Best Design Software 2021

How to Use Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a design tool with over 12 million users. We consolidated our top seven tips on the best features of Adobe Illustrator and how to use them.

Adobe Illustrator is an ideal graphics editor and design program for creators, illustrators, and business owners alike. Today we’re going to take a look at Adobe Illustrator, show you how to get started, and even share seven of our best tips so you can get started with minimal effort.

This is an introductory guide on using Adobe Illustrator for anyone who wants to begin using it but might feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get started.

Table of Contents

How to Get Started with Adobe Illustrator

A vector drawing program, Adobe Illustrator can be used to create high-resolution graphics for many different applications. Due to the high resolution, these graphics can be printed as well.

Adobe Illustrator is ideal for creating designs for a huge variety of projects including illustrations, logos, t-shirt graphics, business cards, packaging designs, icons, art for social media, and so much more.

No matter what Mac or Windows device you own, Adobe Illustrator can be installed and used on it. Adobe Illustrator makes it super easy to try out their program with a free online trial. All you have to do is go to their site and sign up to get started today.

Seven Tips for Using Adobe Illustrator

Here are seven of our most helpful tips for getting started with Adobe Illustrator.

#1. Learn by Using Templates

If you’re a beginner, Adobe Illustrator’s interface can look a little intimidating and the learning curve may discourage you. In order to get past this and to begin using the program immediately to get a feel for all the tools and options available, you should consider using one of Illustrator’s pre-designed templates to practice on.

Adobe Illustrator Templates

Here is a list of the types of designs you can create in Adobe Illustrator, as well as the featured templates of each design type:

  • Trifold Brochure Layout
  • Postcard Set
  • Web Banner Layout
  • Material Icon Set
  • Infographic Layout
  • Longform Infographic Set

#2. Set Your Preferred Workspace

An easy way to begin getting acquainted with Illustrator’s different use cases is to begin testing out its different interfaces also known as “workspaces”.

A workspace is a way for you to set up Illustrator in a way that will fit your specific design needs. You can set up a workspace on your own or use one of the preset workspaces. For beginners, we recommend beginning with the “Essentials” workspace at first.

Adobe Illustrator User Interface

Here are the premade workspaces you can select in Adobe Illustrator:

  • Automation
  • Essentials
  • Layout
  • Painting
  • Printing
  • Tracing
  • Typography
  • Web

#3. Familiarize Yourself With the Drawing Tools

Another important step in utilizing Illustrator to its fullest is to have a working understanding of the drawing tools available to you. The pen and brush tools will be two of your most fundamental tools when creating scalable graphics. This is where Adobe Illustrator excels.

Illustrator’s pen tool is its main drawing tool. Getting started with the pen tool is easy. You can create straight lines and curves that become more complex graphic designs with this tool. Other Illustrator drawing tools include the paintbrush tool, blob brush tool, and pencil tool.

#4. Edit Photos

Advanced photo editing is made easier with Adobe Illustrator, especially for beginners. Illustrator comes with many different built-in filters, effects, and more to edit photos like a pro.

Adobe Illustrator Photo Editing

Illustrator also supports a number of filters and effects directly pulled from its native integration with Photoshop. Ultimately, we feel that graphic designers in need of relatively advanced photo editing features will find Illustrator useful.

#5. Explore Typography

Illustrator is not like Coanva or Visme when it comes to typography options. Illustrator allows for a much more advanced and customizable typography option. If you are creating banners, logos, book covers, or just want more options for all of your projects, Adobe Illustrator is the perfect choice.

You can take advantage of many advanced tools for your typography needs. A couple of examples are below.

  • Kerning: Kerning allows you to adjust the spaces between your letters in order to make your typography more visually appealing.
  • Hanging Roman Punctuation: By turning on Hanging Roman Punctuation, you can allow text to line up cleanly because quotation marks are set outside the margins. Normally they are put flush with text within the margins. Using this option will give your typography a more professional look.
  • Type on a “path”: You can add text to a path in order to create a shaped text or to wrap text around an object.

#6. Use the Color Guide

If you need quick and effortless inspirations, Illustrator’s color guide can help you out. You can choose from pre-made color swatches and palettes or create your own. Adobe Illustrator makes it very easy to find the right colors for the job you have at hand.

There are many options when using the Color Guide. You can play around with it until you’re more comfortable with setting up your guide the way you want it.

#7. Learn Illustrator’s Exporting Options

Exporting can be a bit intimidating because of Illustrator’s many exporting options. Our best rule of thumb to remember is that if you want to be able to share something, export it as a PNG. If you want to be able to scale something, later on, export it as an SVG file.

Adobe Illustrator Exporting

You can export your file as the following in Adobe Illustrator:

  • PNG
  • CSS
  • JPG
  • TIFF
  • PDF
  • SVG

Illustrator cannot directly post to social media platforms like Canva and Visme. If you primarily leverage design software for social media content, this will be an extra step in your workflow to consider.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see how versatile Adobe Illustrator is for illustrators, creators, and anyone who needs to create high-quality digital images or professionally edit photos. From built-in color guides to helpful pre-designed templates, Adobe Illustrator is a program that knows how to help you make the most of your time while creating the quality art you desire.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

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