How to Change Layer Color in Adobe Illustrator

To be super honest with you, I didn’t have the habit of using layers in Adobe Illustrator when I first started, and my experience has proven me wrong. Working as a graphic designer for almost 10 years now, I learned the importance of using and organizing layers. 

Changing layer color is part of organizing layers because when you work on multiple layers, it can help distinguish and organize your design. It’s a simple process to avoid unnecessary mistakes.  

In this article, I’d like to share with you what layer color is, and how to change it in four quick and easy steps. 

Let’s dive in!

What is Layer Color 

When you’re working on a layer, you’ll see some guides whether it’s a bounding box, text box, or the outline of the shape you’re creating. 

The default layer color is blue, I’m sure you’ve already seen it. For example, when you type, the text box color is blue, so blue is the layer color.  

When you create a new layer and add an object to it, the guide or outline color will change. See, now the outline is red. 

The layer color helps you distinguish between the objects on different layers that you’re working on. 

For example, you have two layers, one for texts and one for shapes. When you see the blue text box, you know that you’re working on the text layer, and when you see the outline is red, you know that you’re working on the shape layer. 

But what if you don’t want to have the blue or red outline and prefer a different color? 

Sure, you can change the layer color easily. 

4 Steps to Change Layer Color in Adobe Illustrator

First of all, you should open the Layers panel. Unlike in Photoshop, the Layer panel doesn’t open by default when you open or create an Illustrator document. You’ll see the Artboards panel instead of Layers. So you’ll have to open it from the overhead menu. 

Note: all screenshots are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC 2021 Mac version. Windows or other versions might look different. Shortcuts can be different as well. Windows users change the Command key to Ctrl. 

Step 1: Open the Layers panel. Go to the overhead menu and select Windows > Layers

The layer color will be shown in front of the layer name. As you can see, the layer color of the shape is red, and the text is blue. I’ve changed the layer names to text and shape, the original name should be Layer 1, Layer 2, etc. 

Step 2: Double click on the layer you want to change the layer color and the Layer Options dialog box will open. 

Step 3: Click on the color options to change the layer color. 

You can also customize the color by clicking on the color box to open the color wheel and choose your favorite color. 

Simply select a color and close the window. 

Step 4: Click OK. And you should see the new layer color showing for that layer. 

When you select the object on that layer, the outline or bounding box will change to that color. 

A piece of cake! This is how you change layer color in Adobe Illustrator. 

Conclusion

The four steps to change layer color are open the layer panel, double click, choose a color and click OK. As simple as that. Some of you don’t mind the layer colors, some of you might want to customize your own. 

Either way, it’s always good to learn the basics and I do suggest having high contrast layer colors to avoid working on the wrong layers. 

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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