doc vectips

Essential tips for progressing your vector illustration skills. Get your message out clearly and stand out by taking your graphic vector elements to the next level. I'm suggesting few techniques that allow you to create not only artworks but also well done documentation templates as piece of your design system.

Let's say for instance you have produced a wireflow, and released it into the world. You have done this coz you think that your team and customers might find it useful. However, people need to understand why your wireflow might be useful for them, before they decide to read and use it. Documentation tells people that this project is for them. There are a small number of people who will source dive and read any design concept out there. That is a vanishingly small number of people, compared to people who will use your wireflow when properly documented. If you really love your project, document it, and let other people read it — check out more at wireframe-n-prototype

Let me guess now: you've been working as designer for so long and you've never explored the smart way of doing things ... 'coz you were running outta time? I already can see you go like — Ain't got time, gotta get the job done now! — and you're messing up. You have no clue. If you spend a little time to learn som' tips over the web, I can guarantee you'll be rewarded.

No matter how you work - what medium or software you choose - the concept, or idea, is the most important part of your piece. Every single one of the talented designers would confirm this, before going on to offer their valuable software and industry-focused nuggets of advice to help you further your skills and career.

You may know most of these tips, but if there's even one nugget that you weren't aware of then you'll improve your work. So, before you embark on that new killer concept, take heed of the great advice on offer to make the most of Illustrator and take your creations to the next level.

The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to know everything to begin. Start with the foundations and aim to continually improve. A key thing to remember is that in designing, there's usually a smarter way to solve a problem and chances are, there is documentation to prove it. Even the most advanced designers pick up new tricks from inspecting other people's projects and/or help section somewhere all over the web — for example check out this process I came up with to solve a problem on how to convert svg to eps


SCRIPT

Have you ever wonder why the hell you never ever get your damn job right on time, for the Lord's sake? Let me break it down for you: coz you never rely on scripts! That's the reason why. If you had, you would have understood.

Graphic design is a field characterized by creativity, but aspects of the work are anything but creative. In fact, you probably notice that the time you spend placing and replacing images, correcting errors in text, and preparing files for printing at an image-setting service provider often reduces the time you have available for doing creative work. With a small investment of time and effort, you can learn to write short, simple scripts that perform repetitive tasks for you. As your scripting skills grow, you can move on to more complex scripts.

Illustrator Scripting Object Model

Scripting also can enhance your creativity, by quickly performing tasks you might not have time to try.
For example, you could write a script to systematically create a series of objects, modifying the new objects position, stroke, and fill properties along the way. You also could write a script that accesses built-in transformation matrix functions to stretch, scale, and distort a series of objects. Without scripting, you
would likely miss out on the creative potential of such labor-intensive techniques.

Now do yourself a favour and take a look at som of these links I'm posting for you lazy bombs. You'll realize there are crazy people out there programming great stuff just to make your designer life easier. Be smart and take advantage, for what it's worth

book cover

Web Hub hosting several guides that describe the scripting interface to Adobe Illustrator

sample of script drawing common tangents to the selected curved lines

Here you can download piece of script-jams right away among adobe team and many developers around the world


SNAP TO GRID

This is one of the painful setting no one really care about, until they go outta mind when they absolutely need it coz no one find it easily. Wonder why your vector creations don't move properly to you desire location coordinates?

That's coz your option "Snap to grid" is turned off. As a matter of fact, when you draw, resize, or move a shape or other objects in Illustrator you can set it so that it will align or "snap” to the nearest intersection in the grid (even if the grid is not visible). Get more acknowlegdment at Adobe Support

I must admit Adobe isn't making it easier as they move this setting all over the app. This option used to be inside Transform panel as Illustrator before version 2017. Now you can find it under view menu dropdown

option as previous version of illustrator 2015

SPLIT INTO GRID

The Split Into Grid command lets you divide one or more objects into multiple rectangular objects arranged in rows and columns. You can precisely change the height, width, and gutter size between rows and columns, and quickly create guides for laying out artwork

Check out more at Adobe Support. This function is really helpful even to create a modular grid system layouts. Made famous by Swiss graphic designers such as Josef Müller-Brockmann and Wim Crouwel as far back as the 1920s and 30s, the use of a grid system can be hugely beneficial to all creatives, especially designers and illustrators. Grids can act as an aid to achieve ordered structure within your design. Designing to a grid will not only strengthen your typography skills but will change the way you approach design.

Select or create an object, choose Object > Path > Split Into Grid, set the options available to divide the object into a grid

SYMBOLS

A symbol is an art object that you can reuse in a document. Using symbols can save you time and greatly reduce file size.

With Dynamic Symbols, symbols can share a master shape but different instances of the symbol can have dynamically modified appearances. If the master shape is modified, symbol instances receive the new modification, but maintain their own modifications as well. Check out more at Adobe Support

There are requirements that need a symbol to appear the same, consistently across a project or artwork. However, some may need to represent different attributes or appearances. That's why I created these dynamic symbols

symbols I produced ready to use on wireflow document template of mine
Dynamic symbols stored as Ai file

TEXT PARAGRAPH

How's it going with daily operations lately ... like paragraphs text? I know I got it exactly right and you know that!

I'm not speaking of joining text lines nor placing text inside a shape. I mean text inside a shape. Main goal is to replicate a cartoon-bubble, a flexible one depending on the amount of text lines. Take a look below, this is what I do.

properties A - rounded rectangle with stroke, no fill
properties B - rounded rectangle with stroke and fill
properties C - rectangle with fill, no stroke

Let's make those shape-fill smoother with round corners.

Wonder how? Easy steps ahead like images aside. Go Effects dropdown on 'em, then apply. Just remember that a second fill layer controls text color!

select fx dropdown
apply effects now

Check this out. Above appearance properties produce results like following image. From now on every time you edit text (either you add or remove), shape will resize according to your flavours. Cool enough to make your design life easier, isn't it a great trick? I made this sample aside available for download

final result - properties references top A, center B, bottom C