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Beginner’s Guide to Adobe Illustrator

A design industry staple, Adobe Illustrator is a software program that allows users to create detailed and scalable graphics for a variety of purposes. It offers many sophisticated tools so you can design icons, logos, and other illustrations.

The application has several exciting features and is used across a wide range of industries and careers. Let’s dive in and learn more about this unique and powerful program.

Basic Features of Adobe Illustrator

There are four key features of Adobe Illustrator. Discussing each of these components in a bit more detail will give you a better understanding of what the program is capable of.


Artwork that is vector-based means that the graphics use curves, lines, and other shapes based on mathematical equations rather than pixels. This allows the image to be scaled to any size without the quality being sacrificed in any way. Illustrator has tools that enable you to “vectorize” your art, meaning you can draw something and scan it into the program for it to be turned into a scalable image that can be added to countless designs. With Illustrator, you can also convert existing pixel art into vector art. This tool in particular is a time-saver for professionals who work with programs like Photoshop but want to use their images in a variety of marketing tools. 

Scalability of Images

To restate, the vector feature of Illustrator allows an image to be scaled to any size and remain clear and appealing to the viewer. In today’s world, graphics need to be easily manipulated so they can fit into large and small spaces. Illustrator helps create eye-catching images that look equally attractive on billboards as they do on the screen of an iPhone. 


An artist might have several notebooks with hundreds of pages of ideas and sketches that they can access easily when they feel inspired. Artboards are Illustrator’s way of doing this in a digital format. The program allows you to create up to 1,000 artboards in a range of sizes without needing to create separate files for each one. 

Details and Patterns

Patterns are everywhere in our lives if we pay close attention. Illustrator provides the ability to create these engaging designs while maintaining an unparalleled level of detail. In a market that is saturated with all sorts of images, Illustrator helps create unique patterns, labels, and details to help your product or business stand out. 

Pros and Cons of Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a must-have for many creative professionals, and there are several aspects to the program that make it so popular. First, the vector illustration allows users to essentially create whatever they can think of. Users often feel that their creativity is inspired by what often feels like limitless possibilities. Illustrator creates professional-looking results that simply aren't achievable with other software. The program also works on all operating systems, which is especially handy for people who enjoy working at home and in an office where they may have different systems. Overall, Illustrator can be difficult to get the hang of, but the results are worth some initial investment. 

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of before working with Illustrator. Users often find that there is a steep learning curve; some users say they had to use the program for several months before they felt comfortable with it and could differentiate between the many tools available. Although, others feel that if you already have some familiarity with other Adobe programs, the learning process isn’t quite as daunting. The large size of the program means it can often be slow to run on older systems and it is known to crash periodically. 

Industries That Use Adobe Illustrator

The field of graphic design is somewhat nebulous since these professionals can often work in a variety of positions and industries. Graphic designers help communicate a message through the images they create. These images can be translated onto letterhead, business cards, and even billboards to establish consistent messaging for any brand. Graphic designers can also use Illustrator to design infographics that easily convey complicated information to both clients and customers. 

Adobe Illustrator is also commonly used in marketing and advertising. Regardless of the industry, every business wants its product or service to be marketed in eye-catching and trendy ways. The tools within Illustrator can help create graphics for social media accounts, banners for blogs and websites, and printed materials like brochures and magazine advertisements. Remember that the images in Illustrator are vector-based so Illustrator is often key to establishing brand awareness; the same image can be displayed across multiple platforms without changing. 

Many people may be surprised to learn that fashion designers and other professionals in the fashion industry use Illustrator daily. As stated above, Illustrator excels at helping users create detailed and unique patterns. Many designers will use Illustrator to add the patterns for their designs into their “fashion flats,” which are simple illustrations of a prospective article of clothing. Illustrator is also useful for creating presentations of a collection of designs. 

Learn Adobe Illustrator with Career Centers

If you’d like to learn more about everything Illustrator has to offer, check out these Adobe Illustrator classesoffered by Noble Desktop, a partner program of Career Centers. All of these courses can be taken in-person at Noble’s Manhattan campus or remotely from anywhere in the world. For those who just want to test the waters, there is a simple six-hour Illustrator in a Day program that teaches basic scaling and drawing techniques to get you started. 

Noble Desktop also offers a three-day Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp that is a bit more extensive. Students will learn how to create natural brushstrokes and add perspective to their drawings. If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, you may want to look into the Graphic Design Certificate, which is a 12-day program that covers the fundamentals of Illustrator in addition to other Adobe programs like InDesign and Photoshop. 

Learn more in these courses

  • Adobe Illustrator Courses
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