Creative Typography in Pixelmator

Creative Typography



Difficulty: Beginner


Typography doesn’t have to be boring. In this Valentine’s Day inspired tutorial we take a look at how to creatively combine text with clipping masks to tell that special someone that we love them!


Step 1 - New Document

Create a New Pixelmator document and fill the background layer with black (cmd alt F).


Step 2 - Background Text

In order for this effect to work we need a large body of text to work with. I have chosen the words “I love you”. Using a text editor repeatedly copy and paste it so that we have enough to fill our background layer. When you have an adequate amount copy the text to the clipboard.


In Pixelmator select the Text Tool (T) and draw a bounding box so that it is larger than our background layer.


Ensure that the newly created text box is active (double click the text) and then hit paste.


Set the font to Arial, 11pt and #191919.


Slightly reduce the line height so that the lines of text sit closer together.


Step 3 - Text Clipping Mask

With the Text Tool active (T), click Add Text. Set the font to Arial Black, 200pt, Center and White.


Add your chosen text and using the Move Tool (V), vertically align it.

If you are adding text on multiple lines you may have to adjust the line height so that fits within our document. In this case I have set it to 0.7.


Now add a Clipping Mask by right clicking the text layer and selecting Create Clipping Mask.


Text complete! Let’s create our love heart.


Step 4 - Heart Vector

We will create our heart vector in a separate Pixelmator document. Create a New document now (cmd N) with the dimensions: 800 by 600.


With the Rulers active (cmd R), drag out a few guides as I have below:


Select the Ellipse Shape and add our shape so that it slightly overlaps the center guide. I have also add a fill color of red (#ff0000).


Duplicate the shape and position it so that it aligns with the right guide (alt click and drag to duplicate the shape).


Create a new Ellipse, ensuring the shift key is held for a perfect circle.


Right click the newly created shape and select Make Editable.


Double click the bottom point to convert it to a sharp point.


Select the top point and move it vertically down, as shown:


Move the larger shape into position using the up/down keys so that the overall heart shape has a perfectly smooth curve.


Heart shape complete!

Step 5 - Heart Clipping Mask

Drag our heart shape into our original Pixelmator document by dragging the shape layer from the Layers Window into the destination window.


Using the Transform Tool (cmd F) resize the heart and position it within the space available. Use the shift key to constrain the proportions.


The final step is to add a Clipping Mask to our heart shape as we did earlier.



Tutorial complete! I hope we’ve given you a few ideas on how to creatively work with typography and the versatility of the clipping mask. This effect isn’t limited to just combining text, try experimenting with different textures and clipping masks to see what you come up with.

Thanks for reading and Happy Valentine's Day!



  • AJ_X says:

    Very simple, but very effective. Thanks PXM Tuts.

  • joe says:

    This is a great post thanks man! 

    I know this isn’t a great place for this, but has anyone else noticed that the help menu in Pixelmator is mostly blank pages for the list of topics. Also sometimes if I use the stoke tool on an oval for example changing the inside or outside stroke even one pixel causes the entire oval to fill? Whats up with that. 

    • Ashley Rich says:

      Thanks Joe.

      Both are known issues. I posted a bug report for the stroke issue a while back so hopefully we will see a fix soon. As for the help menus, there are complaints all over the Pixelmator forums, however the fix is coming in the next update.

  • Per says:

    Again another great easy tutorial, thx. guys. I’ve change it a bit, I hope like it. 

  • Guest says:

    Thanks, that was a lot of fun and helpful for future projects. Your tutorials are great.

  • Lukas Goes says:

    Where are the images? :(

    • Ashley Rich says:

      Sorry Lukas but we are currently migrating servers so there will be a few issues with how the site loads over the next few days until everything has finished replicating.

  • stan says:

    Can text follow shapes, i.e., draw a circle then have the text follow the curved shape of the circle.

    • Ashley Rich says:

      Hi Stan,

      This is not possible in the current version of Pixelmator. Hopefully, we’ll see an update with this feature soon.

  • Pete says:

    LOL. I was looking so long for a tutorial how to make a perfect heart. Thanks!

  • DM says:

    Hi. Can you explain, when you say,” draw bounding box so that its bigger than background layer.” I have had weird things happen on my mac when I try to do this. My screen even froze, most likely my fault. Also, I can not seem to recreate your Text page with the white background (step#2,third view). Still learning, and it is slow,sorry.

    • Jacob Bordieri says:

      DM, you need to pull the Text box larger than your canvas. You may need to zoom out to have room around the outside of the canvas to do this. Step 2 (3rd image) isn’t a white background it’s just the light blue that shows all of the text is selected. Look past that and simply copy your words from text editor and paste them into the text box.

      If your having pixelmator issues thats probably something for the official forums.

  • DM says:

    Jacob,many thanks for your patience. My bounding box shows only a left and a right expansion point,should there be a top and bottom,also is there a reason why when you click the text tool that the word text shows up in the bounding box and needs to be deleted?

  • DM says:

    Can you explain ? In your tut, after copy & paste your window shows, in layers, Background & Text, only two layers. I on the other hand have 3 layers, Background (black),& two text. One active in blue. I followed each step to that point and yet I got 3 layers. Also, why, and how do I get rid of the word text that appears when I click text tool & create a box.When I uncheck the black background layer to view the text (i love you) the word text appears in black covering my typed text.Thank you.

    • Ashley says:


      When you create the text box you must then double click it to select the initial ‘text’ and then copy and paste into the text box. If you copy and paste the text when you do not make the text box active you will indeed create a second text layer.

      You cannot remove the default ‘text’ from the text layer, this is built into Pixelmator, however deleting the layer should suffice and get you back on track with the tutorial. I’ll update the tutorial now to make this clearer.



  • DM says:

    Hi . I am still working on this tut. I got as far as the red Circles and cannot create the little squares. I made all three and placed them but that was it. Also after creating my text and clicking on V I could not move my words around the work area. I did manage to get what I needed but not as directed by your tut. Sorry to bother with all this simple stuff, but it has stumped me. I worked at this for two hours. Help :>)

  • DM says:

    I Think I found my error. What I have done was use Elliptical in marquee instead of Ellipse shape.I shall try again. The move V is still in need of investigation.I could not get it to work, but,I shall try again.

    • Ashley says:


      That is correct. You need to use the vector tools in order to be able to manipulate the shapes. As for the V command, you are simply using the shortcut to select the move tool, which then allows you to use the arrow keys to position the layer (ensure you have the correct layer selected in the layers window).


  • DM says:

    Step #4. I managed to complete this tut after many many tries,but it needs some tweaking and then I will move on to another tut. I created the heart shape ,how, I don’t know:<(. On several of my trys when I dragged it into my text, the lines created from the circles and the concave dent of the large circle show through as a dull gray outline. What was my error.
    Also, when creating the large circle I noticed in my layer that the two small circles where not there and when I drag what I have into the text document I get only the Pointed portion and the concave dent.
    My last ? How do deselect or get rid of the edit squares when making the large circle? I thought maybe having them still in place was the cause of my problem.