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  • Akiya Brewley

Get to know Adobe Illustrator Personally!

Of course we all know that great designs stems from great thought processes, getting to know your clients and research and references. Taking your time is important when going through the planning stage!

Brining your ideas to life is a different story, that’s where the FUN begins.

If you’re anything like us here at [AB] Design Ltd. then you are always super excited to start developing your vision.

Here are some tips and tricks to get you whipping through illustrator and bringing those designs alive in no time:

1. Select all shapes with the same fill or stroke, or both.

If you go to the “Select” menu and click on “Same,” you can instantly select ALL of the shapes with that same fill color, stroke color, or both, in a single click! We love this feature, it saves so much time, especially if you make a last minute color scheme decision, you can easily update all of your shapes at once.

Other “select same” options include Blending Mode, Opacity, and Stroke Weight.

2. Use the “White Arrow” to select individual paths within a group, without ungrouping.

Also known as the Direct Selection Tool, you can use the white arrow to select individual shapes, paths, and points, within a group of shapes, without ungrouping. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool and click on a single shape within that group, and you can instantly change its fill, or stroke, without ever ungrouping anything.

You can also toggle between the "Selection Tool" [Black Arrow] and the Direct Selection tool by holding command/control when either is selected.

Bonus “White Arrow” tip:

3. You can use the white arrow to adjust path curves, without ever touching the “Handlebars.”

This tip might not be as popular much as the others but it is still very helpful. You can select a line segment between two points on a path, and manipulate its curve by dragging, without messing with the anchor points at all.

An alternative to select individual paths without ungrouping is

4. Use the Layers Palette to select paths within a group.

You can easily select an individual path or shape in the Layers palette and change whatever you want (fill, stroke, etc) without ungrouping anything as well. It also keeps your shapes aligned the way you want them. To select an individual path using the layers palette, click on the circle icon in the corresponding path sublayer.

4. Make a habit of “Locking” shapes

Many times we stack shapes and paths on top of each other to achieve a specific effect. It can be frustrating when trying to select paths at different depths in this case.

An easy way to help your stacked selection woes is to lock the shapes you don't want to select. You can do this by hitting Control(PC)/Command + 2. You can also find Lock in the Object menu at the top, and as an Icon in the Layers palette.

Tip #4 leads us to next:

6. Learn your SHORTCUTS

Command, Command + Shift… there really is a shortcut for everything [almost], learn them, use them. Utilizing your shortcuts can get things done in double the time, let’s just think about how easy it is to copy and paste without a thought. Maneuvering though illustrator using shortcuts will definitely save you time.

7. Make the “Align” palette your best friend.

If you don't use the Align palette, and you like your designs neat and nice and aligned perfectly whether to itself or to the art-board, you definitely should check it out. It's much easier and faster than guessing, eyeballing it or even laying out guides.

Lastly here’s some more palette option that’s helpful

8. Change effects you have already applied in the “Appearance” palette.

Instead of hitting undo and re-applying filters and effects, open the Appearance palette and you can easily adjust the effects you've already applied to shapes. The time-saving value here lies in having quick access to exactly what settings you previously applied and being able to adjust them without reapplying.

9. The “Glyph” palette for Special characters

Illustrator has a special character palette called “Glyph.” If you find yourself needing to use special characters on a regular basis, we suggest exploring this palette.

9. Get to know the “Pathfinder.”

Pathfinder allows you to combine, subtract, and basically use shapes in Illustrator like cookie-cutters. This can mean eliminating grouped paths into a single path for easier selection and organization, as well as condensing overall file size in the bigger picture.

Here's to designing in illustrator a little swifter!

Signed and sealed

The creatives of [AB] Designs Ltd


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