How can I bend a shape along a path in illustrator

I've been wondering for a while how I can do this, when I saw this question, I got very excited.

Inkscape: Bend a vector along a circular arc

But the methods provided seem to be just for Inkscape.

I'm looking for a way to do this in Illustrator:


{This is just an example shape,I don't actually want it in this shape or curve - in Inkscape it's pertty simple, just bend on curve, I'm looking for a similar feature in illustrator}

I have (a group of) shapes and I want it curved along the - - - - - - line:

enter image description here

(Really just any path to my customization, just an example)

Or these shapes:

enter image description here

I want them to "warp" all the way around the circle (to make a complete star-ish)

This was the best I could get using ObjectEnvelope DistortMake with Warp (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+W):

It is clearly not the desired effect, it needs to be dragged in further (and more consistently across the entire shape)

enter image description here

Note: This can easily be done with text: (just use the type on path tool)

enter image description here

I'm looking for a way to do it with standard shapes/paths. I do not want to make a brush (unless it's my only option).

Why you ask?

If it's a brush, I have to make it beforehand manually (I can't just choose an item and bend it to X path - which I can do in Inkscape.) With a brush, the benefit would be to be able to have full control over the curves, but at a cost of extra time and effort, so sometimes I just want the computer to do it's thing

  • You say " I do not want to make a brush " - but in fact the Inkscape pattern along a path/bend from clipboard functions are somewhat analogous to brushes in Illustrator. Indeed, since Inkscape lacks brushes as such, this is exactly how you would get something similar.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 10:36

5 Answers 5


Just save your shape as an art brush / pattern brush (depends on what are you trying to achieve)

enter image description here

enter image description here


Create a Scatter Brush with a triangle and apply this brush to a circle

Scatter Brush

  • That would work if the shape I wanted was an individual triangle. I'm looking for a way to do this with arbitrary shape(s) on arbitrary paths.
    – Welz
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 5:20

You could simply use the Star Tool to draw the star... tap the up/down arrows while dragging to increase/decrease the number of points.

Then draw a circle, align them both, and use the Pathfinder Panel to subtract the circle from the star. Then recolor points as desired.

enter image description here

  • Yes that would work in said scenario (with those shapes), but say my curve was more like the last picture (with the text) and the shape I wanted bent was not triangles (but some other shape)
    – Welz
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 4:14
  • @WELZ Possibly this: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/12806/… -- it all kind of depends on the actual objects and distortion needed. There are a few methods but no "one-method-for-all" type of procedure.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 4:15
  • I've edited the question to further explain what I'm looking for
    – Welz
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 4:20
  • I'm not really seeing much difference after the edit. I think the Envelope options are about as close as you're going to get with Illustrator. There's no other "live distort" feature of which I'm aware. And no "shape-on-a-path" features other than brushes. I understand what you're asking, I merely don't think it's possible via Illustrator.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 4:23
  • 1
    I know you say it’s not what you want, but I’m pretty sure that brushes are the way forward for this scenario.
    – Westside
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 8:35

The indesign answer is actually pretty good and worked well. All warping answers in illustrator distort the shape. In my case, I want to bend a logo inside a circle so that each letter follows a path, but not being distorted, and I can't seem to find an answer to that problem. It goes without saying that logo shouldn't be distorted in any situation. Thanks.


If you have access to InDesign, it will do exactly what you're talking about. In InDesign, you can paste a vector as an inline graphic with text that follows a path of any shape. Because it is treated as text, you can also align however you like, spread with kerning, force justify, adjust baseline shift, etc. Once you're happy with the result, just copy and paste from InDesign into Illustrator.

enter image description here

Edit: Paste each shape individually, like individual letters of text. Groups will be treated a single objects and will align to the path, but will not conform to it.

  • Can I then copy the result back into illustrator as a vector path?
    – Welz
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 19:54
  • Unfortunately not. When you paste into Illustrator from InDesign, it will break the relationship to the path. However, you can save the InDesign file to make future edits easier. You can also save the vector as it's own AI file and link it as an inline graphic in InDesign. This will allow you to edit the source AI file and update in InDesign to instantly update that vector along the path.
    – 13ruce
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:23
  • It's not worth buying InDesign for, but if you already have InDesign, I think this is your most efficient way to accomplish your task.
    – 13ruce
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:25
  • I couldn't get it to bend, it would just place it straight see gif. Any ideas?
    – Welz
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 23:43
  • You have to paste one triangle at a time. It might be faster to paste one several times, then color them how you like.
    – 13ruce
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 12:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.