While working on a logo for a client I came across an odd behaviour that I can't find a reason for.

The logo I was working on is a 1 colour logo, so to make it easier to swap the colours from their Pantone to black and negative versions for their brand guidelines, I created a compound path of the outlined numbers and the solid below. It looks fine at 100%, but when scaled, the type appears more plugged in than if I left the type as a white filled object.

I would like to know if there is a work-around for this that would allow the logo file to be 1 colour. Should I just leave the type as a white filled object on top of the solid? Or offset the path before creating the compound path to compensate?

I've created an example image (no this is not the actual logo) to better show the issue:


Edited to show a better graphic example of the issue (and fix a spelling mistake)

  • Compound path precision? helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/combining-objects.html
    – mhulse
    Jul 4, 2018 at 17:02
  • I've tried a few different options with the precision and other settings, doesn't seem to fix it. Jul 4, 2018 at 17:19
  • Have you tried disabling the GPU preview, Are there many paths on top of each other. draw a white rectangle behind the object. (the AA routines adobe uses are not entirely correct, transparent is different form white etc). Show a picture of your layer tree, maybe theres a effect on the object. What is your color setting like... Anyway i cant replicate your problem so untill i can then its just you.
    – joojaa
    Jul 4, 2018 at 19:53
  • I posted a link to the sample file below if you feel like looking it over. This is such a simple, stupid issue that I haven't come across before. It's not a GPU or screen error as the actual file prints the way it looks above. Perhaps it's an illustrator rendering issue, I'll continue to test and see. Jul 5, 2018 at 13:42
  • Anti aliasing - the "hole" is inward the other is outward.
    – Scott
    Oct 2, 2018 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


It's because Illustrator treats positive "objects" in such a way.

Imagine using a rubber stamp with ink on it: your shape on the stamp is going to apply some ink to a surface and that ink will spread some on the microscopic level across the surface, making the edges just a little big thicker. Every shape that is stacked on a background or other shapes will obscure the stuff below this way via Illustrator's handling of anti-aliasing of every art piece it renders.

A shape with other shapes cut out of it will get this sort of edge, and it is a natural behavior that reflects some of the real-world applications such as printed ink on paper where very small details will get filled in by the droopy ink.

In my old engraving days, we always had to work our logos over somewhat to account for this. Mainly it was a matter of adding a little offset path to the positive shape before it is cut out of another shape to form the negative space. This was honed with experience of putting different kinds of logos at various sizes on various engraving materials.

Same thing with silkscreen art where undercoats and other elements had to be "choked", or offset with a negative amount so that the ink will not spread out from below the colors which were laid overtop of it.

  • No actually the antialiasiation differences just come form misassumptions on the original programmers part. Many of these issues just werent known back when illustrator was developped. Thay are now trying to fix this but it will take a while to do so.
    – joojaa
    Oct 3, 2018 at 5:24
  • Do you have any references to expound on this claim?
    – Silly-V
    Oct 3, 2018 at 6:15
  • Yes, but not enough space for the links as there is atleast 2 separate issues (a bit depending on how you think). Anyway it can be measured easily.
    – joojaa
    Oct 3, 2018 at 6:39
  • I'm always curious to learn about its inner workings, if you could pm me them that would be great!
    – Silly-V
    Oct 3, 2018 at 6:40
  • Would it be possible to do this in a chat sometimes. Not now i need to have a few lecture slides done in a few hours.
    – joojaa
    Oct 3, 2018 at 6:41

What kind of screen resolution you have?

Have you tried to see it on another screen?

This is how it looks in an Imac 27", outlined type and Compound Shape


I've got the same bad quality, or worst:

enter image description here

Unchecking the preferences Antialiased Artwork:

Antialiased Artwork

  • I'm on a 27" iMac too... I have a second monitor (same resolution 2560x1440) it looks the same. The file prints with the same issue too though. So I don't think it's a screen issue. Jul 4, 2018 at 15:58
  • Ok, try doing the same with another font. What's the font? Maybe I can try too.
    – user120647
    Jul 4, 2018 at 16:04
  • I'm not 100% sure what the font is, I've inherited the logo from another agency as outlines and I'm just cleaning it up for a client so they have proper logo files. Jul 4, 2018 at 16:11
  • it doesn't seem to matter which font I outline and use. Same result each time. Jul 4, 2018 at 16:12
  • 1
    Have you checked if there is perhaps a stroke on the font that is thickening it up a little?
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 4, 2018 at 16:13

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