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Symmetry is your friend

From: Drawing Vector Graphics

Video: Symmetry is your friend

Whenever you can cut your vector build times in half without compromising the design's quality, it's a no-brainer win for your creative process. Of course, not every project requires the use of symmetry, but those that do, benefit from this simple build method, because it will only require half the work to complete the full design. So, here's a recent project I worked on for a company out of the UK called Astute Graphics, and they make plugins for Illustrator.

Symmetry is your friend

Whenever you can cut your vector build times in half without compromising the design's quality, it's a no-brainer win for your creative process. Of course, not every project requires the use of symmetry, but those that do, benefit from this simple build method, because it will only require half the work to complete the full design. So, here's a recent project I worked on for a company out of the UK called Astute Graphics, and they make plugins for Illustrator.

So, you might want to check that out. They make some great plugins that make a lot of the methods I show in this course actually a little easier than they are natively out of Illustrator. So, because we are building a symmetric design here, we are not just building it out of the blue. As you can see, I've taken the time to draw out my refined sketch, so it's working as a road map to build on. Even something as iconic as this is going to help you if you predetermine what the shapes need to look like.

In this case, the shield shape, I've gone ahead and built half of that since it's a symmetric design. Once it's built, I can use the F3 key, which is the Clone key we set up in the other movie to clone this shape. Now I'm going to go to the Reflect tool here in the Tool palette, click on that. With Smart Guides turned on, it tells me I'm now over the anchor point, I can click that, and clone this shape. So now, we have our full shield.

Once we have those two shapes in place, we can use Pathfinder to unite them into one coherent shape. So, that's how I use symmetry to create the shield. It's also a good place to start on this design since the center aspect of the whole motif. Now, we are going to change layers here really quick, like any good cooking show, I have some of this stuff pre-baked. So, with the shield design, we've offset that a few times in order to create some of the assets we need, that will help us form the art we need.

So, in other words, this outer shape of the shield, we are going to select that along with the head of the Eagle, and we are just going to punch that out. So, that's how you can use art in order to manipulate other parts in your design. Now, with this design, since it's symmetric, we have the banner at the top will be one of the elements. The other elements will be our wings here, along with this part of our graphic, which is simulating a vector path, and we also want to select his foot here at the bottom.

With all these selected now, we are going to clone these shapes. So, we're just going to make a copy of all these shapes by using the F key, keyboard shortcut we've set up. So we'll hit that. They're now cloned. We'll now go back over to the Reflect tool. We'll find one of the anchor points anywhere in the design that has an anchor point where our center of the design is. That will be the orientation we are going to reflect from now. We'll click that, and we'll flip those over.

And you can see how fast you can create half of your art using symmetry. Now, of course, we are going to have to go back, and any part of the design where the left side touches the right side, those will be the elements you'll use to go to Pathfinder, and unite to create one unified shape. Other details such as like the legs here, those using layering in our file will be all the way to the back. So, we don't need to do anymore work on those other than coloring them.

So, once you have all your base shapes in place, you can now begin coloring your design until you have the final symmetric design. Now, speaking of symmetry and how you can use it for various projects, I'm going to walk you through just a handful of projects I've used symmetry on, because it really is applicable to a lot of different graphic design projects and design projects in general. Here's a tribal design I created. This was for an energy drink company, and I used symmetry to create this; only I had to create half of it, flipped it to get the rest.

A recent identity project I worked on, this was a secondary brand element, and it's just an oak leaf design. So I used symmetry on that. If you follow graphic design news, then you'll be familiar with the new Wendy's rebranding. And I worked on this a couple of years ago for the agency who handled the Wendy's rebranding, and this was the Wendy's character exploration they hired me to create. They didn't end up using that, but I used symmetry to create this.

Here is another mark identity I did for a company called Timbuk Teas. It's very graphic. But, once again, it uses symmetry. Symmetry doesn't just have to apply to your commercial oriented projects, it could be personal projects. This summer, me and my family took a trip to Hawaii, it was really fun. And in Hawaii, the word happy is Hau'oli. And so I really thought that was fun, so I created this design using symmetry and it was inspired by that.

So, that's how you can use symmetry in your own projects whether it's professional or personal. The common denominator with all designs you've seen in this movie is symmetry. Working digitally allows a designer to work smarter. So, be the smartest, and take full creative advantage of using symmetry in your design projects.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Drawing Vector Graphics
Drawing Vector Graphics

41 video lessons · 48276 viewers

Von Glitschka
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 26s
    2. Exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 18m 36s
    1. What is illustrative design?
      54s
    2. A systematic creative process
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring analog tools
      2m 39s
    4. Exploring digital tools
      13m 37s
  3. 18m 31s
    1. Creative preparation
      1m 13s
    2. The creative brief
      2m 25s
    3. Creative thinking methods
      1m 2s
    4. Word associations
      1m 55s
    5. Mind mapping
      1m 55s
    6. Before. During. After.
      1m 26s
    7. I think, therefore I design
      2m 46s
    8. Selecting the appropriate style
      2m 57s
    9. Using reference material
      2m 52s
  4. 8m 50s
    1. Solid creative foundation
      53s
    2. Anyone can draw
      2m 17s
    3. Thumbnail sketching
      2m 34s
    4. Refining your drawn ideas
      3m 6s
  5. 44m 40s
    1. Workflow enhancements
      57s
    2. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions
      2m 25s
    3. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo
      13m 15s
    4. Using custom scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Graphic styles and custom color palettes
      8m 19s
    6. Using layers
      7m 15s
    7. Toggling Smart Guides on and off
      5m 45s
  6. 38m 59s
    1. Building your vector shapes
      1m 0s
    2. A roadmap for vector building
      4m 40s
    3. The clockwork method
      7m 4s
    4. Prime point placement
      3m 40s
    5. The point-by-point method
      8m 22s
    6. The shape-building method
      6m 46s
    7. Symmetry is your friend
      6m 1s
    8. Art directing yourself
      1m 26s
  7. 19m 54s
    1. Presenting your designs
      1m 4s
    2. Presentation formats
      5m 50s
    3. Revealing your designs
      1m 36s
    4. Writing a design rationale
      1m 56s
    5. Responding to client revisions
      3m 46s
    6. Renewable creative energy
      5m 42s
  8. 49s
    1. Next steps
      49s

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