Merging Vector Shapes in Illustrator


My normal process for turning a logo into a vector involves using image trace, then selecting the new image, going to edit selecting expand and then removing white space etc etc.

However once done I would love to group up the separate smaller areas of shapes that make up large areas of colour. for instance a circle might have 30+ separate fields which all make up the circle.

What I would like to know - can these be merged together, or do they have to be added to the same group? Currently I just re-group them as move them as a whole, but surely there is a way to just combine them together as one vector?

Thanks for the help!

9/2/2016 10:21:00 AM

Accepted Answer

First of all, you should always, if at all possible, create your logos as vectors to begin with. Converting a vector logo to a raster image in any size or format you need is no problem at all. Converting a raster logo to a vector is, depending on the size and format, not always easy. I loath having to vectorise low quality compressed image file logos, theres no reason it should even need to happen.

As for Image Trace—it's ok if you're tracing a high enough resolution image, but it's not meant for faithfully reproducing paths. If your logo is made up geometric shapes, straight lines etc. then you're better off recreating it by hand.

As for your actual question, you have a few options:

  • Create a compound path (Object → Compound Path → Make or cmd+8). This will leave all the path data intact, but you will have a single object that will be treated as such (for fills, strokes, effects etc.)

  • Pathfinder (Window → Pathfinder). The Unite command will merge shapes, this is (unless you Alt+click to create compound shapes) however a destructive process, so you lose all the distinct path data from your shapes. This normally is desirable on an output/deliverable file, but not in a working document.

You can read more about the different ways of combining shapes in Illustrator here:

9/2/2016 11:44:00 AM

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