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CSS-only shimmering neon text

CSS-only shimmering neon text

This is so not what a neon sign looks like, but I stumbled on the effect on accident and thought it looked cool. So.

Select the text and type whatever you want.

A Pen by Giana on CodePen.


<div class="text-effect">
<!-- Select the text in the preview and type in your own -->
<h1 class="neon" data-text="Neon" contenteditable>Neon</h1>
<div class="gradient"></div>
<div class="spotlight"></div>
// This is just to auto-update the data-text if you're editing it directly on the page and is not required for the actual effect
$('[data-text]').on('keyup', function(){
$(this).attr('data-text', $(this).text());
<script src=""></script>
// Change the colors
$color1: red;
$color2: blue;
.text-effect {
overflow: hidden;
position: relative;
// The blend modes mute the colors, so let's bump them up
filter: contrast(110%) brightness(190%);
.neon {
position: relative;
// Only works on a black background, sorry
background: black;
// The actual text inside the div is superfluous, only data-text matters. The text is added so you can easily edit the preview
color: transparent;
&::after {
// Add two copies of the text on their own layer
content: attr(data-text);
// White, so we can paint them later
color: white;
// And blur them to create the neon effect with the blend-mode below
filter: blur(0.02em);
position: absolute;
top: 0; left: 0;
pointer-events: none;
// Set the top copy to difference. This creates the knock-out effect with a bit of glow
&::after {
mix-blend-mode: difference;
// Position our two effect layers
.spotlight {
position: absolute;
top: 0; left: 0; bottom: 0; right: 0;
pointer-events: none;
z-index: 10;
// Add the colors
.gradient {
background: linear-gradient(45deg, $color1, $color2);
// Multiply mode will paint only the white text
mix-blend-mode: multiply;
.spotlight {
animation: light 5s infinite linear;
// These are the lights, color-dodge needs a black bg for optimum effect
radial-gradient(circle, white, transparent 25%) 0 0 / 25% 25%,
radial-gradient(circle, white, black 25%) 50% 50% / 12.5% 12.5%;
top: -100%; left: -100%;
// Color dodge gives the lights that shimmer effect
mix-blend-mode: color-dodge;
@keyframes light {
100% {
transform: translate3d(50%, 50%, 0);
//=== Pen styling, ignore
// Style text
.neon {
font: 700 220px 'Lato', sans-serif;
text-transform: uppercase;
text-align: center;
margin: 0;
&:focus { outline: none; border: 1px dotted white; }
// Center everything
body {
background: black;
display: flex;
min-height: 100vh;
justify-content: center;
align-content: center;
align-items: center;
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