How to Use Pattern Fill in Adobe Illustrator

Within the Swatches Panel, open the Swatch Library > Patterns, and choose the pattern fills that you want to try. With your new Swatch panel open, use the Selection tool to select the text or object you want to add the pattern fill and click the pattern fill you want to use in the panel to fill the object. 

My name is April, and I’ve been working in the graphic design field for 13+ years now. Making patterns is one of my favorite things to do in Illustrator because I can fill my objects with custom patterns. 

This post will show you how to use pattern fill in Adobe Illustrator. You can use the built-in patterns or create your own.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe has its own pattern fills or you can create your own. 
  • Pattern fills can be added to closed paths, objects, or text (live or not). 
  • New swatch libraries are accessed through the Swatches Panel.
  • To create your own pattern fill, create the design, select all of it that you want to use, and drag it into the Swatches Panel.

Method 1: Pattern Swatches

To get started with using a Pattern Fill, you should open the Swatches panel and select the text or object that you are going to add the fill to. 

For example, here is my Swatches panel and I am going to be adding a pattern fill to my live text.

Note: The screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version. Mac or other versions can look different.

Step 1: Open the Swatches panel from the overhead menu Window > Swatches.

Step 2: Click on the hidden menu in the upper right corner of the Swatches panel. Click Open Swatch Library > Patterns, and choose which subcategory. 

For example, I chose Nature > Nature_Animal Skins.

Your pattern swatch library is now open. 

Note: once you click on a pattern to try it, it will be added to your regular Swatches panel. Make sure to have your text or object selected, check to make sure your fill color option is selected (if your stroke is selected, it will put the pattern as a stroke), and then click on the pattern you want to try.

You can use pattern swatches on text or objects. 

Method 2: Make Your Own Pattern

You can also create your own pattern in Adobe Illustrator and fill in your object or text. 

Step 1: Go ahead and create the design. For example, I created these squares and I want to make a checkered pattern. 

Step 2: Select the shapes, drag them into the swatches panel, and your new pattern fill swatch will appear!

Now you are able to apply the pattern fill, just the same as above.

My current pattern doesn’t read very well, so I’m going to try and stack pattern fills. Make sure your Appearance panel is open. 

If there are no fills and strokes listed, click on the hidden menu in the upper right and choose Add New Fill.

You may have to add your fill again, but now click and drag that fill to the bottom right (Duplicate selected item) and it will create a second fill. Now choose a second pattern fill and viola, my text had an even funkier double pattern fill!

There are so many options with unique pattern fills that you’ll never run out!

Final Thoughts

The Pattern Fill in Adobe Illustrator can really add some unique value to your graphics and vector artwork. Whether you are using Adobe’s stock patterns or creating your own, you can add special visual effects to your design.

Have you tried a Pattern Fill in Illustrator? What did you create with it and was it for fun or work? Let me know in the comments below.

About April Ahlders
I'm a graphic designer in Kansas. I earned my Bachelors of Science in Technology for Graphic Design and Bachelors of Fine Art for Illustration in Pittsburg State University. The challenge of solving a need with imagery is what keeps me going from project to project, never knowing what is next. I seem to have a need for teaching and nurturing and enjoy helping others learn design!

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  • Aparajita Yeasmin

    Very Good This Topic.It is too much helpful for the beginers.

    • June Escalada

      Happy to hear!

      Happy new year!

  • Aparajita Yeasmin

    Thanks And Best Wishes’