I've a problem using Illustrator 2015 CC pathfinder tool (substraction). I've a black round shape and a vector logo in white. I just want to substract the logo from the round shape. The problem is that the resulting logo is slightly smaller than before the substraction. (see image). No pixel grid alignement, it's print set document (not web). It never occurred to me before (i'm using illustrator from the very early versions). initial image and resulting image

Anyone who experimented the same problem? Thanks

  • 1
    Stroke is turned off?
    – HaraldCFS
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:28
  • i feel like someone should mention that subtraction only has one "s", to prevent future embarrassment
    – tobybot
    Jun 5, 2017 at 16:38

2 Answers 2



When a white object is on top of a black object, it is anti-aliased white to black. Effectively increasing the white edge slightly. When you reduce white on black, Illustrator tries to maintain the appearance of the white object against the black.

When a black object has a hole in it (counter), it it anti-aliased black to transparent. Effectively increasing the black edge slightly. When you reduce black art with a counter, Illustrator tries to maintain the black art, not the counters.

The only real way to compensate for this variation is to increase the white objects thickness slightly before using Pathfinder. Or, work at a much larger size so that visually the anti-aliasing isn't a great factor.

This is often a reason why adjusting artwork for smaller sizes is necessary.

  • To be honest this is only true because illustrator does not blend in a linear color space.
    – joojaa
    Jun 5, 2017 at 19:03

Make sure white logo is grouped, no stroke and expanded. Now subtract. If the problem persists add a 1 px stroke to logo, expand and try the subtraction again.

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