Source: Transition Blog
It is an undisputed fact that Adobe’s Creative Suite, or its more recent Creative Cloud, is the most popular software suite for a whole range of creative solutions: graphic design and web design, video editing, photo manipulation, sound design, etc. Offering a bevy of software programs that can transform dreams to reality, even the most seasoned designer can struggle to use the collection to its full potential.
There is a steep learning curve to the different Creative Suite programs, yet mastering a few of these can help open up the door to a world of opportunities — it’ll make you that much more valuable as a web designer, photographer, or whatever design profession you dabble in. That said, Daza Design will focus on Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editor; a powerful software program that is essential to any traditional or online design agency, especially if your design company offers graphic design services or logo design services.
As mentioned, Illustrator is a vector graphics editor, and when it comes to vector editing, the software program is your best friend. You may be new to Illustrator or you may be an Illustrator veteran, whichever it is, there are some mistakes that you may not be aware of. Daza Design has compiled a list of some mistakes that are easy to make, but are just as easy to avoid. So don’t worry! We’ll help you improve on your graphic design skills.
Don’t use the wrong file type!
We want to start off simple — make sure you use the right file types. The correct file type is something such as a scalable vector file like .eps files. Importing file types with the extensions .jpg or .gif are very hard to work with, even if those files have the highest resolution possible. Always check if .ai or .eps files are available. Don’t waste your hard work on a logo design or a graphic design by exporting to the wrong file type, as well. Make sure you keep your master file in .ai or .eps format. Be sure to avoid making this mistake!
Don’t forget to use layers!
Layers? They aren’t just a Photoshop ‘thing’, you can use layers on Illustrator as well. Just like Photoshop, different masks and adjustments can be applied on your vector graphic. Ease up your design process by making it a habit to organizing your Illustrator documents as clearly as possible. A great way to organize the various layers of your vector graphic and its shapes is by naming them as descriptively as possible. Making the mistake of not using clearly organized layers can make future revisions of your vector graphic very difficult.
Don’t use the wrong color type!
This mistake is especially devastating for print designers. It’s a common mistake for novice designers, but it bears repeating even for experienced designers (as sometimes we forget the basics when swamped with work). You must understand the difference between the CMYK and RBG color profiles. We won’t delve further into the difference between the two, but it’s important that we distinguish that CMYK should be used for any print design, while RGB is to be used for digital and web applications. Using RGB can distort the colors of your print design. What you see on your monitor won’t necessarily be the same as your printed product, so be sure you’re using CMYK on Illustrator!
Not understanding how to use the Pen tool properly.
On to the more nuanced features of Adobe Illustrator. Less a mistake and rather more of an issue of inexperience, not understanding how to use the Illustrator’s Pen tool can prevent a designer from maximizing the capabilities of the vector graphic editor. Investing time into learning the tool will help you reach peaks that even some of the most skilled designers don’t ever reach. The tool carries a high degree of difficulty and designers tend to shy away from using it, but if mastered — there’s no outline it can’t trace.
Not understanding how to use the Pathfinder tool properly.
The next tool that will help ease any design process, whether for graphic design or as a part of a web design project, is the Pathfinder tool. A swiss army knife of sorts, the Pathfinder tool is extremely versatile and offers a great number of solutions to your vector graphic problems. The Pathfinder tool helps designers create and manipulate shapes — an important feature of Illustrator especially when dealing with a graphic design. It would benefit you immensely to practice making basic shapes to hone your talents with the Pathfinder tool. You can find many tutorials online, such as this one.
Not using the Smooth and Simplify tools.
Daza Design’s last two bits of advice centered upon maximizing some of Illustrator’s most powerful tools: Smooth and Simplify tools. The biggest no-no for a graphic design or a print design is to have rough edges that when magnified or scaled can have disastrous results. Practice using the Smooth and Simplify tools to streamline and tidy the appearance of your vector graphic.
Not trying out other programs other than Illustrator.
This may seem a little counterintuitive to the whole point of highlighting the benefits and advantages of the mighty Illustrator, but sometimes designers can get hung up on utilizing one software program. Like we said earlier, Adobe’s Creative Suite offers a bevy of software programs that formats such as .jpg or .png are best edited on programs such as Photoshop. As awesome as Illustrator can be, there is no need to fit a square peg in a round hole especially when the needs of the project don’t require it.
Daza Design, as an online design agency, extensively uses programs such as Adobe’s Illustrator in our print design services and graphic design services; we can attest to how beneficial it is to your creative process to understand and maximize the tools offered by the premier vector graphic editor, Illustrator. It’s never too late to catch your mistakes, or fix them if need be. Just remember that practice makes perfect!