I have the following shape I have drawn with the pen tool. The bird head and eye are a compound path but releasing them both from this makes little difference.

What I am trying to achieve is a rectangle with a transparent logo at the center (i.e all white). This works fine for the antena and the signal bars but as you can see the bird head does not cut out but remains filled in effectively leaving me with half a logo.

Been at this for hours now I'm new to Illustrator and would appreciate any advice anyone can offer on how to achieve my desired result or pointers on where I have gone wrong!

Shape and background

After "making" compound path

  • What method did you use to 'cut out' the paths from the background? Sep 3, 2013 at 3:34
  • I selected all the objects which are in layer 8 originally and selected Object -> Compound Path -> Make Sep 3, 2013 at 8:33
  • Using that method confuses Illustrator. It has to guess to which color it should use on the compound path to fill the entire object with. I've answered with a easier operation to do what you want. Sep 3, 2013 at 8:47

2 Answers 2


The trouble you were running into is because of how you are cutting out your paths. Because you are using a group of paths and one compound path to cut out, Illustrator has to make an assumption about what color you want your fill to be of the compound path. It chose the orange because it had two options to choose from on the compound path and changes the entire color of the compound path to match the background.

There is a better way to cut out your paths from the background and it is by using the Pathfinder Operations. Group your objects you would like to cut out and then use the option Minus Front. This will allow you to have editable paths while cutting out the symbol with all transparency.

Excuse the quick and ugly recreation of your object. Pathfinder Tool Usage

After Operation After Operation

  • 1
    Great advice and explanation thanks Adam. If you ever have a code related question look me up maybe I can return the favour! Sep 3, 2013 at 9:05
  • I'll take you up on that some time :) Sep 3, 2013 at 9:24

In some cases, you would select the errant object within a compounded group that isn't cut out, then use the Window>Attributes panel, then click the Reverse Path Direction... icon.

In the example above, the bird head looks like the only object that would need its path reversed.

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