How to create a symbol from an Illustrator graphic style tutorial

How to create a symbol from an Illustrator graphic style tutorial, turn a style into a symbol in seconds in CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc

Symbols from graphic styles

illustrator symbols created from graphic styles colorful patch lines
  1. Select a path for the graphic style (and to then be converted to a symbol)

  2. Go to the Illustrator graphic style panel

  3. Apply a preset to selected path

  4. Drag path to the symbols panel. Select either the static option or the dynamic option

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You can add graphic styles to any path (such as circle etc) by clicking any style in the graphic styles panel. The artwork can then be placed into the symbols panel and used as a new dynamic symbol via symbol sprayer tool The new graphic style Illustrator symbol can also be used with effects such as transforms etc

Using the generated symbol from the combination of graphic style / path

illustrator graphic styles symbols dynamic

The preset can now be used by dragging it from the preset's panel to the artboard. You can also use the sprayer tool to add the instances to the artboard by selecting the generated Illustrator graphic style themed symbol. If you have add the colorful artwork as a dynamic preset then you can use the effect generated shape as a master shape and then re-color the artwork in numerous ways via the direct selection tool.


If you then change the effects added to the preset then all the associated instances will be updated.


You can add the instances multiple times or once. You can add them using features such as the live effect transform command to create duplicates of the instance and create circular artwork as well as spirals as well as radial designs and more (if you add multiple transforms and multiple copies)

  1. Drag graphic style generated symbol to artboard

  2. Duplicate by holding down alt / option

  3. Create a grid of the style / symbol designs

What if you wish to edit the symbols / style

symbol graphic styles changed via edit

You can edit the shape at any point by going to the preset's panel and then double clicking the preset and then change the attached fill / stroke / effects etc graphic style and then exiting from the edit mode (or isolation mode) then the effect will be updated in all the instances currently displayed on the artboard.

  1. Double click symbol instance with the style

  2. Select a path with graphic style

  3. Go to the graphic styles panel

  4. Select a new style

  5. Exit symbol editing mode by right click context menu

You will then see all the symbols updated to the new graphic style filled design

Appearance panel and effects added to the graphic styles' symbol

transform styles and symbol and graphic style

You can take any of the effect presets and edit them via the appearance panel. You will see all the styles are made up of a fill or multiple fill as well as a stroke or multiple strokes (or no strokes) as well as effects such as blurs and gallery effects and more. You can remove any of these via the panel as well as editing the settings.


A subtle change of a fill such as a gradient can radically change the generated shape in the preset's panel.


You can also change the blending modes as well as the opacity of the individual elements via the panel.

  1. Double click a symbol instance on the artboard

  2. Window

  3. Appearance

  4. Go to the appearance panel

  5. Select a fill

  6. Select gradient tool if a gradient fill

  7. Change gradient or color etc

  8. Exit out of symbol editing mode

You can also add effects to the graphic style / symbol such as transform

  1. Select symbol instance

  2. Effect menu in Illustrator

  3. Distort and transform

  4. Transform

  5. Copies 10

  6. Scale 95%

  7. OK

Other resources

1. Illustrator colorful graphic styles

Other tutorials

1. How to merge graphic styles in Illustrator


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