Introduction to Technical Flats - Part 6 of 10
INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL FLATS
SECTION 6: SYMBOLS
Need to catch up? Read Section 5: Brushes
Follow along with this step-by-step video!
Symbols are a great way to make one shape and share it across a lot of different files without having to re-create it or open your original file every time. Your symbol library is essential for housing zipper pulls, buttons, and brand logo art.
HOW TO CREATE A SYMBOL
To create a symbol, first draw a shape. In this example we’ll be creating a button. Create a circle using the shape tool at .15pt and at the scale that you want for your garment.
Then, make another circle inside by selecting your first circle and hitting [ctrl+c] (PC) or [command+c] (Mac) and then [ctrl+f] (PC) or [command+f] (Mac) to paste in front, then right click (PC) or [control+click] (Mac) and select Transform > Scale. In the “uniform” box choose 80%, then click OK. Change the line weight to .05pt.
Next, make 4 smaller circles inside to be buttonholes. You can use the align tools at the top of your screen to make sure they are lined up just how you want them.
Select all of the objects and group them (see instructions for grouping under the t-shirt flat example). Go to the symbols window and click on the new symbol button at the bottom.
In the pop-up window choose “graphic” as the export type and “static symbol” as the symbol type. You can also name your symbol at the top. Naming it makes it easier to find in your library. Hit OK.
You will see your symbol populate in the symbols window. To use this symbol: click, drag, and drop it where you want it on your artboard. When using symbols that you want to edit, use the “break link” option at the top of document. If you do not break the link it will stay grouped as a symbol that you cannot edit. If you choose to edit it, it will edit all instances of the symbol unless the link is broken.
To create a symbol library, add all of your symbols to one AI document. Delete any symbols you do not want to include. Click the menu button at the top of the symbol window.
Then select “Save Symbol Library” from the dropdown menu.
Save the symbol library under Applications > Adobe Illustrator > Presets > en_US > Symbols. To test if your library is accessible, click on the library symbol at the bottom of the symbols window. In the dropdown menu choose the new library you created.