Here is a really simple and quick way of creating a vectorized rubber stamp effect using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (CS4). Don’t have the Adobe Creative suite? Check out these open source or free alternatives here.
In Illustrator create your text. It’s better to use a strong/heavy, compact font and in this case I’ve used ‘Impact’.
Using the Rounded Rectangle tool draw around your text leaving plenty of breathing space between the edge of the rectangle and the text.
With the rectangle selected choose ‘Object > Path > Offset path’ from the menu bar. In the options box choose a desired width for the offset (not too thin).
Now ‘divide’ the shapes using the option in the ‘Pathfinder’ palette (found from the ‘Windows > Pathfinder’ menu). Don’t forget to ungroup them too.
Now drag your items apart so you can see what your doing. It’s a good time now to create outlines from your text. With the text selected choose ‘Tools > Create outlines’.
Now open up Photoshop and create a new file. I usually choose a canvas size that is the same size as the Illustrator document size so in this case A4. Individually copy and past your objects from Illustrator to Photoshop. Paste them as a ‘Shape Layer’.
With one of the shape layers selected, choose ‘Make Selection’ from the ‘Paths’ palette options. Now zoom in a bit so you can see what your doing.
Create a new layer and pick a colour and brush. You’ll need to use a spatter type brush as you want a rough and textured finish. Now roughly fill in your selection. Perform the same steps for each shape layer but with the inner rectangle, just skim the corners and edges a little.
You should now have 3 bitmap layers (as well as your shape layers) for the text, outline and inner rectangle. Copy and paste each of the bitmap layers back into your Illustrator file.
With the bitmaps you just pasted selected, choose ‘Object > Rasterize’ from your menu. Keep the resolution high at 300dpi.
Still with the bitmap selected choose ‘Object > Live Trace > Tracing options’. In the pop up box you have, play around with the options but make sure you have ‘Preview’ checked so that you see the effects. I kept the ‘Mode’ at ‘Black and White’ as I want a simple vector shape at the end.
Now that you have create a trace you need to expand your object using ‘Object > Expand’ and be sure to expand object and fill. Once that’s done ungroup everything (you might need to ungroup a couple of times). Un-select everything and click on the white behind your traced object and delete it. Getting rid of the background means we have a nice clean, transparent vector.
Finishing touches like rotating the vector a little will help but you can always do that in your final artwork wherever you intend to use the stamp. Spending a little more time in the Photoshop stages and using higher resolution brushes like these will give even better results but this is just a quick guide to get you started. You can import the vector file into whatever artwork you are working on and overlay where needed. Please do comment if you find that useful or you have suggestions for a quicker way too.