Design Quickie – The Case for Global Swatches

Pssst…. Hey you…. Do you use the global swatch option in your illustration program?

Do you even know where it is or what it does? If the answer is no, let me introduce you to one of the most powerful settings in Adobe’s product line, Global Swatches.

Let’s say you are finished a design for a client and they suddenly pivot the to a new product design that effects the  color and flavor without nuking the entire concept back to step one. with just the adjustment of a few sliders and some minor text editing, you  can make a disaster in to a miracle. See the case below. The change of concept from a Yellow Sun to a Blue Neuron Star can be fixed in just a few minutes.


Global colors also allow for quick iteration of ideas across a product line, letting you recolor and adjust different flavors quickly. Spot Colors are always global.

Another great thing about Global Swatches is they work inside of other structures in Adobe product like gradients. This can also be a bit of an issue if not known before a design is built. Best process is to keep colors in gradients separate from the general illustration colors in your design.