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When you start a new document in Illustrator, you have to make some choices. When I choose File > New, the New Document dialog comes up. If I think I'm going to make a brochure, I'm going to give it a name. Under Profile, these are Document Profiles. I can choose from the list of options. My document is going to be headed toward print, so I'm going to choose Print. That means that my swatches are going to start out as CMYK. If I were to choose Web, my swatches start out as RGB. And that's also true for Devices, Video and Film and Basic RGB and Flash Builder.
So print is the only one that starts out thinking in CMYK. How many artboards do I want? Well, if it's a brochure I'm going to do the outside and the inside, so I'll need two artboards. The minute I choose more than one artboard then I have some options over here for how those artboards are going to be arranged. I usually just leave it at the default, Grid by Row, because I can always move my artboards later if I need to. Initially the spacing is 20 points, but maybe I'd rather think in inches. I can come over to the Units pulldown and choose Inches and now my spacing is expressed in inches.
Rather than type I'm just going to click in that Spacing field and hit my up arrow and that increments the amount in there. I'm going to set it at 1 inch. I'm just going to make a basic letter-size document for now. But I want to make sure that I have bleed. So again, rather than typing I can just click in the little field, hit my up arrow, and I instantly have an 8 inch of bleed. By the way that little trick works in panels and dialog boxes across Adobe software; very handy. Under Advanced it tells me that the color mode is CMYK as I mentioned before.
Pixels per inch 300. Wait, I thought Illustrator was a drawing program. Well remember that they're some things that you can do in Illustrator that are rendered in pixels, such as glows and drop shadows, and Illustrator says, well, when I do those let me know what resolution you want for them. And that would be the 300 PPI. Then when I click OK, there's my new document with my two artboards. If you want to get sort of a head start or maybe you're looking for a little bit of inspiration, you can also choose this option File > New from Template.
Illustrator navigates to where templates are stored. Let's take a look at some of these, under Blank Templates. Let's say that maybe you want to create a CD case. When you open this up, it comes up as Untitled; really it's a copy of that template. And look everything is in place for you; all you have to do is put in your artwork. If you need to make something from scratch, you know what the options are. If you want a little head start, maybe little inspiration, now you know about templates.
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