Adobe Illustrator CC - Print Design for Beginners
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Adobe Illustrator CC - Print Design for Beginners

A hands-on approach to creating engaging designs for print using Adobe Illustrator CC covering all of the basics.
4.4 (38 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
157 students enrolled
Created by Jason Hill
Last updated 3/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 12 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • create a project from scratch and understand the important aspects that need consideration from the beginning.
  • manage art boards and leverage efficient methods for print design.
  • manage files including fonts, images, colors, and production files.
  • understand proficient workflows to begin, process, and complete a print-design project.
  • correctly place images in a file and manipulate those images to conform to the intended design.
  • troubleshoot file linkage issues that can result in projects with various embedded files.
  • manipulate anchor points to ensure fidelity and perfection in design
  • consistently use the pen tool to create perfect shapes for their design.
  • understand vector graphics and the value they offer in your designs.
  • recognize the value in using layers in their projects.
  • arrange content on an a page in a manner that is pleasing to the eye.
  • efficiently place content on the art board to ensure a smooth workflow.
  • create perfectly symmetrical designs.
  • understand and use clipping masks and compound paths.
  • package up the project to deliver to a printing service.
  • trace images to convert them to vector graphics for editing.
View Curriculum
  • Students will need a copy of Adobe Illustrator CC installed. This can be the paid version or Adobe's 30 day trial. I will go through the process of installing Illustrator, but feel free to skip that lecture if you already have it.
  • My lectures take place on a Mac, but I give keyboard shortcuts for the PC, so everybody can benefit.

In this course we'll discover the fundamental tools and best practices that are crucial for your success in Adobe Illustrator. Our efforts will culminate with focus on real-world projects designed for printing.

Master Illustrator's Essential Tools and Panels Using In-Depth Application

  • Learn how to use the Pen Tool to create amazing artwork
  • Create wonderful text using the Type Tool and Character Panel
  • Understand the power and efficiency of layers in your workflow

Discover Powerful Techniques to Improve Your Artwork

We'll learn how to trace images, so that we can scale them to any size without losing quality. We'll also look at methods to obtain perfect symmetry when tracing mirrored objects. You'll also discover how to clean up your artwork with Compound Paths and Clipping Masks, which will help produce higher-quality deliverables for your clients.

We'll also learn how to avoid design mistakes by recognizing common areas that tend to trip up Graphic Designers. You'll realize the value in transforming, copying, and arranging existing elements in a project to improve your proficiency in Adobe Illustrator.

I've built this course with a strong focus on the core tools that are essential to Adobe Illustrator. In the beginning of the course, we'll look at setting up a new document, editing our art boards, and enabling a key setting that affects an object's outline.

We'll then take an in-depth look at the most commonly used tools in Illustrator. Pay close attention to the Pen Tool lectures - understanding this powerful tool will unlock your creative potential in Illustrator. After learning these tools, we'll discover the editing panels that help you fine-tune your designs. I'll then share with you some helpful tips and tricks that will make your creative life much simpler. Each of these sections conclude with a three-question quiz.

We'll finish this course by building real-world creative pieces including, posters, coupons, and business cards. You'll walk away with a firm foundation in Adobe Illustrator on which you can continue building your success as a Graphic Designer.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for newbies that want to use Illustrator to create engaging designs for print materials.
  • This course is also great for people who have experience with Photoshop, but need some help with the transition to Illustrator.
  • This course may give intermediate users some helpful techniques to make their workflows more efficient, but advanced users should move along.
Compare to Other Adobe Illustrator Courses
Curriculum For This Course
55 Lectures
Adobe Illustrator CC - It's a Whole Lot of Awesome!
3 Lectures 04:29

Jason Hill has been utilizing the powerful tools in Adobe Illustrator for over 6 years to create engaging print materials including advertisements, baby announcements, family photo collages, PDF forms, and much more. The majority of his work has been for a company called Which Wich, - a company based in Dallas, Texas that specializes in creating Superior Sandwiches. The materials that Jason has created for this company include promotional advertisements that are circulated in a variety of marketing channels, seasonal decorations that promote limited-time offerings, and permanently-mounted circular discs (called 'vibes') that are displayed in stores throughout the world to depict the energy and excitement associated with a particular location.

Jason also works full time as a system administrator for a major university in the western United States. This vast experience combined with his love for teaching others makes Jason an excellence source of knowledge to begin your journey as a graphic designer.

Preview 01:29

Using Adobe Illustrator to create detailed print graphics has become very popular among designers due to its powerful editing tools, fundamental use of layers, and various methods for exporting finished content. Increasingly, print shops are preferring content to be packed up for printing using Illustrator as the creation source.

Preview 01:34

Each lecture will demonstrate crucial aspects of a specific tool available for use, the intended use for the tool, and how to most efficiently leverage that tool for a stellar deliverable. As the course progresses, you'll learn how to use these tools in a proficient workflow that maximizes your time and efficiency. At the end of some lectures you'll have practice materials provided that you will be expected to use to practice the things you've learned. We'll put it all together at the end to create a few different design pieces that incorporates all of the material you've learned!

Preview 01:26
Here We GO!
5 Lectures 14:38

If you already have Adobe Illustrator CC installed on your computer, skip this video.

This video walks the user through obtaining and Adobe ID, downloading and installing Adobe Illustrator CC, and launching the application from the Creative Cloud access panel. Yay! You're on your way!

Preview 02:23

Jump into Adobe Illustrator CC and set up a new document using the Print profile and your choice of measurement units (inches, millimeters, points, etc.). Also, make sure you're working in CMYK mode with High (300 ppi) Raster Effects.

Setting Up A New Document

Let's take a quick look at the Adobe Illustrator CC User Interface. We'll look at the art board, the tools panel, and the other panels on the right-hand side.

Preview 03:33

An art board is the visible space for you project. When you export a project as a PDF, for example, only elements that are on the art board(s) will appear in the PDF. An art board can be virtually any size you desire. Typically you will set the dimensions of the dartboard based on the size of the finished product; your client, a vendor, or a printing service may provide you with specific instructions for sizing the art boards.

Art boards

Make sure you enable the 'Scale Strokes & Effects' setting in the General Preferences dialogue window.

Scale Strokes & Effects Setting

What do you remember from the videos so far?

Section 1 Quiz
3 questions
13 Lectures 01:39:30

This lecture is just a really quick overview of the Tools panel.

Tools Overview

The Selection Tool enables to you to select whole objects. You can click on individual objects to select them one at a time, or you can click and drag over multiple objects to select many at a time. The Direct Selection Tool enables you to select specific pieces of an object, typically anchor points that you can manipulate for fine-tuning your edits. You'll definitely use the Direct Selection Tool in conjunction with the Pen Tool (see the 'Pen Tool' and 'Pen Tool + & - Anchor Points' lectures).

Selection & Direct Selection Tools

The rectangle tool is the most basic object creation tool in Illustrator. Easily create perfect squares and rectangles.

The Rectangle Tool

The Rounded Rectangle Tool does just what you would imagine, it enables you to create squares and rectangles with rounded corners.

The Rounded Rectangle Tool

'Ellipse' is just the technical word for circles and/or ovals. The Ellipse Tool enables you to create both.

The Ellipse Tool

Easily create starts, triangles, and other multi-sided shapes with these two tools.

Star and Polygon Tools

The Pen Tool is by far the most powerful tool in your Illustrator arsenal. Practice makes perfect when using the pen tool, so spend as much time as needed to master this amazing tool.

Preview 16:39

Adding and removing anchor points on paths is an essential method to ensure you have the cleanest artwork in your project. Use the least amount of anchor points as possible when tracing objects or creating objects from scratch.

Pen Tool + & - Anchor Points

Text in Illustrator is unlike anything you've seen before. Harness the power of the Type tool and set your text exactly where you want it.

Type Tool

Learn how to type on a path, type vertically, and others.

Type Tool - Others

The line segment tool allows you to create perfectly straight lines. Hold down the shift key to constrain the lines to 45° angles. The other tools in this group make it easy to create arcs, spirals, rectangle grids, and polar grids.

Line Segment Tool and Others

Layers make your workflow incredibly more proficient. You'll learn how to hide and lock layers, edit their names, and change their colors. Understanding layers is essential for great organization.

Preview 12:02

When a colleague sends you a file he/she created, sometimes you don't have the same fonts installed on your computer. What do you do then?

When Fonts Are Missing

Tools Quiz
3 questions
9 Lectures 01:22:47

We'll take a high-level look at the panels on the right-hand side of the interface to help guide you as we dive deeper into each panel in the following lectures.

Overview of the Panels section

The stroke panel is used to add outlines to your objects. Options in the stroke panel include the weight (how thick the outline is), end-caps (rounded or flat ends), corners (rounded, sharp, or beveled), and stroke alignment (inside / outside the perimeter, or riding the middle). The stroke panel also gives you options for dashed lines and arrows for the ends of line segments.

The Stroke Panel

The gradient panel works in conjunction with the gradient tool. A gradient has at least two colors on opposite ends of a spectrum. The colors converge together to crate a fade. You can fade from one color to multiple colors and control the amount of fade easily with the panel settings and the gradient tool.

The Gradient Panel

The Transform Panel enables you to specify the location of objects on the art board and edit the width and height for these objects. When operating this panel, pay close attention to the Reference Point map. The point that is selected on this map indicates the origin from which the edits will occur.

Transform Panel

The Align Panel helps you precisely align objects to other objects on the art board, or to the art board itself. You can align objects based on the following reference points: left, horizontal middle, right, top, vertical middle, and bottom. The Align Panel also includes distribution tools that help you distribute object evenly on the art board or in a specified area.

Align Panel

The Pathfinder Panel allows you to join objects together, use one object to cut space out of another object, or cut out the area where multiple objects intersect.

Pathfinder Panel

Editing text in Adobe Illustrator is super powerful. The Character Panel has many settings that allow you to be as precise as needed when placing text on the art board. The Paragraph Panel has seven different options for you to select from when deciding how your text should flow.

Character & Paragraph Panels

The Swatches and Color Panels are integral to any design you'll do in Adobe Illustrator. Use the swatch panel select pre-defined colors, or swatches. Use the color panel to manually create custom colors.

Swatches & Color Panels

The Transparency Panel allows you to edit the opacity of an object. 100% opacity is completely solid (opaque). 0% opacity is completely see-through (transparent). The Libraries Panel is a great place to store commonly used objects, like logos, mission statements, swatches, etc.

Transparency & Libraries Panels

Panels Quiz
3 questions
Tips and Tricks
10 Lectures 01:02:58

The Transform menu item has several options to help you manipulate an element. Rotate and Reflect are the most commonly used. Let's take a quick look.

  • Object -> Transform -> Rotate
  • Object -> Transform -> Reflect
  • Or right-click directly on the element
Transforming Elements

Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, and Send to Back are options found in the Arrange Menu item. They work much like layers, and they're super helpful! Let's take a quick look.

  • Object -> Arrange
  • Or right-click directly on the element
Arranging Elements

Compound Paths are used you when you want to remove a section of an object. Think of a doughnut with the center cut out. Without a compound path, you would have to change to color of the 'hole' to match the background that the doughnut rests on.

Compound Paths

Adding images to Illustrator is very easy. Choose 'File' and then 'Place.' Select the image you want and then place it on the art board where you want. Pay close attention to the location of the image file in relation to your Illustrator. If you move the image file, you'll have to relink it in Illustrator, so that Illustrator knows where it is.

Placing an Image

Tracing images is a very common task when you need to scale artwork, repair logos, or change the colors for illustrations. When tracing images, it is important to use the least amount of anchor as possible. I show you the proper techniques to ensure the greatest fidelity between your source file and your vector file.

Tracing Images

When the left half is supposed to look identical to the right half, or the top half is supposed to look identical to the bottom half, you're better served to create only of the halves, copy it, reflect it, and then join the two halves to gather. I'll show you how to easily do this and save yourself a ton of time.

Symmetrical Tracing

Automatic Tracing is often necessary to get quick results when tracing images; however, there are a few caveats to be aware of when using automatic tracing. We'll look at what works and what doesn't and how to clean up the artwork.

Automatic Tracing

Clipping Masks are used when you want to remove a portion of a picture, but you don't want to actually edit the picture. It's kind of like cropping a picture, but you can be as specific as you want on what stays and what goes.

Clipping Masks

Backgrounds are essential, but it's important to not go crazy. Let's take a look at creating two simple backgrounds from scratch.

Patterned Backgrounds

There are tons of resources available online. I'll show you how to search correctly for vector files that you can use in your projects. Beware, some files require payment, but so many are free. Chances are that you will always find something that you can use in your projects.

Finding Resources

Tips and Tricks
3 questions
9 Lectures 01:13:12

A Baby Announcement is a very popular way to share the news of a new arrival. We'll place four images, text, and some decorations against a pink background.

Preview 15:14

This is a party invitation that combines many of the elements we've already learned. I've also included the Alex-Brush font, which is a free open source font for you to install and use.

Party Invitation

We'll look at creating a business card. There are severals things to take into consideration when designing a business card, but there is also a lot of leeway as you can be as creative as you want when creating business cards. I've provide the source file that includes my business logo. Please only use it for learning purposes. Thanks!

Business Card

In this lecture, I'll show you have to use barcodes on coupons. You can create many different types of barcodes, but always grab the .eps file for the one you use. The website that I use to create barcodes is

Barcodes should be used in conjunction with some sort of method to track the use of them. Typically, your client will provide you with the number you will use to create a barcode.

Coupon with Barcode

In this lecture I show you how to create a poster with a QR Code. QR Codes are popular in getting instant interaction with people. They're also incredibly easily to incorporate into any of your artwork. I use the following website to create QR Codes:

Poster with QR Code

In this lecture, I show you the process of creating a '2up Flyer,' which is creating the same advertisement twice on one page to get twice as much out of your prints.

2up Flyer

In this lecture, I show you the process of creating a '4up Flyer,' which is creating the same advertisement four times on one page.

4up Flyer

Forms are everywhere, and too many of them are just terrible to look at, let alone actually fill out. I show you what to consider when creating forms, so that you can create your own that look terrific. Always keep the experience of the end user in mind when creating forms.

Preview 06:45

This lecture explores the three major options for exporting artwork: PDF, JPEG, and PNG. Pay close attention to a few of the 'gotchas' noted in the video.

Export Options
BONUS: Packaging Deliverables
5 Lectures 09:04

Sometimes you can export your artwork as .jpg or .png file and send it to a printer. Other times, you'll have to send the original files (.ai or .eps files) and all of your assets to the printer. This latter method requires a little more work.

Exporting Artwork Overview

Some printers will ask you to include any special font files. Others will ask you to convert your text to outlines. Let's look at how to accomplish both of these tasks.

Include Fonts or Create Outlines?

If your printer is asking for original files, and you have linked images in your work, you better send him those images as well!

Include Your Images

Having your backgrounds fall off of the art board can actually be a good thing. When your sending source files to printer, they'll often print the portion of the canvas around the art board and then cut the print to the exact dimensions of the art board. this is so you don't have white edges. Bleeds are essential in these cases.


Some times it's better to be safe than sorry. Placement of objects on the art board is one of those times. A Safe Area is the area on the art board that the printer guarantees will be printed in whole, meaning when they cut it out, they don't cut into your artwork. Typically, you want to place all important artwork at least an 1/8th of inch inside the bounds of the art board.

Safe Areas
Thank You!
1 Lecture 00:43

Congratulations on finishing this course! I know that learning a new technology can be difficult and frustrating at times, but if you stick to it and practice, Illustrator will soon become second nature.

Look for opportunities that will give you exposure to Illustrator. Do you know somebody that will be graduating soon, or getting married, or having a baby? Offer to do their announcements, and create a truly memorable work of art for them. Feel free to refer back to these videos as often as you'd like.

Again, Congratulations! And THANK YOU!

Thank You For Taking This Course!
About the Instructor
Jason Hill
4.4 Average rating
38 Reviews
157 Students
1 Course
Freelance Graphic Designer

In January 2010, Jason landed an opportunity to work as Freelance Graphic Designer for Which Wich, Inc., a premier restaurant chain based out of Dallas, TX. In the years that have followed, Jason has designed the graphics for hundreds of "Vibes," circular graphics that are printed on magnetic material, mounted on metal plates, and then displayed on the walls of their locations throughout the world. Jason has also made a significant contribution to the marketing department of Which Wich by assisting in the creation of all types of advertisements and in-store graphics. Adobe Illustrator CC has been the tool of choice for Jason in all of his creative endeavors. Jason also enjoys creating many different types of print materials including baby announcement, flyers, forms, business cards, and research posters.

Jason graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Media in 2008 and a Master of Business Administration in 2014.