I have a graphic logo which is a series of overlapping shapes, where all are filled white. See below:

enter image description here

I want to set the white color transparent everywhere it appears in the graphic without revealing what is behind each shape. If I try with the general method of setting transparency to 0%, I see all the outlines behind each shape (which is not what I want). See below:

enter image description here

I want it to look like this:

enter image description here

I have tried Knockout groups but cannot seem to get them to work. I ideally do not want to go and individually group each overlapping shape and apply knockout groups to each as there are so many in this logo. Any idea please?

  • why not just paint it the same color as the background? – Luciano Jul 29 at 7:30
  • Because the graphic is going to be printed on t-shirts. So any background, even if it is the same color as the shirt material, appears. – David Boulton Jul 30 at 8:03

One Method....

  • Select > Select All
  • Object > Expand Appearance (if available)
  • Object > Expand (just Click OK in the popup)
  • Object > Expand (if it's still available and not screened back)
  • Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder) - click the Merge button
  • Use the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) to click (and select) a white shape
  • Select > Same > Fill & Stroke
  • Hit the Delete key on the keyboard


  • Expands all strokes converting them to filled shapes.
  • The Pathfinder function removes areas of strokes that are behind fills and not visible due to white objects covering them.
  • The delete command removes the white objects.

This does make the art more difficult to edit further in the future. If you feel you will need live strokes and shapes for further editing, then it's best to work on a copy of the artwork until you are familiar with how all this will change construction.

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