Adobe Illustrator

the reigning

vector champion


In our tools and apps articles we have discovered and shared a plethora of ways to make our lives easier, quicker and more efficient. Some of the tools and apps we have used ourselves and some we have not.

This month, we wanted to focus on Adobe Illustrator; this is clever design software which we use every day enabling us to do what we do for our clients. Whether you want to build everything from scratch using paths and shapes, or automatically trace existing artwork, Illustrator makes it all straightforward.

Design perfection

Adobe Illustrator is an industry-standard vector graphics app that lets you create symbols, drawings, patterns, typography and complex illustrations for any marketing channel. So, whatever our clients want, from infographics and websites to posters and billboards, Illustrator is more than capable of achieving design perfection!

Did you know that computer graphics fall into two main categories: vector graphics and raster graphics? Adobe Illustrator creates vector artwork i.e., anything that is made up of shapes, lines, curves etc, including illustrations, icons, infographics and logos. And when it comes to output (.ai, .eps or .pdf) it is resolution independent. This means it can be scaled to any size and printed at any resolution without losing detail or clarity.

Illustrator is comprehensive, flexible and very precise, but if you’re looking for a quick fix to create a one-off graphic then it's probably best to look elsewhere

Precise and professional

We find Illustrator to be comprehensive, flexible and very precise, but if you’re looking for a quick fix to create a one-off graphic then it would probably be advisable to look at using something else, as it will take time to learn. However, with any design software, there are advantages and disadvantages, here’s a summary of the key points:

Advantages of using Illustrator

Interface – offers a user-friendly work-space with easy to navigate menus, which can be customised

Flexibility - it works on PC’s or Mac’s

Integration – it works well with other Adobe products such as InDesign and Photoshop

Capability – it can create complex artwork with multiple layers and enables you to work on multiple pages at once

Scalability – whatever size you need, you will always have sharp lines to make your designs stand out

Disadvantages of using Illustrator

Expertise - not suitable for beginners, it’s a steep learning curve

Space/Size – it’s over 2 Gb and can make your computer go slowly, plus it can take time to start up and sometimes sharing a file can be problematic, depending on file format and/or what software the other person has.

Patience – you need to be saint like and take your time to understand and then use its capabilities to best effect.

Pictures – there are limited photo editing options, sometimes you will need to use another program.

Affordability – it can seem pricey, but you can choose to pay monthly for just Illustrator or pay for a full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription that gives you access to all their products.

We like it because it gives you professional looking artwork. However, there are other software packages available, so we recommend that you find the one that works best for you.

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