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Make Geometric Patterns in Illustrator

by | Apr 28, 2015 | Articles, Illustrator, Tutorials | 2 comments

Make Geometric Patterns in Illustrator

Creating geometric patterns in Illustrator can be difficult to make in most design programs. If you want to make spiral patterns and geometric repeating patterns, it can take hours to align everything by hand. However, Adobe Illustrator makes it easy with a simple trick to control position and duplication.

Create a new document. I created mine at 1024px x 768px. Select the Ellipse Tool and draw a portrait ellipse. Center it perfectly on the canvas horizontally. Vertically, make it more towards the top.

Geometric Patterns in Illustrator-Start

Next, Select the Rotate Tool. When you first select it, you should see the rotation axis icon in the very center of the ellipse. Hold down the Alt/Option key and click on the bottom anchor point of the ellipse. A dialog box should come up.


In the dialog box, dial in any number that is a multiple of 360°. In other words, you can use any number that you can multiply by X to get 360. This could be, 36, 18, 9, 40, 30, 120, 180, 10, 5, etc. The number you choose will determine how many ellipses that you have in your geometric pattern. If you want a lot, choose a low number. If you want just a few, choose a high number. Choose Copy, and a 2nd ellipse will appear at a distance equal to the number of degrees that you dialed in.


To complete the symmetrical geometric pattern, all you have to do is hit the Command/Ctrl Key + D. This will duplicate the last action. It creates a new copy X amount of degrees from the last one. Repeat this until your ellipses come back around to complete the pattern.


You can do this for literally any shape. This enables you to make geometric patterns in Illustrator quickly and easily. Your geometric patterns will be precise and professional, with hardly any difficulty or frustration. There are many shortcuts like these, and it just takes a little time working with the program to find them. You can create geometric patterns in Illustrator, fill them, combine them, and make custom shapes in minutes. What is great about this is that you can copy and paste them into other programs such as Photoshop or InDesign. This adds to the flexibility and usefulness of this trick.

I made the sample pattern below using geometric patterns in Illustrator. I took the same concept above and rotated stars around the center axis. Once I created the shape, I used Live Paint to color it in. You can still scale the shapes, so it is still completely editable. See how to create advanced patterns in Illustrator here.



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