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Chapter 12. Symbolic Acts > What Are Symbols, and Why Do I Need Them?

What Are Symbols, and Why Do I Need Them?

Almost anything can be a symbol, which is really nothing more than a piece of artwork stored in the Symbols palette (and therefore subject to the rules and benefits thereof). Paths, shapes, pretty much any art you create in Illustrator can be a symbol. Or even artwork you place in Illustrator, as long as it's embedded, but let's not get too carried away here! Once you make something into a symbol, you can place it on the page however many times you want, either in single instances (that's a term you'll be hearing bandied about quite a bit with symbols) or en masse; more on those techniques later.

In case you haven't seen the big advantage of this yet, think of the amount of work involved in duplicating objects and placing them with deliberately casual artful randomness. Or the tedium of varying those objects to make them look less like drones and clones. Or the frustration (or worse) when you have to start all over because of one silly little problem in your original.


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