If you're a new designer, and it's your first time opening Illustrator, it might be a tad overwhelming. I'm going to show you what all you'll find when you first open Illustrator, all the way up to to opening your first document.
I won't go too much into it here, but in order to have the newest version of Illustrator, you have to be a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud. It costs anywhere from $19-49 for an individual license, and the price varies for the Enterprise folks. One of the best things about the Cloud is that you also have access to (almost) the full suite of Adobe products. There are a few other products not included that I wish were, like Adobe Captivate, but overall, it gives you just about all the tools that you would need to design, no matter what field you are in. I may reserve a future post for those other applications, but for now, I'll keep the focus on Illustrator.
Illustrator Splash Screen
When you open Illustrator for the first time, you'll see this screen:
Personally, I am so glad that Adobe added this screen, and wish that I had this info when I first started learning to design.
You'll see four tabs at the top of this screen, and the default is always the New Features section. This is great for those who are up to date with the application, and use it on a regular basis. For new users, there's the Getting Started section. This is really helpful if it's your first time in the program. I recommend perusing some of the information here, as it will help you tremendously with learning some of the ins and outs of the program. The Tips & Techniques section focuses more on marketing, with some of the supplementary apps that Adobe is pushing to support your use of the application. But, nonetheless, it is still pretty good information, especially if you are new to the application. If you find that this screen is annoying, or unhelpful, you can always disable it by scrolling to the bottom, and selecting "Don't Show Welcome Screen Again."
Opening a New Document
There are a few different ways to open a new document. The first way is to use the Create tab on the Illustrator Splash screen.
I like this way best, because it gives you a quick view of your most recent files, as well as a few options for new documents based on the type of project you're working on.
The options that you choose here are pretty straightforward. Most of the time, I choose print or web document for most of my needs. You can always change most of these settings later if needed, so making sure they are perfect is not crucial at this step.
Depending on the option that you choose from here, a profile will be preselected. This is an example of what you'll see when you select Web Document:
If you get to the New Document screen by going to File > New, you'll see the same screen, just without the profile chosen for you. I won't talk about everything in this box, but I'll give a few details to know about for some of the more important sections.
Profile: The new Document screen will format differently based on what you select here. Mainly, the sizes that you have to choose from, and the color mode.
Number of Artboards: Artboards are one of my favorite features, and I will devote a specific blog post to them in the future. I recommend keeping this at one for now, it is really easy to add more after your document is created.
Size: The predefined options that you have here are based on what is most commonly chosen for that medium. For example, if you choose devices in the Profile section, you can choose from the most current mobile device sizes on the market today. Or, if you do not see the size you are looking for, you can enter a custom size.
Bleed: If you are creating this for a print document, this information might be important, depending on what type of printer you are using.
Color Mode: The differences between RGB and CMYK could keep us here for a while, so for now, just remember that CMYK is for print, RGB is for anything to be viewed on a screen.
When you are done setting up your document, click OK, and you are officially ready to get started!
That's it! You're ready to start creating! If you made it this far, thanks for reading!
In future Illustrator posts, I will break down different features of Illustrator one-by-one, and will show you some of my favorite features that I use on a regular basis.