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How To Equally Duplicate a Shape Around a Circle in Adobe Illustrator: Design Tips Post #2

Design Tips Mini-Series

We’re Glwelcome back-01ad You’re Back!

We hope you enjoyed our first Design Tutorial on tracing an object with the pen tool with Adobe Illustrator. If you missed out on our first post in the design series, you can view it hereThis series of design tips put together by our graphic designers features helpful hints and tricks about creating great artwork. We’ll cover topics from common design software questions to helpful information about best practices for label design. Follow along and we’ll have your next order of labels looking spiffy in no time!

If you have any questions about your label or need a little bit of design help, we’d be glad to help!

Ready, Set, Design!

In Part 2 of this series, our goal will be to equally distribute a shape around the circumference of a circle. This is especially useful when creating elements for a design. As you will see in our tutorial, this method can be used for creating vector shapes and elements of a logo.

Tutorial #2:
How to Duplicate an Object Around a Circle in Illustrator

Sometimes when designing complex shapes, there is a need to equally distribute a shape around a circle. For example, say we are designing a label for sunscreen. We want to make a sun graphic, however, when we begin creating the rays we come to realize there is no easy way to space them equally around the center of the sun.

In this tutorial we will show you a quick and easy way to accomplish this:

Adobe Illustrator How to Step 1

Start by creating the circle that your shape will follow.
We created a 2” circle, centered on our artboard.


Create the Shape You Will Duplicate
Adobe Illustrator How to Step 2.

Create the shape you want to equally repeat around the edge of the circle.
In this case we created a ray for our sun.
Make sure to position your shape how you would like it to be repeated.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 3

With your shape selected, select the Rotate Tool on your toolbar by either clicking on the icon or by using the shortcut on the keyboard [ r ].


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 4 and 5

With the object selected that you want to repeat, and while toggling the Rotate tool, hold down Option for Mac, or Alt for Windows and click on the center of the circle.


Once you click in the center of the circle, a dialog box will open in Adobe Illustrator like the one above. A default angle of 0° will appear.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 6

For your object to rotate and repeat equally around your circle, you must choose the amount of degrees your shape needs to duplicate around (360° for a circle) by how many of those shapes you want to create.
What you are doing here is determining the repeat angle around the circle.
Illustrator does this for you by dividing the degrees of the repeat/number of shapes you want.
For Example:
If we want 12 shapes divided around our circle we would enter 360/12.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 7

When you are finished determining your repeat, make sure you click “COPY” on the left hand bottom of the dialog box and not “OK.”
When you click copy an exact replication of your original shape will be made at the angle you determined in the previous step.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 8

Now you will have two versions of your object.
Your original, and a duplicate of your original placed exactly at your determined angle.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 9

You might be wondering, “I need this shape to go all the way around my circle, not just once.”
Don’t worry, there’s an easy solution to this.
You are simply going to press CMD-D on a Mac, or CTRL-D on a PC.
With each time you press this shortcut, it will duplicate another copy of your shape until you have a perfect circumference of equally placed shapes around your circle.


Adobe Illustrator How to Step 10

STEP 10:
By the end of this tutorial, you should have a circle with an equally spaced shape spanning the entire circumference.
This is a quick and easy way to create a well-designed graphic, logo, or accent to your newly designed label artwork.


Adobe Illustrator How to Animation

STEP 10:
Have any feedback, or need an answer to a design question you have? Give us a call or e-mail us at, address the e-mail to “Graphics Team,” and we will get back to you with an answer shortly. 
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