So I am literally a illustrator noob with literally 4 hours of experience since writing this post. I am creating a logo for my school robotics team and I wanted to make the background of the logo transparent for our team website but realized that while I can make the background of the logo transparent the objects cannot be transparent. I was wondering how can I keep the effects of the objects while still making them transparent.

Here are some images of my logo and my situation.

The first image is what I have on Ai.

enter image description here

enter image description here

This is my image converted to the pdf file, as you can probably tell I want the white parts to be transparent (sorry for the bad image on the 2nd one btw).

enter image description here

https://i.sstatic.net/AJiVc.jpg if image does not show

  • Hi! Not to be rude but you started learning Illustrator 4hr ago: try harder, read tutorials, search online or in this Stack for similar issue, read the Adobe help files, etc. Then, you can update your question and post what you have tried to fix the issue and what didn't work! graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/38773/…
    – go-junta
    Nov 15, 2015 at 3:16
  • 1
    I looked up a article where they seem to address the same problem but when I did it on my design it did not seem to work :/ the problem with searching is that I do not have the proper vocab to specifically search the problem up so that's why I went straight to asking a question instead of spending more time researching (graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/27871/…)
    – Kevin Li
    Nov 15, 2015 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


You're right, it's not easy when you don't know the terms and vocabulary.

You talk about transparency but in Illustrator, what you need is not called transparency, it's simply a white shape you need to "divide" (eg. slice and then erase)!

Imagine your vector shapes are like assembling pieces of paper together and then cutting out the parts you don't need with an exacto cutter. In this case the white is truly white, as much as a piece of paper can be white; you call it transparent because you background canvas is white too, but trace a black rectangle behind it and you see it's simply another white shape. Transparency is really when there's 0% solid color or content.

To remove these extra part you don't need, have a look at the link I added to my previous comment about the "pathfinder" tool. With that tool, you can "merge", "slice", and do similar things you'd do in real with that kind of shapes if it was paper. That's how you'll get rid of the white areas in your artwork. With images, you'd probably use what's called a "clipping mask" instead.

You'll find that tool in the "Window" Menu in Adobe Illustrator.

Pathfinder tool illustrator Adobe

Clipping Mask, Pathfinder or Compound Path?


It's very easy and will be very useful as well to learn about it for your future projects. In fact, you'll use this all the time. Note that if you use strokes, you need to "expand" them first (menu "objects", then "expand")

  • Thanks got more info still struggling a bit but will probably solve it really soon thanks :0
    – Kevin Li
    Nov 15, 2015 at 4:59
  • @KevinLi Select all the logo part (on the right), click on the "divide" on the pathfinder tool (to slice them), then select all the white parts with the direct selection tool (white arrow) and delete them!Or select one white part and go in the menu "select" then choose "same fill and stroke". Etc. Many ways to do this! You can put a colored rectangle behind your graphic to see if you're not missing any white shapes that should be deleted.
    – go-junta
    Nov 15, 2015 at 5:30
  • Select the white rectangles, the yellow rectangle, and the black "E" rectangles.

  • Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel.

  • Use the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) and click the white area.

  • Hit the Delete key.

Alternatively, you could select the shapes, grab the Shape Builder Tool, hold down the Option/Alt key and click the parts you want removed.

This is the same procedure in the question you linked to. It's no different for your artwork.

These are basic operations covered in beginner Illustrator tutorials. You may want to explore those.

The Complete Beginners Guide To Adobe Illustrator (YouTube)

Adobe TV Illustrator tutorials

While I can certainly appreciate the zeal and jumping right in to complete things, realize that Stack Exchange sites are not "tutorials on demand" sites.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.