4 Illustrator Hacks You Didn’t Know You Needed

EASY-PEASY DESIGN TRICKS

Whether you’ve been using Adobe Illustrator for years or are just getting started with it, you might not know about these often overlooked functions that can help take hours off of any given project.

Check out these four Adobe Illustrator hacks to make your next project a breeze, while allowing you to still get that good spot for your five o’clock exercise class.

Copy & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste & Paste

Let’s say you’ve created a selection that you want to paste repeatedly in multiple areas of your project. Yes, we all know about > Command-C and > Command-V…But really, how fun is it to keep scrolling back to the same content to copy…. and then scrolling back to your new spot to paste? Pretty much less fun than visiting the emergency room after showing your co-workers your side plank on top of that exercise ball you use as your desk chair.

Next time you want to copy and paste the same content repeatedly, choose Select > Save Selection. Name your selection something clever so that you can reselect it at any time from the Select Menu, and conveniently paste that selection into as many parts of your project as you need to, without losing your data.

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Erasing In A Straight Line

Your newest project involves some majestic free-form design work. It’s got some rough edges, though, and your scheme requires some clean lines. You’re ready to start erasing using the free-form eraser tool, but quickly realize you forgot your morning triple shot cappuccino and you’ve got the shakes.

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Before you reach for that can (or cup) of liquid fuel, here’s an option that won’t jar your nervous system. You can easily erase in a straight line in Illustrator by pressing and holding the Shift Key before you start dragging with the eraser. Problem solved.

Creating Color Harmonies

You may not be able to create harmony amongst your family or rival sports fans, but you can do your part to promote world harmony through your designs. Check out this little hack to make them think you spent an entire afternoon contemplating complimentary hues.

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To create an instant color harmony based on a single color, choose color harmonies from the Color Guide Panel. What may have taken hours before, you can now accomplish in 37 seconds.

Converting Text to Outlines

If you’ve been in the business long enough, you’ve likely run into this situation: you’ve just finished your design work and sent it off at 4:50 p.m. At 5:05 p.m., you get a call to let you know they don’t have the font you used, but you’re on your exercise mat, leg warmers on. You don’t get the message until the next day and you now can’t meet your deadline.

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You can easily avoid this situation in the future by converting text to outlines by right clicking the selected text and choosing Convert to Outlines for press-ready artwork. By converting text to outlines, it eliminates the need to send font files along with the Illustrator file when sharing with others. Before getting too hasty with this neat hack, though, keep in mind that converting to outlines is a one-way street. This means you’ll be unable to go back to regular fonts after converting. Make sure you’re working from a COPY of your document so that you can easily get the original text back if necessary.

Save yourself some time and frustration – don’t work harder, work smarter with these easy-peasy design tricks.

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Unique Forms For You

Your business is like no other, and the forms you use every day should reflect that.

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Add Pizazz
Keep your branding vibrant with forms that are full of color. There’s no reason your forms need to be boring.
Size Matters
Whether you need small, half-size, or oversized forms, we can create the right size form for your unique needs.
Carbonless Parts
Two- and three-part carbonless forms are the most common, but we can also create more parts if you need them. Need four parts? No problem.
No matter what kind of forms you need, we will make sure your forms are a true reflection of your brand.

Sell With Words That Inspire

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

You’ve just created the most ingenious product that the world has ever seen. It simultaneously makes you lose weight, look younger, have the energy of a two-year-old, all while converting your trash into $100 bills. You’ve created a sales page for your product, with a picture of the product and the words, “A great tool for everyone.” But, the response…well, the silence is deafening. You scratch your head in wonder.

What’s missing on your sales page is, well, a lot actually. Writing sales copy is both an art and a science. Before you put your pen to paper or start tapping on the keyboard, you need to have a solid understanding regarding these three things:

  1. What your product or service does, especially the benefits to the customer.
  2. What sets your product or service apart from the competition?
  3. Who your customer is, particularly what they want in life and how they spend their time.

Truly understanding these three things will make the rest of your job much simpler and help you as you navigate your way through the sales progression.

The Sales Progression

Every piece of sales copy worth its salt, regardless of the medium, has three phases:

  • Grabbers: get the undivided attention of your audience.
  • Description & Benefits: make them physically crave what your product or service can do.
  • Clinchers: get them falling all over themselves to make a purchase.

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Within each of these phases, you want to maximize the impact of your words because people lose interest fast. We’ve gathered some tried and true formulas for making your words count. Let’s take a look.

Grabbers

Because shooting your prospects with a squirt gun isn’t always an option for getting their attention, try one of these:

  • Introducing _________!
  • Exclusive offer for ___________ members only
  • Free _____________!
  • Save up to ___________ %

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Descriptions & Benefits

Here is where you make your prospects really fall in love with your product by telling them how amazing their lives will be if they buy it.

  • Poignant, memorable, your ticket to ___________
  • Grow your _____________
  • Boost your ____________
  • Take control of ___________

Clinchers

This phase is essentially where you want to include a call to action – tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do. More often than not, they’ll do it.

  • All this can be yours.
  • Want to save even more?
  • Here’s how to get started.
  • Why wait another day?

The Takeaway

The key to moving your products off the shelves is using your understanding of your product and your customers to choose impactful words that will grab their interest and make them fall in love with your product.

Wide-Format Printing

When you want your brand to stand out, consider going big! Really big! Wide-format printing allows us to create larger-than-life projects for you to fit almost any occasion.

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New Product
Launching a new product? Use a high-quality banner to announce your new items and promotions. Banners are not just for outdoor use. Get creative! Hang them in lobbies, from balconies, or your entryway ceiling.
POP Displays
Point-of-purchase displays of a grand design are an easy task with wide-format printing. Create life-size images on heavy foam core to bring dimension and attention to your products.

Unique Folds
Imagine their surprise when a customer unfolds your brochure only to have it unfold again and again as it accordions out to reveal an extra-long page of beautifully colored information.

Posters
Feature your products as framed works of art or hang them on your walls as large color posters.
From vehicle magnets to a life-size cutout of your employee of the year, there are endless uses for wide format print technology.

Printing Considerations for Envelopes

CREATE THE BEST COVER-UP

An envelope can be so much more than simply a covering of some sort for your correspondence. The right envelope can instantly convey a wealth of ideas before its intended recipient even opens it up. The next time you’re working on choosing the right envelope for your marketing, keep the following considerations in mind.
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Envelopes: The Making of…

Knowing what type of envelope will best fit your needs starts with an understanding of how they’re made. Envelopes start as flat paper and go through the envelope conversion process to become an envelope. The flat paper is cut to the right shape, an adhesive is applied to the envelope flap, and the paper is folded and glued to take the final form of the envelope. Printing the envelope after the envelope conversion process is an economical way to purchase envelopes, but limits the design options for the envelopes. Printing the envelope before the conversion process allows for the greatest amount of creativity.

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Make Your Envelopes Stand Out

Printing envelopes before the conversion process offers a fantastic way to grab your customers’ attention. Try adding some special effects to your envelopes like printing envelopes emblazoned with graphics on the outside, print on the inside of the envelope, or even simply print your envelopes in four-color. Little additions like these can make a huge impact.

Solutions for Differing Budgets

As with any order, it’s important to weigh where the cost breaks are and what techniques are more cost effective than others. Large runs of 5,000 or more envelopes could lend themselves to customizing envelopes with engraving, printing and embossing. Even though this process is both more expensive and time-consuming, its costs could fall enough so that the project falls within your budget and you’d get the benefit of an impactful first impression. For smaller runs, the benefit versus cost of customization would need to weighed, since smaller runs of customized envelopes would not be as cost effective.

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When Designing Envelopes, Keep Postal Regulations in Mind
Nothing would be worse than a beautiful envelope that the post office won’t mail! You’ll need to limit the use of both the return address information and any graphics to the envelope’s upper left corner in order to meet the regulations of the post office. Also, the envelope’s face needs to be left blank. This allows the post office to include any necessary information and provides a place to add the recipient’s address. Be sure to double check the mailing regulations or ask before ordering your envelopes.
If printing envelopes after the conversion process, one thing to keep in mind is that when designing your envelopes a clear area of 3/8-inch at the top of a pre-made envelope should be built in to provide the space needed to pull the envelope through the press when it’s being printed.
Knowing these considerations prior to making a decision can help you choose the envelope design that best meets your needs and your budget.

The Risk of Over Designing

IN GRAPHIC DESIGN, LESS REALLY IS MORE

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Simplicity is often seen, but it’s a concept that is not easily explained. For some graphic designers, it’s second nature. For others, it involves much forethought. Today’s designers are trending toward more simple, clutter-free designs, as they return to simplicity. Here are some examples of how the traditional theme of less is more is used:

Advertising
Not only can simple ads grab attention, but their short and to the point messages are also easier to comprehend. The concept of “less is more” is especially effective when writing ad copy.

Catalogs and Brochures
Catalogs and brochures are expected to be a vast source of information, yet readers appreciate when they are simplified, organized, and easy to read and comprehend. Simplicity is often its own reward since it encourages increased use.

Packaging
Like a poster, a package needs to attract the eye within seconds of its initial viewing. In recent years, shelves have been jammed with products whose designers have attempted to out-design one another. This gives simple package designs featuring primary colors, bold copy, white space, and clean design the ability to effectively break through the clutter.

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Identity
Not only do logos convey the personality of a company, but they also offer a memorable impression. Simple designs that incorporate a company’s complex ideas are the root of a logo’s power.

One of the perks of being a designer is the ability to develop a personality or character for a company or product. For designers, simplicity means a return to basics, but not at the expense of creative design.

Take a Lesson from Disney

BE OUR GUEST

If you visit any one of the Disney Corporation’s facilities, you have experienced a phenomenon they call “Onstage and Backstage.” It’s quite a simple concept, and one that Disney has definitely perfected. The “Onstage” area refers to anywhere that guests may roam freely, while “Backstage” is where the cast members (employees) travel from one part of the park to another, take “Disney-free” breaks, and get into costume. For Disney, the separation between onstage and backstage is essential in maintaining the magical feel of their facilities.

Your company most likely has a similar onstage (customer area) and backstage (production area) structure. And while your employees may not use your “backstage” area to don their Mickey or Minnie Mouse costumes, there are things that go on behind the scenes that most of your customers are not privileged to see.

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That is, of course, unless you offer to take your customers on a tour of your facility. At most Disney facilities, visitors can take a ride backstage to see some of the inner workings of the magical world. The same can be done at your business. Allowing your customers a peek at the inner workings of your company and introducing them to your staff will improve your relationship with them. And, showing them any impressive machinery or workflow systems you have in place will increase their confidence in the work you do for them.

Take a lesson from the Disney Corporation and see what kind of response you get from offering backstage tours of your company. You may be surprised to see how many people would be interested in getting to know your company better, and the effect their knowledge can have on furthering your relationship with them.