10 easy Illustrator tools to improve your designs

Join the Creative Side | 10 easy Adobe Illustrator tools to imrove your designs | Improve your Graphic Design skills with these 10 easy Adobe Illustrator tools to improve your Graphic Design skills.

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best graphic design software when it comes to designing your own logo and graphics. I use it for a couple of years now, and I am still in love with it.

But a lot of people ar afraid to take the leap in purchasing Adobe Illustrator because it looks too confusing. Can you relate? In this blog post, I will show you the top 10 easiest Illustrator tools to improve your designs. It even comes with video tutorials and a free 8-day email course that will teach you how you can design a professional brand for your blog.

Pen tool

A pen tool is a tool that allows you to create your own graphics. Whether it is a heart or a jar with candy, you can design it all! You almost literally draw your own graphics. The pen tool is also mostly used to design logo’s, printables, for creating patterns, etc.

Curvate tool

Are you having a hard time with creating curved lines with the pen tool? Then one of these Illustrator tools is perfectly for you: The curvate tool. This tool will automatically add curves to your path. So no drama with creating curves again!

 

White arrow tool

After you just created your graphic, you notice that one anchor point doesn’t look how it had supposed to. Are you going to do it again? Don’t think so huh? Now it is time for the white arrow tool. Click on the graphic, select the anchor point you want to adjust and move it around! Amazing right? And no it’s not magic. This also works with paths. Why don’t you try it yourself?

 

Lasso tool

You already probably figured out that you can select things by dragging a square. But what if we want to select another shape that doesn’t fit in the square? That is why Illustrator has a lasso tool. With one of these  Illustrator tools, you can draw a selection. I found this out a year after I started with using Adobe Illustrator, and I don’t want you to happen the same, haha.

 

Pathfinder

The pathfinder is one of the most amazing Adobe Illustrator tools. With this tool, you can cut out shapes, merge shapes, divide them, and a lot more. I use this Adobe Illustrator tool most of the time when I want to merge shapes or cut out things. I created a graphic here, that I also used in my other post:

Related: 25 Graphic Design tips/hacks for bloggers.

Gradient Mesh tool

Say hello to the most amazing gradient tool ever. With this, you can create gradients that adjust themselves to the shape you created. Yea that probably sounds really hard. Let me try to explain this Illustrator tool, and if you still don’t get it, you can watch the video down below.

After you created a shape, select the Gradient Mesh tool, and then click somewhere on your Graphic. Now you probably see a weird misshaped cross now with a little square (we call that an anchor point) in the middle. Now grab the white arrow tool, and then select the anchor point, and give it another fill color. Now it is a gradient. You can add as many squares as you want if you want to create a more detailed gradient.

Image Trace

A lot of graphic designers hate this Adobe Illustrator tool, but it actually is really handy. If you just want to trace a logo, (for example twitter to design your own share buttons) you can just insert the image, and then click image trace. The image tracer will automatically trace the logo. Now click expand, and ungroup, and you can move the part around that you want. Just delete the unneeded parts, and tadá, this is how you create your own share buttons the easiest way.

 

 

Note: Some logos are not allowed to be traced. I don’t trace social media logos for commercial use, but just to create my own custom share buttons. If you don’t know for sure, ask people if you may trace their logo.

 

Clipping Mask

Ever wondered how people created a picture in a circle, star or another shape? Well here is your answer. The clipping mask tool. With this Illustrator tool, you can also ‘’cut out’’ thing in the shape that you want, but just a little different. First, you need to create the shape. Whether it is a cupcake or a circle, It is all possible. If you have 2 separate shapes, make sure to merge them first with the Pathfinder tool

After you created the shape, insert an image or a graphic. Place the shape on top. Next, select them both, and go to Object>Clipping Mask>Make. (my screen recorder won’t show the menu 🙁 Sorry!) Now you know the secret of creating different shaped pictures. Psst, don’t tell anyone. Hahaha actually, you should tell anyone because more people need to know about these Illustrator tools.

 

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Blend tool

Did you ever created 2 different shapes and you were like: If I only could think about a shape that is between those shapes. Hello, Blend Tool! With this tool, you can create 2 different graphics. Next, select them both, click on the blend tool, and they create a kind of gradient from the one shape to the other one. Double click on the tool, and select the specific steps option, and fill in the steps that you want. Go to object> expand. Now they are all converted to different, editable shaped. Select the shape you like the most of them and tada! Amazing right?

 

Touch type tool

Every Graphic Designer has probably a passion for fonts. We don’t download movies or games, we download fonts (That’s what my boyfriend said once haha). So when you download those amazing free fonts, there is always a little pain in the *beep*: Bad kerning! If you really pay attention to that, you see bad kerning everywhere (unfortunately). So how can you fix that you probably asking? With the touch type tool my friend! With one of these amazing Illustrator  tools, you can select each letter of a word, and move it around. Fixing bad kerning has never been easier.

 

Related: Why I don’t use Canva, and neither should you…

So if you really want to stand out, get rid of Canva, and start designing your own amazing graphics with Adobe Illustrator*.

Psssst. Do you want to develop your Graphic Design skills even more? My favorite teaching platform Skillshare offers 2 free months of premium (worth $30)  if you sign up through this link.

I hope I could inform you enough about these amazing Adobe Illustrator tools, and as you see, it’s easier than you probably thought.

What are your favorite Adobe Illustrator tools?

Don’t forget to spread the love by sharing and tweeting this post! It would make me really happy 🙂

Lots of love,

Chelsea

Author: Join the creative side

Chelsea van Egmond is a creative girl boss who is specialized in shooting professional photos (With both an iPhone and DSLR), hand-lettering and Bullet Journaling. She also runs a blog called Join the Creative Side where she teaches bloggers and entrepreneurs how they can improve their photography and graphic design skills even if they don’t have any experience or a big budget. Her #1 mission: To help you build your visual story/brand.