How to merge multiple patterns in Illustrator tutorial

How to combine (merge) multiple swatches / fills / patterns in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc tutorial via styles and appearance panel etc

Merge multiple patterns in Illustrator

merge multiple pattern swatches in Illustrator
  1. Appearance panel (for merge of multiple patterns)

  2. Right side menu and clear appearance

  3. Go to the Illustrator swatches panel and select an item

  4. Once you have applied one fill

  5. Go to add new fill or duplicate command (same menu as before) and add a swatch.

  6. You will only see that one now as the lower down fill is hidden by the top artwork (in most cases unless there is transparency).

  7. Go to the opacity section (it is displayed as a link next to the fill in the appearance panel) on the latest fill and set the opacity to say, 50%.


Or set the blending mode to darken or lighten etc and depending on the fills, more or less of the underlying fill will be seen.


Illustrator swatches are wonderful designs on their own, but combining Illustrator swatches (AI format files) they become even more magical. Combining multiple swatches in Illustrator can result in subtle designs with a lovely painted Illustrator look or perhaps more extreme like the image on the right which uses blending modes and mixes two diamond Illustrator swatches or perhaps use gradients in combination to create even more amazing gradient swatch designs. Note: there is a merge Illustrator swatch feature but this may or may not work (it does not work with my version of Illustrator CC 2018 2017 but it should work with earlier).

Transparency included and combining them

Some of the tiles in the various sets do not need to use the opacity / blending mode. Some of the swatches tiles already have transparency inbuilt and can be combined multiple times without the need to change the opacity etc. You can also shift / move the artwork in the swatch (or scale or rotate) via the object menu transform (the key thing is to set the transform object option to OFF and put the pattern to ON) I must admit the move command / panel is terrible to use - certain they could make it a little more flexible and perhaps interactive to use.


  1. Select the swatch fill line in the appearance panel

  2. Go to the object / transform / move command

  3. Deselect the object option

  4. Enter the settings to shift the pattern (as with the image on the left made up of two swatches - basically the same swatch but modified to be blue instead of an orange Illustrator swatch)

Saving the combination as a style in Illustrator

Once you have added all the fills and strokes

  1. Go to the graphic style's panel

  2. Select the right side menu

  3. Select the new style option and save all the combinations into the style's panel

You can now re-use the merging / combination of the two swatches (or three or four swatches etc)

Merge swatches

At the present, the Illustrator merge functionality makes no sense (not in my version of Illustrator). It does not seem to merge gradient or patterns. Perhaps that is not the purpose of the merge but it does seem a little limited if that is the case. Anyway, the merge swatches function is there and perhaps you will have more joy with it in CS5 (when it used to work)

  1. Select two or more swatches in the swatches panel

  2. Go to the right side menu

  3. Merge swatches

Good luck, perhaps you will be ok and the swatches will merge fine using that approach

Other tutorials

You can find many other tutorials such as how to open and load the Illustrator swatches

Sources and references

1. Merging swatches on Adobe

Youtube Video tutorials - how can we find out more

Tutorial on the subject [Youtube]


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