So, I'm trying to create a repeat pattern of a Balloon illustration I've done in Adobe Illustrator. I've got the singular file (balloon.ai), which weighs in at around 700MB.

Now I'm trying to create the repeat of this pattern on a separate Artboard which will repeat these balloons, 30 balloons per repeat square to be precise.

What would be the best way to import these separate balloons into the repeat square once (as they're the same file) without affecting the weight of the file and performance of Illustrator?

So, in essence, is there a way to import that balloon.ai file and only have it use up 700MB on the page rather than 30x700MB by the time I've placed 30 balloons?

I can't rasterize the files as the printer needs the raw file.

Any help with this is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Drag the balloon artwork to the Symbols Panel. Then copy Symbols to create duplicates.

Symbols use 1 reference to the artwork. So basically, you would be creating clones of 1 thing, not duplicates. File size will naturally go up a little to track location, size, opacity, etc. of the clones, but each use of the clone won't require the same 700mb to be stored.

Symbols are specifically designed to handle multiple clones of the same artwork.

  • One reference is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks @Scott, I'll give this a try. – realph Feb 3 '14 at 23:17

Copy the original file for backup and import your repeat square into original file. Make changes here and remove all unnecessary balloons. You won't need import large file this way.

  • Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean. Can you further explain what you mean? – realph Feb 3 '14 at 22:43

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