Pre-made fonts can save you time and money on your next design project. Use these simple tricks in Adobe Illustrator to get the most out of stock typography.

We’ve all sat searching our gigantic collection of random fonts, dissatisfied, not finding the right feel for the project. Perhaps you needed a killer looking headline out of the box, and just didn’t have the time to figure out the right effects.

Shutterstock features pages and pages of ready-to-go lettering collections which are actually vector images—no font files to install. I’ll show you how to easily select, change, and arrange individual letters and effects to save your sanity and give your design fresh appeal.

Download a Font or Vector Lettering Image

Go to Shutterstock and enter “font” in the search bar. From there you’ll choose whichever image fits your project. Download that file and open in Adobe Illustrator. (Any vector based design app can work, but we’ll be using Adobe terminology here.)

How to Use Shutterstock's Pre-Made Fonts in Your Graphic Designs — Font Collection

Image via Gleb Guralnyk.

Prep the Objects for Modifications

Using this decorative letter collection to show how to take it apart and make your own headline, then use its included elements to decorate your typography.

  1. Ungroup the image by clicking on any part, then hitting Command + Shift + G.
  2. To make selecting the shapes easier, lock the background pattern by selecting , then hitting Command + 2.
  3. Ungroup the letter shapes, so we can select individual letters. Then select the individual letters, along with their accents, and re-group (Command + G) to move them around and build your headline.
How to Use Shutterstock's Pre-Made Fonts in Your Graphic Designs — Making Modifications

Tip: keep in mind this collection has upper and lower case options, and make sure to grab all the highlights and shadows of each letter by zooming in close enough to see the details.

Move the Letters to Make Words

You can just select and copy and put them in a pile off to the side or you can spell it out. We will be collecting these to move to a new file, so I spelled them out to ensure I had all I needed.

How to Use Shutterstock's Pre-Made Fonts in Your Graphic Designs — Selection

Now we’ll adjust it to our preferences, aligning and spacing the letters. Then, Unlock All (Command + Option + 2) and copy the background design, along with the letters you’ve selected, and move it to a new file.

How to Use Shutterstock's Pre-Made Fonts in Your Graphic Designs — New File

Trick It up with Effects, Strokes, and Other Embellishments

Now we have our headline with the included background, and technically we’re done. Or we can use some warp effects and background strokes, however far you want to go, to recreate the original look with our customized message.

How to Use Shutterstock's Pre-Made Fonts in Your Graphic Designs — Decorations

Using and modifying Shutterstock font collections is really simple, and you have a nearly endless supply of ready-to-use lettering.

Did you know Shutterstock has a plugin for the Adobe Creative Cloud? Download it now and you’ll never have to leave Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, or Premiere Pro to find Shutterstock assets. Our collection is completely available within your Adobe app of choice.