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Working with clip art

From: Designing a Logo

Video: Working with clip art

Clip Art has a bit of a bad name, perhaps deservedly so. It conjures up images of businessmen shaking hands or party balloons or other cliched graphic images that we want to avoid at all costs really. Having said that, they are a number of Clip Art type options that we have available to us in Illustrator. You have seen me in a few of the videos up until now use some Illustrator symbols and adapt them and these examples that we have on screen are all using Illustrator symbols. The idea of the Symbol Sprayer tools is that you get multiples of these things, so you can build up a whole background of leaves or grass or whatever it is. But in this application of them, I'm taking a single of these symbols and then adapting them to my needs.

Working with clip art

Clip Art has a bit of a bad name, perhaps deservedly so. It conjures up images of businessmen shaking hands or party balloons or other cliched graphic images that we want to avoid at all costs really. Having said that, they are a number of Clip Art type options that we have available to us in Illustrator. You have seen me in a few of the videos up until now use some Illustrator symbols and adapt them and these examples that we have on screen are all using Illustrator symbols. The idea of the Symbol Sprayer tools is that you get multiples of these things, so you can build up a whole background of leaves or grass or whatever it is. But in this application of them, I'm taking a single of these symbols and then adapting them to my needs.

So, let's just take a look at those and I also want to point out and this is a point I did also make in a previous video and that's where we can get some shape tools, some very interesting shape tools in Photoshop and copy and paste the vector parts into Illustrator, and then adapt them in there. So, the Symbols panel is this one right here and these are the default symbols, but we have also got these symbol libraries. The ones I'm choosing, all come from the Nature symbol library. For example, there are my leaves, there is that particular leaf right there. If I want one of these, I click on it, it adds it to my Symbol panel and then I can either just drag it over. If I want to spray multiples, I could use my Symbol Sprayer or I can just choose this option here: Place Symbol Instance.

Now, the key is, for purposes of doing a logo, this is probably going to be far too detailed. So, we just want to completely simplify and boil it down to only its most essential elements. So, I would then want to come in to the Object menu and expand that. So, it's no longer a symbol but rather, it's now an editable shape, and then I want to get in and delete any stuff that I don't want, like so. Leaving it with just the basic shape and then I think I'm just going to put that in one color as well. Let's say, not the Stroke but rather, we want the Fill. There we go.

So, that's working with an Illustrator symbol, breaking it down. Let's also now take a look at some Photoshop vector shapes. So, I'm going to pop up with the Photoshop and in Photoshop, I'm going to open a new document. Apple+N or Ctrl+N and I'm just going to use the Default Photoshop Size, doesn't really matter what size we have here. From my vector shapes, I'm going to choose my Custom Shape tool, and then up on my tool options, I have got my different shapes to choose from here. Now, we can use any of these but we can also explore all of these shape libraries. I'm going to go ahead and add all of them, and append them to what I currently have. Let's say, I'm designing some kind of animal welfare logo. There is my cat shape right there. I then use my Path Selection tool to select that, copy it. Flip back to Illustrator, paste it as a Compound Shape and then I can do whatever I want with it.

So, some very interesting options to explore there in Photoshop with vector shapes. But the cautionary now here is, if you are going to use Clip Art adapted so that ultimately it doesn't look like it was Clip Art.

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Designing a Logo

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Nigel French
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