How to use symbols in Affinity Designer tutorial

How to use symbols in Affinity Designer and add them and how to modify them and color them and more.

Affinity Designer Symbols

how to use symbols in affinity designer tutorial
  1. Open Affinity Designer

  2. View menu

  3. Studio

  4. Symbols

Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)

basicsTo add a new artwork to the symbols panel, click the create - Select a path / shape / type and then go to the view menu and then Studio and symbols. Click the create button in the panel and the artwork will then appear in the panel - you will now have an instance in the artboard (unless you delete it) as well as the master in the panel.


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If you have one path then the create button will add that single path to the panel.


If you have multiple paths selected and you click the create button then you will see multiple entries appear in the panel. The way around that is to use groups


groupsGrouping paths for a single design - Select multiple paths and then go to the Layer menu and Group command and then select the create button. You can group two or more paths, you can group multiple entries of type and then click the create.


You cannot, however, group multiple entries in the panel - that option is just ignored.


instancesTo add an instance to the document. Select the artwork from the panel and drag to the artboard. You can then repeat this multiple times to add more and more instances to the document. They can then be selected by the move tool and shifted etc as well as rotated and re-sized and they are copies of the master in the panel


To detach an instance. Select an instance in the artboard. Click the detach button. Edit the paths as normal


structureHow to edit the work such as perhaps changing the color of a part of the design or perhaps moving one of the paths inside the instance (as well as the master) is to go to the layers panel and expand one of the instances. You will then see the structure of the design which maybe made up of one or multiple paths.


Select the move tool and then click one of those paths and move it or go to the color settings and change the color or perhaps add a layer effect to the path. If the path is a circle etc you will have to convert it to curves if you want to use the node tool to edit the paths. If it is a normal path then you can use the node tool to modify the artwork or perhaps use the corner tool to smooth the corners of the design. You will notice that any change that you make to one of the instances will be reflected in all the other instances on the artboard as well as in the panel with the master and also in the layers panel. As long as you expand the art in the layers and select one of the paths to modify, you can use any of the instances.


If you want to keep both the master design as well as any changes as a new master design then it will probably be best for you to use the duplicate command found in the layers panel and you will then have the original as well as the newly edited artwork. This process can be repeated any time with the artwork. You cannot edit the artwork via the presets panel as if you right click the master design, you will only see rename and delete as the options


add pathsYou can add new paths to instances as well as the master. Again, the key panel is the layers panel. Another key thing is to decide which instance you are going to add the paths to (though all the instances will have the new path instantaneous it is good to work with one instance in mind otherwise you may end up confusing yourself to the relative position of the added paths).


Go to the layers panel and change the name of the instance that you are going to use - I generally called it EDIT as I know that is the one I am going to add or edit. Now go and add a path. The path may end up above or below the entry in the layers panel and will not be in the instance group but that can be quickly corrected by selecting the path and dragging it down into the edit group (the reason for the name change). You can then re-color as well as shift the path and all the changes will be relative to the current instance and you will see the changes updated across all the other instances.


An easier way to edit the instance is probably just delete all others or de-select them in the layers panel as it is then very easy to add and see the instance and the changes to that.


Any changes to the instance such as adding a new path (dot or star etc) to the art will be reflected in the master as well as the instances.


You can also simply just use the detach command with the artwork and edit it and then create it as a new entry in the panel but in that case, none of the other instances will be updated.


removeYou can also remove paths from the instances and also the master in much the same way as the add. Select one of the instances to work from (it does need one to be on the artboard) and then go to the layers panel and expand the instance.


Once you see all the paths that make up the instance, you can then go to the entry in the layers panel and just delete it. You will notice then that all the instances will all be updated as will the master design in the panel


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