Understanding Vector Shapes in Illustrator

"Wireframing with Illustrator and InDesign"

When I posted “Wireframing with Illustrator and InDesign”, several people asked about my Illustrator techniques.

The simple truth is that I’ve used Illustrator a lot over the past decade and have learned a quick key for virtually everything I produce, whether it’s logos, wireframes, or full-fledged interface designs. If there aren’t quick keys for some frequently performed task, I will often create my own.

If you’re new to Illustrator, don’t fret. I’m starting this post at the beginning, so even if your goal is not to get blazing fast, you’ll still get a solid understanding of the basics.

Understanding Vector Shapes

Before we jump in too deep, you need to have a basic understanding of vector shapes, points, paths, and the tools used to manipulate them.

First, we’re going to draw a square in Illustrator. To do this, hit the M key on your keyboard. This is the quick key for selecting the rectangle tool. If you’re going to use Illustrator and want to get fast and furious with it, you must learn this quick key along with all of the others I subsequently mention. Don’t you dare go clicking on that tool panel without trying to remember the quick key first.

Alright, now that the rectangle tool is selected with the M key, you have two options for drawing a rectangle.

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