Adobe Illustrator has features any graphic designerwill love to see integrated into their work. One of the most important graphic designs to a company’s health is its logo. It is the mental image the consumer associates with the entire brand. Producing logos, placing them, and even doing variations on a logo can help build a company’s image, and adobe illustrator can help in this task with its array of helpful design features.
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Advantages of Designing in Adobe Illustrator
A vector-based program, Adobe Illustrator is an excellent tool for creating detailed designs such as logos. Because it is vector-based, Illustrator produces images that can be expanded or reduced to any size without loss of detail or sharpness. A logo created in Illustrator can be sized for any venue from a billboard to a postage stamp.
Drawing a Logo in Illustrator
Creating a logo entirely in Illustrator produces a crisp, easily duplicated image. One method for drawing the basic logo design freehand uses the pencil or brush tool. Use of the tool is intuitive if the preferences are set using the following method:
- Select the pencil or brush tool.
- Double click the selected tool to view preferences.
- Deselect “Keep selected.”
- Deselect “Fill new strokes.”
The pencil or brush tool is useful for creating irregular shapes. The rectangle and ellipse tools can easily draw perfect geometric shapes. Once a basic sketch is established, the pen tool can be used to smooth lines, and color can be added with the paint bucket or a brush tool. The resulting logo will have a smooth, professional appearance.
Duplicating Design Elements
A design can become richer with precisely repeated elements. Any element can be easily duplicated:
- Choose the selection tool.
- Depress the Alt key.
- Click and drag. (A duplicate of the selected element will appear.)
- Ctrl-D repeats the last action.
The process is simple and precise, and results in a smooth, crisp design.
Making a Logo Stand Out
Perspective adds a new dimension to a design. In Illustrator CS5, a logo or image can be drawn in perfect perspective using the perspective grid tool. In previous versions of Illustrator, perspective can be added by using “Object > Transform.”
Color grabs a viewer’s attention. Illustrator’s color palette is unlimited, and allows users to create and save their own colors. Additionally, gradients and transparencies can add eye-catching emphasis to any design element. By saving colors in the swatch palette, designers can precisely duplicate any color with minimal effort.
Importing Non-Vector Images
Non-vector images such as photographs and scans can be easily imported into Illustrator by selecting “File > Place.” These images cannot be edited in the same way as vector images, but a great deal can be accomplished with them.
Also, more than one image can be placed in an Illustrator file, and can then be manipulated and combined in a number of ways.
Editing Non-Vector Images
Illustrator offers several methods for dealing with non-vector images:
- Live Trace produces a vector drawing of an image.
- Double-clicking on an image’s layer in the layer palette accesses a window with the “Template” option. The layer becomes semi-transparent so users can trace it with various Illustrator tools.
- Clipping masks and transparency masks conceal portions of images for collages and for incorporating chosen elements of one image into another image.
The capability to import non-vector images opens a huge number of creative possibilities, such as:
- Logos consisting of letters filled with photographic images.
- Logos strategically placed in photographs.
- Collages of photographs and hand-drawn designs.
- Combinations of photos and text.
Although Adobe Photoshop is the ultimate program for editing photographs, Illustrator also has many photo-editing capabilities, such as:
- Effects: Any Illustrator effect, such as blur or sharpen, can be used on a photograph.
- Clipping Masks: With a clipping mask, an element in a photo can be separated from the rest of the photo, then incorporated into other images.
- Transparency Masks: With a transparency mask, drawing a white shape makes only the area of the photo beneath that shape visible. A black shape conceals an area of a photograph.
With layers and masks, text can be easily added to photographs, and photos can be collaged for interesting effects. For instance, a sleeping cat could appear to float in space, or a logo could adorn the Empire State Building.
Professional Polish with Illustrator
All of the Illustrator capabilities above can contribute to an attention-grabbing logo or design that can be sized to fit any venue with no degradation of image. Whether a design is intricate or simple, it can be created with Illustrator’s flexible tools and can be combined with non-vector images and photos to produce unique, professional designs.