As a graphic designer, I use Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis. It’s pretty much my go to design software (because it’s vector based!) for logo and web design projects. Today I’m sharing my 7 favorite Adobe Illustrator tools with you guys! I love Illustrator because it’s so versatile. You can use it for pretty much any vector based work you’ll ever need to do.
Let’s dive right in.
I have so many “favorite” AI tools but I’ve tried to narrow it down to my top seven for you guys.
1. Pen Tool
Yep, I chose the pen tool as my favorite. I use this tool pretty much every single day. I use it to turn my hand-lettered logos, hand drawn illustrations, and icons into vectors. Yeah I know, it’s really tedious but when Image Trace just isn’t doing the job (which will happen more often than not) you’ll need to pull out the pen tool to complete the project. It takes a while to master this complex puppy because it uses anchor points and lines. Contrary to popular believe the pen tool isn’t actually for writing or drawing (I know weird right?!).
2. Artboards Tool
Artboards are my favorite to work with. Think of each artboard as its own canvas. For big brand identity projects I use multiple artboards in different sizes to produce all the assets. I love how you can change the sizes of each of your artboards anytime you want during your process!
PRO TIP: By using multiple artboards you’re able to use just one Adobe Illustrator file for the entire project. No need to make a new AI file for each little thing!
3. Align Tool
The align tool is so crazy helpful when you want to make sure design elements are perfectly symmetrical with each other. I use it all the time with logos and brand assets. It makes my OCD perfectionist heart so happy to be able to align and distribute multiple objects seamlessly!
4. File Size Options
This isn’t necessarily an official “tool” per se it’s just an amazing feature. When you are creating a new file in illustrator you can choose custom dimensions, pixels, dpi, color mode, and so much more. For those of you wanting to make a graphic perfectly sized for any social media platform, the possibilities are endless. You have the ability to size anything you could ever want and/or need!
5. Lock Tool
The Lock Tool is my favorite secret weapon in my toolbox. I use this baby with everything. Ever get frustrated because you can’t move the shapes you need because something is over top of them? Or ever grab the wrong shape and mess up the symmetry of the whole project. Well, with the lock tool you can lock in place any shapes or elements that you know are good to go and can be set in place. But don’t worry you can always unlock anything at ANY time.
PRO TIP: I use the lock tool when I’m working with clients who request templates. You can lock all of the background elements and leave the text boxes editable.
6. Group Tool
If you’re not using the group tool, you’re missing out. This tool is essential for keeping objects all together and easily movable. Let me give you an example. Let’s say I’m building an icon of a phone with the pen tool. I’ve made the phone, the screen, and the home button. But now I want them all together so I can move the whole thing. I all I do is highlight everything and group it and I’m all set.
7. Eyedropper Tool
The eyedropper is the most fun color palette tool in AI. With this tool you can put the eyedropper over any color, either from a photo or another graphic, and grab it and place it in another shape. This is great for if you have a specific brand color scheme. It’s way faster than typing out ever hexadecimal color code individually. Or if you’re using the colors from a photo for inspiration for your project you can use the eyedropper to copy the exact colors in the photo to your shapes!
That’s a wrap! I’d love to know what your favorite AI tools are. Leave me a comment below and let’s have a convo!