Seamless Patterns: Adobe Illustrator File Structure

Instruction Manual


Lay­ers are ac­cess­ible through the Lay­ers pan­el (WIN­DOW > LAY­ERS). To se­lect a lay­er click on the dot in the right end of the lay­er de­scrip­tion (Fig­ure 1.1). The lay­er must be un­locked and turned on, in or­der to be se­lec­ted.

Each pat­tern is defined by the fol­low­ing lay­ers:

1. Lay­ers named “pat­tern tile”: The ed­it­able struc­ture of the pat­tern. Such lay­er is avail­able for each col­or scheme of the pat­tern and its con­tour ver­sion (Fig­ure 1.2). In­side is a clip group with a clip­ping mask ap­plied, con­tain­ing the struc­tur­al parts of the pat­tern tile as fol­lows:

  • A "geometry" group: The elements of the pattern tile geometry.
  • A "background" rectangle for the pattern tile background.
  • A "clip" rectangle with no fill and no stroke: defines the visual clipping of the pattern tile. It is always positioned above the "geometry" group and the bounding box.
  • A "bounding box" rectangle with no fill and no stroke: determines the boundary of the pattern tile. It is always positioned beneath all other elements.

For more info about how a clip­ping mask works, see this tu­tori­al.

2. Lay­ers named “pat­terned fig­ure”: Each con­tains a rect­angle with the pat­tern ap­plied as a fill, to see it tiling. There is one such lay­er for each col­or scheme and the con­toured pat­tern. (Fig­ure 1.3)

3. “Guides” lay­er: The guid­ing lines used for the pat­tern tile's geo­metry and for de­term­in­ing the width and length of the "pat­terned fig­ure" rect­angles. (Fig­ure 1.4)

Figure 1


The art­boards in Il­lus­trat­or are ac­cess­ible through WIN­DOW > ART­BOARDS.

Each Il­lus­trat­or file in our seam­less pat­terns col­lec­tions comes with art­boards for each pat­tern tile, as well as for each "pat­terned fig­ure" lay­er. (Fig­ure 1.5)


The art­board defines the bound­ary of your work when print­ing or ex­port­ing it to oth­er file formats. So fit­ting the art­board to your art­work is es­sen­tial. To do that:

  1. Select the layers (or objects) that you want to fit to the artboard by clicking on the dot in the right end of the corresponding layer. (Figure 1.1)

Your art­board now matches the bound­ar­ies of the art you se­lec­ted (Fig­ure 2.2). Your art­work will be prin­ted or ex­por­ted with no crop­ping or ex­cess area around it.

Fit Artboard to Selected Art
Figure 2


Ready-to-use pat­tern swatches (Fig­ure 3.1) and their cor­res­pond­ing col­or palettes (Fig­ure 3.2) are ac­cess­ible through the Swatches pan­el (WIN­DOW > SWATCHES).

Each of our pat­terns comes with at least 2 pat­tern swatches:

  • one contour version of the pattern;
  • one or two color versions of it;

All col­or swatches are glob­al. Chan­ging them in the palette will change them through­out the file (and in the already ex­ist­ing pat­tern swatch).

The Swatches Panel
Figure 3
Please note that the Illustrator files in our collections are compatible with the CC and CS6 versions of Adobe Illustrator and will not work with previous ones.
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