Quick Tip: Control the number of colors in Illustrator

Getting your design ready for print can sometimes be a challenging task. Clients usually demand a limited number of colors for their vectors and there are designers that have trouble cleaning up their work and find those tiny hair-sized strokes that add one more color.

Here’s how you can clean up those loose colors, quick and easy.

We will work on this skull design that one of our artists created recently, but didn’t get the chance to clean it up yet.

STEP 1

Select the entire artwork. Click the “Recolor Artwork” button on the top buttons bar. It will show you the real number of colors used and you’ll get an idea of how you can fix them.

STEP 2

First, open the Swatches palette (Window > Swatches) and click the “New Color Group” button. This will create a palette of all the colors you used in your design.

STEP 3

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle near your design.

STEP 4

With the rectangle selected, click the color in the created color group that you want to remove.

STEP 5

Grab the Magic Wand (Y), press Enter and set Tolerance value to “0”. Then click the square. Now you should have selected every shape in your design that has that specific color.

STEP 6

From the Swatches palette (Window > Swatches), click the closest color tone from the created color group. Then click-drag the unwanted color onto the “Delete Swatch” button.

To show the colors you used, create more rectangles and color them with all the colors from the remaining color group. It’s very helpful for someone to recolor it quick and easy.

Your turn! Is this post useful to you ? Share your thoughts!

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13 Comments
coxychap
Never thought of doing that. Am I doing it wrong by choosing Select > Same Fill Color in step 5? Isn't that quicker, or have I missed something?
Doink
No, that is also a right way to do it. The idea behind the placing of the colored squares is to keep track of the number of colors, even for someone who just sees the design for the first time.
clippingimages
The Tutorial is good.
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Clippingimages
Wow..cool...love the work...
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[...] Quick Tip: Control the number of colors in Illustrator [...]
Koshari
Thanks a lot for your wonderful tutorial.
Basbousa
Wow .. wonderful sharing . Thanks
swaminath
great info never though about doing this way. thanks!!!
Safi Sarkar
Most of colors are beautiful.

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