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I apologize in advance for the awful title and for the long question. I just want to explain what I've done, since I'm new with Affinity Designer.

I'm trying to use the "Subtract" tool to subtract text from a group of squares.

My first step: I drew 2 squares, grouped them, and then added "emboss" to the group. So far it looks fine:

enter image description here

Now I want to add text so that it looks like this, but each square having one letter.

I started with one square, added the emboss, added the letter over the square, and used the "Subtract" tool. This is how I got this, which looks good. I assumed it would be the same process with group.

The problem is that when I do exact the same thing with the group above (the rectangle with the 2 grouped squares with the "emboss"), I get this. It seems to take both squares in the group, join them as one object, eliminate the emboss, and then do the "Subtract":

enter image description here

In any case, the end-result should be this, without the emboss in the middle:

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

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I'm not an Affinity Design user, so this is a bit of a guess based on other vector image editors I have used, such as Illustrator and Inkscape. However, this should work in almost any vector software.

Subtract the letters from two separate shapes, not a group.

Move the two pieces together, and then group them.

Now apply your bevel and emboss effect to the group.

enter image description here

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    I tried it in Affinity Designer and it works.
    – Vikas
    Mar 25 at 5:01
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    @Vikas cool, thanks for confirming. Yeah, most vector software works much about the same for things like this, although the details differ.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 25 at 11:52
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You can use Erase blend mode for the text layers. Move them in the shapes group and then apply the Emboss to the group. I think that's what you are trying to achieve:

enter image description here

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