Repeat patterns

Add power to your vector art with repeats. Learn how to create radial, grid, and mirror repeat patterns in Illustrator.

Illustrator lets you easily repeat objects and manage their styles with a single click. All you need to do is to create the first object and choose a repeat type (Radial, Grid, or Mirror). Illustrator will auto-generate the complete artwork for you. Modifying repeats is also easy – just update one object and all instances are auto-modified to reflect the change. You can also modify the repeat patterns that are created using Illustrator on the iPad.

Type of repeats

Radial repeats

Radial Repeat
Distribute objects around a central point.

Grid pattern

Grid Repeat
Repeat artwork in a selected grid style.

mirror repeat

Mirror Repeat
Create perfectly symmetrical mirror art. 

Create a radial repeat

Quickly create artwork that requires repeating objects around a circle, similar to the spokes of a wheel. 

To create a radial repeat,

  1. Create the object and select using the Selection tool.
  2. Choose Object > Repeat > Radial.

The object is repeated in a radial repeat type with default options.

Modify radial repeat using on-canvas controls

  • By default 8 instances are repeated. To change the repeat instance count, select the repeated artwork and click the Instances control on the canvas.
  • Drag the controls on the circle to change its size. This changes the spacing between the objects, thereby changing the whole artwork.
  • Drag the splitter on the circle to remove some instances, keeping the repeated artwork
    unchanged.
  • Drag from the corner to increase or decrease the size of the repeat.
Radial repeats
Modify radial repeat artwork using on-canvas controls

Set radial repeat options

To preview and set the radial repeat options, 

  1. Select the repeated artwork.
  2. Choose Object > Repeat > Options. In the Repeat Options dialog that appears, click the Radial tab.

After the repeat artwork is created, you can set the options in the Repeat Options section in the Properties and Control panel. 

You can set the following options:

A) Number of instances: Specify the number of repeat instances you want in the repeated artwork. Default value is 8.

B) Radius: Sepcify the radius of the circle around which the radial repeat is created.

C) Reverse Overlap: Select this check box to change the stacking order of objects in the radial repeat.

Radial repeat options
Radial repeat options

Create a grid repeat

Create artwork that require repeating objects in an array in just one click. 

To create a grid repeat,

  1. Create the object and select using the Selection tool.
  2. Choose Object Repeat > Grid.

The object is repeated in a grid repeat type with default options.

Modify grid repeat using on-canvas controls

  • Drag the handle on the bottom to add more rows in the repeated artwork and drag the handle on the right to add more columns.
  • Drag from the corner to increase or decrease the size of the grid repeat.
  • Drag the vertical sliders on the repeated artwork to increase or decrease the spacing in the grid.
Grid repeats
Modify grid repeat artwork using on-canvas controls

Set grid repeat options

To preview and set the grid repeat options, 

  1. Select the repeated artwork.
  2. Choose Object > Repeat > Options. In the Repeat Options dialog that appears, click the Grid tab.

After the repeat artwork is created, you can set the grid repeat options in the Repeat Options section in the Properties and Control panel. 

You can set the following options:

A) Vertical spacing in grid: Specify the vertical space between objects in the grid.

B) Horizontal spacing in grid: Specify the horizontal  space between objects in the grid.

C) Grid Type: Specify the grid type you want to use to arrange objects in rows and columns.

D) Flip Row: Flip the row in vertical (y-axis) or horizontal (x-axis) directions.

E) Flip Column: Flip the column in vertical (y-axis) or horizontal (x-axis) directions.

Grid repeat patterns
Grid repeat options

Create a mirror repeat

Create the first half of the symmetrical artwork and Illustrator automatically creates the other half for you.

To create a mirror repeat,

  1. Create the first half of artwork and select using the Selection tool.
  2. Choose Object > Repeat > Grid.

The object is repeated in a grid repeat type with default options.

Modify mirror repeat using on-canvas controls

  • Drag the handles below or above the original artwork to rotate or transform the mirrored part. 
  • Drag the symmetry axis between the two shapes to control the angle and spacing between the two artwork.
    When finished, if you click away and then click again you do not see the control handles. Both halves of the artwork are grouped together and move as a single object. To edit them again, double-click the artwork.
mirror repeat
Modify mirror repeat artwork using on-canvas controls

Set mirror repeat options

To preview and set the mirror repeat options, 

  1. Select the repeated artwork.
  2. Choose Object > Repeat > Options. In the Repeat Options dialog that appears, click the Mirror tab.

After the repeat artwork is created, you can set the grid repeat options in the Repeat Options section in the Properties and Control panel. 

You can set the following option:

  Set the angle of the mirror axis. The default angle is 90 degrees.

Mirror repeat options
Mirror repeat options

Märkus.

Pro Tip: If you want to edit only a specific shape or object in the repeated pattern, use the Expand option to create a group of shapes to independently edit them. 

What's next

You've learned how to use radial, grid, and mirror repeat options. Now, create unique patterns to smartly and quickly design your logos, posters, and more.

Related resources

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