions
  3. Creating a New Document
  4. Adding the Background
  5. Choosing the Font
  6. Adding Text to the Document
  7. Applying a Stroke
  8. Creating a Gradient Overlay
  9. Adding an Outer Glow
  10. Applying a Drop Shadow
  11. Finalizing the Retro Futuristic Text Effect


In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an 80s retro futuristic text effect in Photoshop. This effect will give your text a vibrant and nostalgic look, reminiscent of the popular design styles from the 1980s. We will go through each step of the process, from creating a new document to applying various layer styles to achieve the desired effect. So let's dive in and create some retro magic!


Before we begin, there are a couple of assumptions to keep in mind. Firstly, this tutorial is based on Photoshop CC 2015. If you are using an earlier version, some of the effects may not work exactly the same. Secondly, the instructions provided here are for Windows users. If you are using a Mac, simply replace "ctrl" with "command" and "Alt" with "option" whenever mentioned. With that said, let's proceed with creating our retro text.

Creating a New Document

To begin, let's create a new document by pressing "ctrl + N" on our keyboard. This will bring up the new file dialog box. Name the document as "80s Retro Future Text" and set the dimensions to 3840 pixels x 2160 pixels with a resolution of 150 and RGB color mode. Keep the background color as white, and choose the Adobe RGB 1998 color profile. Once everything is set, click OK and your new document will be ready.

Adding the Background

Next, we would normally create a background for our text. However, for this tutorial, we will skip that step and instead use a premade starscape with nebula. If you are interested in learning how to create starscapes like this, leave a comment below and we will cover that in a future tutorial. For now, let's focus on the main event – creating the retro futuristic text.

Choosing the Font

The font we will be using for our text is called "Viper Squadron Regular." You can find a link to download this font in the description below. Set the font size to 325 points and make sure it is sharp and centered. The text color doesn't matter at this point, as we will be applying layer styles later on to customize it. Once you have selected the font and set the size, click on the document and type in the desired text. For this tutorial, let's use "Geek Man."

Applying a Stroke

Now that we have our text in place, let's start applying the layer styles to give it the desired retro look. The first layer style we will apply is the stroke. To do this, go to the layer effects icon at the bottom right-hand side of the layers palette and select "Stroke." In the stroke options, set the size to 20, position as outside, blend mode as normal, and opacity as 100%. Make sure "Overprint" is unchecked, and change the fill type to "Gradient" to create a custom gradient.

Creating a Gradient Overlay

Continuing with the layer styles, let's add a gradient overlay to our text. With the layer effects dialog still open, select "Gradient Overlay" from the options. Set the blend mode to normal, opacity to 100%, and uncheck "Dither." Click on the gradient preview to create a custom gradient, which will open the gradient editor. We will need four different colors for our gradient.

Adding an Outer Glow

To make our retro text stand out even more, let's apply an outer glow. In the layer effects dialog, select "Outer Glow" from the options. Choose a blend mode of normal, opacity of 100%, and noise of 0%. For the glow color, we will use a vibrant orangey color. Set the color to "FFBF3F" and select a technique of "Softer." Keep the spread at 0%, and the size at 27. Finally, check the "Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow" option.

Applying a Drop Shadow

The final layer style to complete our retro futuristic text effect is a drop shadow. Open the layer effects dialog again and select "Drop Shadow" from the options. Set the blend mode to normal and the opacity to 100%. Keep the color as black (000000) and set the angle to 120 degrees. Adjust the distance and spread values until you achieve the desired shadow effect. Finally, set the size to 13 and the contour to linear.

Finalizing the Retro Futuristic Text Effect

With all the layer styles applied, you can see how our text now has a retro futuristic look to it. The stroke, gradient overlay, outer glow, and drop shadow all work together to create a visually appealing effect. Feel free to customize the colors, sizes, and other settings to suit your preference. You can experiment with different fonts, backgrounds, and variations of the layer styles to create unique retro text designs. Play around with the settings and have fun exploring the possibilities!


  • Learn how to create an 80s retro futuristic text effect in Photoshop
  • Apply various layer styles to achieve the desired effect
  • Customize the colors, sizes, and settings to create unique designs
  • Experiment with different fonts, backgrounds, and variations of the layer styles
  • Have fun and unleash your creativity in designing retro text effects


Q: Can I create the retro futuristic text effect in earlier versions of Photoshop? A: While this tutorial is based on Photoshop CC 2015, you can try to replicate the steps in earlier versions. However, some effects may not work exactly the same.

Q: Can I use a different font for the retro text? A: Yes, you can choose any font that suits your retro design aesthetic. However, make sure the font is bold and eye-catching to capture the essence of the 80s.

Q: Can I apply the retro text effect to other design elements? A: Absolutely! The retro text effect can be applied to various design elements, such as logos, posters, album covers, and more. Feel free to experiment and incorporate the effect into your creative projects.

Q: How can I modify the colors of the retro text effect? A: To modify the colors, simply adjust the gradient colors and settings in the layer styles. You can experiment with different color combinations to achieve your desired retro look.

Q: Are there any other layer styles I can add to enhance the retro text effect? A: Yes, you can explore other layer styles like bevel and emboss, inner shadow, or satin to further enhance the retro text effect. Play around with different combinations to create unique and visually appealing designs.

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