Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics design tool made available through an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Illustrator helps creative use points, lines, and shapes to build resizable illustrations, designs, and logos that are perfect for advertising, promotion, or education. You might worry that Illustrator will be too hard to learn. This guide will help you understand the best methods for learning Illustrator and what you should study first to make the learning process easier. This way, you’ll be successful however you choose to apply your new skills.

What is Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics design tool used in several industries, including graphic design and web design. The program allows users to build graphics and illustrations out of vectors, meaning they are composed of lines, shapes, and points. These illustrations are easily resizable with minimal decay in graphics quality (unlike pixel-based graphics, which do not resize without becoming blurry or blocky). Images designed in Illustrator are perfect for packaging, advertising, or branding endeavors that allow the same image to be placed on both a business card and a billboard.

Illustrator is also a key part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a collection of creative tools that give graphic designers a wide range of tools for creating stunning visual imagery. These programs are seamlessly integrated and built to allow optimized crossover. Illustrator is frequently used alongside Adobe Photoshop (a program with a similar but distinct function) and Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, video editing programs that utilize Illustrator to create animated effects.

Read more about what Illustrator is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Illustrator?

Illustrator is a vector graphics design tool that lets users create their own illustrations. Using points, lines, shapes, and text, the program lets users build vector graphics illustrations designed to be infinitely scalable, letting users resize them at will. Therefore, Illustrator is ideal for drawing images that will be mass-produced and placed in multiple contexts, such as art prints, company logos, branded merchandise, official letterhead seals, and many other uses. Illustrator lets users build an image once and repurpose it on everything from water bottles to billboards.

Using Illustrator, creatives can build recognizable logos and iconography to help define a client’s brand identity. The most common uses of Illustrator are within the graphic design and advertising industries, though other industries, such as the fashion industry, have their uses for Illustrator. In these professional settings, users can construct illustrations that quickly and effectively convey meaning and help consumers recognize the products being sold. Almost all product packaging is made using vector graphics, meaning that almost every company selling a product to consumers will use Illustrator.

For non-professionals or aspiring entrepreneurs, learning InDesign can help users build their online identities. Small business owners, crafters looking to break into Etsy, local musicians looking to sell decals, or even activists wanting to build memorable logos and signage for their organization all benefit from learning Illustrator. Quick, efficient graphic communication is vital across many fields, and Illustrator can make building these graphic designs faster and more efficient.

Is Illustrator Easy to Learn?

Like the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud products, Illustrator is a program that is easy to learn and challenging to master. It has become an industry-standard tool partly because it is user-friendly enough that novices can pick it up in a day but still deep enough in its functions that multi-day training courses only scratch the surface of what is possible with the program. Illustrator will be easier or harder to master depending on a student’s aspirations with the program.

While self-teaching is possible, guiding instruction is often a much better route to avoid common pitfalls among new users. Noble Desktop offers a novice-friendly Illustrator in a Day course that teaches students how to build lines, use colors, and manipulate shapes to create vibrant but simple vector designs after only one day with the program. This course will ease students into navigating the interface and provide basic instruction on the more technical aspects of the program, such as how to import files and what kinds of files are suitable for use in Illustrator.

For students looking for more advanced instruction in Adobe Illustrator, Noble offers an Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp, which covers the basic functionalities of the program before giving students hands-on experience creating more complex illustrations. Thanks to professional instructors, students can quickly learn how to use gradients and blends to create vibrant colors, use Illustrator to build fashionable clothing or branded shirts, and prepare designs to be printed and published on the web.

What to Know Before Learning Illustrator

Computer Skills and Access

Adobe Illustrator is not the most complicated program and aims to ease new users into the program, but a measure of computer literacy is still required to make the fullest use of the program. If you aren’t familiar with navigating computer interfaces, moving and saving files, or other basic computing knowledge, that might be an obstacle in learning how to work with Illustrator.

Additionally, while there is a seven-day free trial available for Illustrator, the program requires a licensing subscription through the Adobe Creative Cloud to access. This subscription comes with a monthly fee, so students wanting to learn Illustrator should be aware of the cost. Illustrator has a table application and is not an incredibly demanding program, but students should also know if their computer meets the hardware requirements.

Trends in Graphic Design

Students looking to parlay their Illustrator skills into a career should first familiarize themselves with the current trends in whichever industry in which they hope to work. Styles and expectations change rapidly, and what was popular a decade ago will now feel quaint and out of place. Thus, graphic designers need to have a basic knowledge of present trends within the advertising, digital design, UX/UI Design, or even animation industry, depending on what they see themselves doing with their training. This knowledge will be most visible in a designer’s sample portfolio, so knowing what contemporary designs look like is an important step leading up to the job search.

Theories of Visual Design

While Illustrator is a versatile creative tool, it only serves to make designing and illustrating easier. It can’t replace the most vital part of any creative process– a keen creative mind. As such, students looking to learn Illustrator will also want to learn the basics of composition theories and philosophies. A designer hoping to use graphics to communicate ideas should understand how images and text communicate ideas before they start. Noble Desktop’s Graphic Design Certificate program includes this an element of its curriculum,

Key Takeaways

Learn Illustrator with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers an array of Illustrator classes and bootcamps for students hoping to receive Illustrator training through a live online course. Noble’s Illustrator in a Day course offers introductory instruction in the basic functionalities of the program, such as the pen and pencil tool, the function of different layers and brushes, and the process of preparing a file for publication. This course is ideal for students who expect to work with Illustrator in the future but don’t imagine that they will do so every day or that they will need to engage with the complicated features of the program.

For students who do feel that they will need to work with the more advanced features of Illustrator, Noble’s Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp offers in-depth training in the tools that allow Illustrator to create complex and vibrant vector illustrations. Students will learn to work with masks, alter colors and gradients, and build custom patterns. They will also create practical sample designs such as T-shirts and signage to include in a design portfolio. These exercises mirror the projects that professional Graphic Designers undertake, and this course is an ideal place to learn how to use Illustrator professionally.

Aspiring career Graphic Designers can build their skills in many different design programs by enrolling in Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program. This program confers upon students a state-approved certificate in the mastery of Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Beyond learning the functionalities of these programs, students will receive lessons in theories of design and composition. They will work towards building various sample designs to be included as part of their sample portfolio as a prerequisite for completion. Students looking to expand their design skills further can enroll in Noble’s Digital Design Certificate program, which covers all of this information, plus lessons in user interface and web page design for digital publications.

These Design Certificate programs are career-focused courses that provide students with one-on-one career mentorship. As a student’s final project, they will build a sample design portfolio to showcase their skills to prospective employers. By the end of these programs, students will be prepared to enter the workforce in a new, high-paying career.