enter image description here

Hey guys I've got years of experience with Photoshop but I'm new to Illustrator.

I've followed this simple tutorial to create this logo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y9unghEExw

I want to flatten the image and make only the black lines my vector shape. Is there any way I can do this?

I've tried using the pathfinder but the entire shape goes black, possibly because its reading the White as part of the entire shape? Please advise!

5 Answers 5

  • Select all

  • Object > Expand Appearance (if available)

  • Object > Expand (click fills and strokes and objects [if available] and then click ok)

  • Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel (note.. the panel not the menu item)

  • Use the Direct Select tool (white arrow) and click something white.

  • Choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke from the menu.

  • Hit the Delete key.

What this does.....

  • Expands all appearance items so they are objects and no longer dynamic

  • Expands all strokes so they are shapes (fills) not strokes. And outlines any live type/envelopes, etc. (this won't work well if you have gradients or gradient mesh objects -- that's another matter entirely)

  • Combines areas of the same color if they touch and removes any unseen underlying objects (it basically flattens the layers of fills and strokes to just one layer of fills.) It will remove the white areas under the black areas, etc. and make the different areas of color butt up against each other rather than overlap each other.
  • Click to select the color you want removed
  • Selects everything with that same color anywhere in the artwork
  • Removed objects in the selection

Option 2...

  • Select all
  • Choose Object > Flatten Transparency from the menu and move the slider all the way to "vector"
  • Click OK

  • Use the Direct Select tool (white arrow) and click something white.

  • Choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke from the menu.

  • Hit the Delete key.

The first option generally will let you have slightly more control at times. It kind of depends upon exactly how things are constructed (I didn't look at the tutorial). In the end, for most non-complex art, both methods get you to the same place.


Assuming you do want to "flatten" your vectors then do as Scott says, you can however get the same result non-destructively using a knockout group. Whether you need to do this destructively or not depends on your needs, if you're outputting to a raster format or importing this somewhere where you don't need the path data then this may be a better (easier & more maintanable) option.

Take this vaguely similar construct for example:

enter image description here

  1. Group the logo (You could also put it on it's own layer and use the layer).

  2. Open the Transparency panel for the group and check "Knockout Group" (you may need to click the box twice—so that it has a check mark not a line).

enter image description here

  1. Select everything with a white fill using the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow — A)
  2. From the Appearance panel, open the Transparency panel for the white fill (by expanding the "Fill" entry and clicking "Opacity") and set opacity to "0".

If you also have any white strokes, repeat steps 3 and 4 for the strokes.

enter image description here

Your now transparent logo:

enter image description here


Sometimes a non color shape is made when you use divide or cut with pathfinder. So, try to ungroup, select only the black shape and move to other side to find this type of noncolor shapes (remember, cmd + y to outline mode). Here a gif of what I mean. If doesn't load use the video link.

enter image description here https://youtu.be/nbppZ8lGBZU


I think the OP wants the logo to be transparent through the layers - save a copy of your finished design, because what you are about to do is irreversible.

  1. Delete the fill from your lines, so you can see the hollow objects below.
  2. Outline the lines, perform this in illustrator File menu/object/path/outline stroke. This will give you control of the line as an object, not just a line with thickness applied.
  3. You need to flex your illustrator muscles and try the pathfinder tool and 'Unite' all the shapes and accents/shadow shapes you created - this needs to be done with pairs of objects.
  4. Take the layer (large word banner) and 'Unite' with the second layer - this should cleanly join the intersections.
  5. Then you will have to cut the visible lines from the inside of the shape you don't want with the Scissors tool - Click/hold the Eraser tool for drop down.
  6. once you have removed the sections you dont want, join the loose points by selecting the two un-joined ends and use 'Command J' or Object/path/join. You can also cleanup unwanted points or handles by using the Delete Anchor Point tool (pen with minus sign)
  7. repeat this method for the remaining layer and those little fiddly accents.

This video shows you basics with a different set of shape.


If by "flatten" and "use the black as your vector shape," you mean to create a graphic with transparency all outside the logo, and solid black & white inside, then just save your Illustrator file as .AI or .EPS or .PDF for placement into apps suchy as Word, InDesign, etc. ... or, if you have that PS experience, just open your .AI file in PS, rasterize to your desired resolution, and save as .PSD or transparent .PNG.

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