Happy Monday, friends! I have been busy putting together my portfolio over the last few weeks, which is always so much harder than I anticipate! I have sorted through all of my work, and curated a selection that will *hopefully* attract some good clients.
Through this process, I thought I would let you guys in on an Adobe Illustrator trick that I have found so useful as of late — Illustrator templates (.ait). I haven’t incorporated Illustrator templates into my process much before, but I am finding a place for them now. Without further ado, here are a few features of templates that I find most useful.
Stay tuned for the end of this post, to get a FREE bonus video tutorial look into how I utilize Illustrator templates for my blog.
Various artboard dimensions
The most useful attribute of Illustrator templates for me has been the use of various artboards. For my upcoming portfolio website, I have three images (each a different size) for each portfolio piece: Thumbnail, hero image, and main portfolio image. To make life easy, I created a template (see image below) with these various sizes already established, and ready to go! So whenever I need to create a new portfolio page, I click File > New from Template, and then select my portfolio template.
Consistent Color Palette
I have a specific color palette for Spruce Rd. branding. For my Illustrator blog + portfolio template, I have those specific colors already added to the color swatches. This helps maintain consistency throughout my blog, as well as saves time from referencing previous blog post designs for a specific color. I also have a different color palette added to my portfolio template, for neutral backgrounds to add behind design mockups/portfolio images.
To establish your own color palette, you create a group of your swatches, then click the lower left icon in the swatches palette (Swatch Libraries Menu), and click "Save Swatches" to your Illustrator swatches folder. Once the swatches are saved, you will be able to add them to any Illustrator file by navigating to the “Swatch Libraries Menu”, and clicking “User Defined," near the bottom, to find your color palette.
Guides for center alignment
Another simple reason why I love Illustrator templates is that I create guides for the horizontal + vertical center of the art board. I don’t always need to reference these, but it is nice to have just in case.
Consistent typography + graphic elements
I haven’t used Illustrator templates that long, but I would like to set some up for branding mockups to send to clients. I could easily add stationery mockups, t-shirts, letterheads, etc as a symbol in my Illustrator template.
Another advantage of the template is that it maintains consistent typography, throughout your blog posts, portfolio, etc. I have incorporated a typography lockup for my “pattern play” blog post series (see above template), where the title bar + number remain the same styling throughout the various posts. This again helps maintain consistency across your blog, while also saving you time!
Easy to update
Once you have an Illustrator template created, it is easy to update as needed. If you change the layout, add colors, or additional artboards, you simply just save over the existing template. As you begin to refine your template the more you use it, you can simply update it as you go.
I hope this was useful for you! Let me know if you have any tricks that increase efficiency or productivity.