Assembly 10.10 [Industrial Design Layout]

“Graphic Layouts in Illustrator”


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This write-up is an overview of the process of creating a presentation board for an industrial design product.  This tutorial uses Adobe Illustrator to create the final poster layout.  Often, especially with multiple-board presentations, InDesign is a better choice.

  1. In Adobe Illustrator, create a new document with a 36-inch by 24-inch artboard (red rectangle below).  Set your bleed at 0.25 inches.  I suggest CMYK colorspace and 300 ppi (orange rectangle below).
  2. Open your layers window (Window>Layers) and create 3 layers.  Name them “Background, “Middleground,” and “Foreground.”
    • Note:  You can, of course, have more layers, this is just a guide to get started.
  3. Turn on your rulers by navigating to View>Rulers>Show Rulers.
  4. Following principals of good graphic design, establish guides for placing content within your 36×24 presentation space.  For compositional techniques, I suggest viewing Lecture 103 – Introduction to Photography and Lecture 111 – Structure + Organization.
  5. Use File>Place to bring in content as appropriate.  Below I have added both a rendering with a transparent background and a “sketch” drawing as elements in my presentation. (See Lecture 107 – Advanced Photoshop – Masking for help with making your render backgrounds transparent using masks.  Remember to save your work as a .png file to preserve transparency)
    • Note:  I assume that you already have content available to bring into this layout.  If you don’t yet have the content necessary, you should work on the content or continue below with “mock-up” content.
    • Download .zip package of “Mock-Up” content here.
  6. On the background layer, create a rectangle as large as the page.  Place a grunge texture or create one by following Illustrator 3.11 [custom background texture] and then applying it using Illustrator 3.10 [background texture].  The result should look similar to the image below.
  7. Paying careful attention to typography (see Lecture 110 – Introduction to Typography), create key text elements on the page.  If the type is black and below the object created in step 6, the effect will be similar to the look below.
  8. Adjust the transparency of elements as appropriate to make them fit within the hierarchy of visual elements.
  9. I chose to add a rectangle with a white to transparent gradient under the “sketch” drawing to better show it in contrast with the background.
  10. Add appropriate text elements to describe your “sketch” drawing using good typography and hierarchical elements.
  11. Add appropriate background imagery using compositional strategies to support your graphic elements.
  12. Look over your work and edit (add or subtract) elements as necessary to create a final product.
  13. Perform a test print to confirm colors appear as you wish.