Designers rely on Illustrator on a daily basis. It’s used to create high-quality vector artwork which is graphics that are made up of points, lines, curves, and shapes based on mathematical formulas. Vectors are one of the first things you’ll learn as a designer and you’re sure to rely on Illustrator to create with these concepts.
Illustrator is the best tool to learn first for anyone who wants to be a designer. It’s made by Adobe, the leading design software powerhouse, which makes it compatible with other Adobe products including Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro.
Illustrator is the main tool that’s used by Digital Designers and Graphic Designers. With Illustrator, Designers can create logos, illustrations, graphs, cartoons, charts, photograph-based artwork, typography, promotional materials, and frames for animations. Drawing is certainly a useful skill for any Designer, but Illustrator makes creating art easy without being a fantastic hand drawing artist.
Design Directors oversee designers and projects and also need to know how to use Illustrator. Understanding the tools their Designers are using helps directors express their ideas, make edits, and show their team a standard or template.
UI Designers use Illustrator differently than most designers. They use it to create mock-ups of applications and websites to express their idea of the best user interface for a given project. They also create aesthetic pieces for these projects in Illustrator such as buttons, typography, and accents. Sometimes they use their Illustrator mock-ups to create interactive prototypes and test their designs on real end-users.
Illustrator is mainly used by Designers, but it’s also an extremely useful tool for any visual artist including video editors, photographers, web designers, and animators. While this powerful tool is the best way to dive into design, it’s not the only skill you need to get a job as a Designer. You also need to learn basic design concepts including layout, typography, color theory, vector graphics, and digital drawing.
Illustrator Career Options
Here are a few career paths for which you’ll likely need Illustrator skills in order to succeed. We also include additional info about their average salaries, their day-to-day responsibilities, and a link to learn more about each career.
Graphic designers work with both digital and physical media to create art that communicates and inspires. Using graphics, text, colors, and animations, graphics designers develop media assets for branding, advertising, and messaging. Graphics designers can work for agencies or themselves. They create a wide variety of design elements, such as brochures, infographics, marketing material layouts, and design elements for print, video, or web use.Learn about becoming a Graphic Designer
Designers work in a wide variety of industries and specialize in just as many mediums. Most designers create digital assets, but some designers work with hand-drawn sketches and illustrations. They start with an understanding of the best design principles and functional aesthetics. Common fields for designers include web, apps, print, fashion, animation, advertising, and UX design.Learn about becoming a Designer
User interface (UI) designers are responsible for how an application or web page looks and feels. Using colors, fonts, patterns, textures, icons, and buttons, user interface designers work with user experience designers to improve websites. Some user interface designers may also touch on user experience design (UX) issues and use prototyping and user testing to analyze the effectiveness of messaging and ease of use.Learn about becoming a UI Designer
User experience researchers analyze customer and client data to improve interactions. They design and lead focus groups in order to collect usability data, and then report their findings to inform future development and iterations. With a focus on improving brand loyalty and user satisfaction, user experience researchers share their insights with user experience developers to assist with future design efforts.Learn about becoming a UX Researcher
Visual designers focus on what users see on their screens—banners, menus, graphics, navigation, and more. They use their knowledge of best practices to design digital elements such as page designs, banner ads, icons, and overlays. Working for platforms such as websites, apps, movies, games, and wearables, visual designers strive to provide beautiful user interface. Visual designers often work with software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, and more.Learn about becoming a Visual Designer
Digital Designers make graphics, animations, and other visual effects. Depending on their preference, a Digital Designer might choose to niche down to work exclusively on pre-print, web, or digital marketing. These niches that the Digital Designer is designing websites, applications, advertisements, or publications.Learn about becoming a Digital Designer
A Design Director leads a team of creative professionals who curate the look and feel of a product or project through the production of visual strategies. They work on projects like magazines, movies, advertisements, video games, or websites. Design Directors can work in industries such as interior design, retail, marketing, architecture, and entertainment.Learn about becoming a Design Director
Web designers design the appearance and workings of a website. They use their understanding of both visual design and technical design principles to create functional web layouts. Some web designers work from home and enjoy the flexibility of freelance work, while others work for agencies or businesses. Good web designers have the experience and foresight to anticipate the end-user experience and design for ease of use and navigation.Learn about becoming a Web Designer