Tips and Tricks for Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator and InDesign Edition

Tips and Tricks for Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator and InDesign Edition

By: alexbrz
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Alex Brzezinski, a senior Communication Co-op student, knows a lot about using Adobe Creative Suite. In her last article, Alex gave us some tried and true tips for easing your way into Photoshop. This week, she tackles a few Illustrator and InDesign insider tips to simplify your design process. 



Image Resizing: If you want an image’s proportions to resize equally when making it bigger or smaller, hold down Alt and Shift at the same time and then resize the image.

Pen tool: This tool is difficult to get the hang of, but easy to use once you have. And it’s worth the practice! Use the pen tool to trace images. The best part is that the pen tool creates a vector path, which means that the image you trace can be as small or as big as you want and it won’t get pixilated. Here’s how to use the pen tool, and some tips you don’t find on YouTube tutorials:

1. Upload an image into one layer. Lock that layer, and then create a new one to trace in.

2. Click the pen tool (or press p) and, going clockwise, make points around the image.

Tip: Keep a stroke colour, but get rid of the fill colour

Trick: Always make your first point on a corner. The image will be easier to trace.

3. The pen tool automatically makes straight lines. When you come to a curve put points on either side of the curve and one in the middle. When you’ve gone around your image, click on your first point to create a closed path.

Tip: Don’t edit your points until you’ve closed the path. It’s easier than editing as you’re creating the path.

Tracing Eiffel Tower

4. Curve the straight lines. Select the pen tool (p) and then hover over the point in the middle of the curve until you see a minus sign (-) appear. Hold down Alt, and your cursor will turn into an upside down V. Still holding down Alt, click the point and drag your mouse to the side to stretch out the curve.

Tip: As you stretch your curve two lines with points at the end will appear. Don’t let them overlap with the points on either side of the curve. This will warp your line.

4. You can remove points by selecting the pen tool (p) and clicking an existing point. To add points, select the pen tool (p) and hover the cursor over the path until the (+) sign appears, then click.

Tip: Your final path should use as few points as possible. This will help you avoid overlapping curves and warped lines.

Traced Eiffel Tower



Document Margins: When you create a new document there is an even sized border around it. This is fine for essays, but if you’re creating a magazine spread or a print ad it isn’t the most visually appealing design. The most visually appealing margins are:

  • A single page document: The top margin is the smallest, the side margins are equal, and the bottom margin is the largest. 
Single Page
  • A multi-page document (like a magazine): The top margin is smallest, the inside margin is larger than the top margin, the outside margin is larger than the inside margin, and the bottom margin is the largest.

 Double Page

If you want more tips and tricks, or to learn more about the programs, here are some excellent sources you can use:

While Google and YouTube can be helpful sources (they have helped me many times), be wary when you use them. Some of the tutorials are done by people who cut corners and are sloppy with their designs. The more you know about the program tools, the easier it will be to avoid these tutorials.

Hopefully these tips will help you create great designs! For Photoshop tips, check out my first article, Tips and Tricks for Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop Edition.

Posted on July 18, 2014