I know the title is a bit click-baity but this tip will definitely help big time. There is no one correct way to create a logo in Adobe Illustrator but there are better and more efficient ways. Every Logo is its own unique challenge so the workflow I am going to outline here should not be considered the only way.
Whenever I am designing anything for a client or even a favour for a friend I always ask myself: can I change any part of the design at anytime.
Basically, pretend you are always working for the most demanding, fussy and indecisive client.
Imagine they might phone you up in 5 years time and ask if the corners of the logo could be rounder or can you adjust the line width, or change the colour of one shape etc. When you design with this in mind you approach the design process much differently.
This is of course called non-destructive editing but there are different levels to it.
In a nutshell my approach to designing a logo in Adobe Illustrator is extreme hoarding. I keep every little shape used to create the logo, I duplicate it and put it out of the way. It may seem obvious but it is easy to forget or disregard “its just a circle – I can always make a new circle” true, but these little things add up making big changes much more time-consuming.
Here is an Example:
This is clearly a mess of a logo and I designed it to be a good example of how to keep backups. As you can see below I have kept all the shapes used to make this logo but I also kept the shapes used to cut way and slice. So I even keep the things you don’t see.
With this file layout I could quickly recreate any part of the design. So if somebody said “I want more points on the middle star” or “I don’t like the thickness of the ring around the star” – I could quickly change it. Whilst I curse under my breath.
Things to consider:
- Separate art boards and layers for spare parts
- Alt + click + dragging will duplicate a shape very quickly
- Back ups at different levels of shape mergers
- Add notes and reminders
I added a little reminder with the arrow, this tells me that these two shapes made the outer ring. I might not remember if I open this file in the distant future.
Another reason I do this is because I am not as experienced with Illustrator as I am with Photoshop. I like to keep back-ups and see all of my work, this reduces any fear of making mistakes or bad design choices.
Related | My mammoth post on graphic design basics.
There is less pressure to get it right when you know you can go back to any stage of the process, at any time.
Vector files are incredibly small, the file in this demo was only 360kb. Adobe Illustrator files often take up very little room so go nuts and duplicate everything.
As I said in the beginning this just one example of one workflow so please don’t think this is the only way you must follow. I hope this little demonstration helps though.
You are probably already aware that you can group shapes together to keep things nice and organized, but you can also set up Illustrator to export your logos individually on bulk. There is a panel called the Asset Exporter here you can tell Illustrator what is an asset which then allows you to export your art board as separate images.
To define an asset either manually drag the group into the Asset Panel this will define your group/object as an asset. Or a much easier way is to select all the groups/objects and hit generate assets from selection. This only works if you have grouped your objects properly, otherwise Illustrator might have difficulty defining one object from another.
Now when you export your project you can select “Export for Screens” and export each asset individually with several variations such as size and file type.
Your Files will be organized in folders based on the parameters you have set. This looks much more professional and it also saves a lot of time.
So when the client says I don’t like the ___ on logo number __ you can quickly edit it and re-export the file without any unnecessary work.
Thanks for Reading.