Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up an entire web site, part of Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design.
- View Offline
As we've discussed, when it comes to web design, there are so many different things that you can do with Illustrator. In this video, let's focus on building web pages, or more specifically, designing web pages. Now you already know how to create a new document using the Web profile. You'll also know how to create your own customized profiles. But here I'd like to share with you a couple of strategies, or tips and tricks, in how to build out an entire web site design here inside of Illustrator. Now you'll notice that I have two artboards that already exist inside of this document.
If I go to my Artboards panel here, you can see that I have my Home and my Mission page. I can navigate between them by just double-clicking on them. As you know, if I zoom out here, you can see that Illustrator has this entire canvas to work with. These artboards all sit within this overall canvas. So there could be many times when you want to experiment with some kind of a design or a layout. For example, I'm going to focus in on just this area right here, maybe the navigation. I'm going to Option+Drag or Alt+Drag out a copy of that out onto the artboard.
Here I'm might be able to experiment with different ways of working with this or using this. So it's important to really use everything that Illustrator has that offer here. I'm going to going to delete this though, because let's say I want to add now yet another page. I have my Home page. I have my Mission page. So what I can do is I can start to create a third page. It's going to be similar to the Mission page. So I can take the Mission page that exists right here in my Artboards panel and simply click on it and drag it to this icon over here in the Artboards panel to duplicate that page. For example, maybe this page is going to focus on our tours.
So I'm going to double-click over here on the word "Mission." I'll change that to Tours. I also want to change the name of the artboard to match that as well. I think it's important if you are actually building a sitemap like we discussed previously in this chapter, you want to name your artboards to match the way that you have the name set up in the sitemap as well. This makes it easy to identify which graphics, or which designs go with which part of the web site, which can be helpful both for your clients, or also for developers who are building the web site. So to change the name of the artboard, I'm just going to double-click on the icon that appears in the far right side over here where it says Mission copy.
I'm going to change it to say Tours. Click OK. Now I've given that the right name. Of course, if I want to show this to my client, I can easily export PDF documents out of Illustrator. But I have right here this ability now to start working with the design itself. Now let's focus on some of the design aspects. First of all, it's very easy inside of Illustrator now to actually move graphics from one artboard to another. So just as an example, if I didn't have this logo right here, I knew I have the logo on this page. I want to put the logo in the exact same position on this page.
Well, what I can do on this artboard is go to the Edit menu and choose Copy. Then I can click on this artboard anywhere inside of it to make this the active artboard. Now I can choose Edit > Paste in Place. When I do so, Illustrator pastes that graphic in the exact same location. Meaning it has the same coordinates as it had in the other artboard. This is going to be very important when dealing with web graphics, because we always want to make sure that the elements are in the precise location where they belong on the page. Now another way to ensure that your web site is easy to update is to use symbols.
Now we'll talk more about symbols in- depth when we learn about going from Illustrator to Flash Professional or Flash Catalyst. But they're also very useful when it comes to symbol production techniques. For example, notice that here on every page, there is a little bit of the sidebar that says Monthly Specials. Now maybe we get some word back from our client that says they want to be a little bit more aggressive in marketing. So they want those to be Weekly Specials instead of Monthly Specials. Well, what I can simply do is just double-click on any of them and Illustrator will let me know that now I'm about to edit that symbol definition.
That's because I actually turned that entire piece of artwork into a symbol. So now when I clicked OK, I'm now in Isolation mode. I'm editing the symbol. I'm going to zoom in a little bit closer here. I'll use my Type tool to actually click over here and highlight the word "Month" and change that to Week. So now it says Weekly Specials. If I now hit the Escape key to exit the Isolation mode and I zoom out, you can see now that on all of my pages in my design. They've all changed and now reflect that change. It now says Weekly Specials on every page.
In fact, for this specific sidebar element, I've actually used something called nested symbols. I've actually placed some symbols inside of other symbols. You see this element right now is one large symbol, as you can see right here. If I ever need it, I can go to my Symbols panel. I can simply take the Sidebar_Special symbol and drag it out onto the page. But within this symbol, I also use some other graphics. Those graphics are symbols as well. For example, I have here something called Tour_Icon-Dessert. If I drag that out, you can see that this symbol is now actually used within that symbol.
This means if I update this symbol, not only does it update the symbol itself, but it also updates this symbol if that symbol is nested inside of other symbols. This makes it much easier to actually modify artwork that is even embedded or inside of other artwork, and I can still treat it as one element. For example, the sidebar right now is just one element that I can move around. So let me show you what happens over here. I'm going to delete these elements. Maybe now my client tells me that if I zoom in close over here, I can see that the word "From" and "To" are in black. Maybe they want that to be a little bit more subtle.
They want it to be white. So I can change that in one place and have that updated everywhere as well. So to do that, I'm actually going to come over here inside of my Symbols panel. I'm going to double-click on where it says Tour-Icon_Desert to modify that one symbol. Note that when you double-click on the symbol inside of the Symbols panel, everything else in Illustrator disappears temporarily and I'm focused on just working with the symbol itself. So before I double-clicked on the symbol on the artboard, I still start my artwork in the context of everywhere else that it exists inside of the file.
But here I just want to focus on the symbol itself. So I'm going to zoom in close. I'll actually use my Selection tool to select one of these. Then I can choose over year to select all the same fill color. So now all the black elements are now selected. I can change that to white. Now I'll just double-click over here and I'll zoom out. I'll see that change has now been made in all of the areas that it's used inside of my file, even within those nested symbols as well. In some way, this kind of acts a little bit the same way that we discussed about how we design web sites using CSS.
One of the main benefits of using CSS is your ability to actually make a change to a design, but have that actual change be implemented across the entire web site, no matter how many pages there are. Well, we've just seen one way of how to do that using symbols inside of Illustrator, but there are other ways as well. For example, we can use a feature inside of Illustrator called graphic styles to quickly change colors. For example, I have some of these sidebar elements here and they have a background color. We'll talk more about actually how to build these elements later on inside of the title. But for now, you can see I have a graphic style called Sidebar.
Now I have nothing selected right now. I can click on the Sidebar to load that into the Appearance panel. If I wanted to change the background color to something else, for example, just click over here and maybe choose maybe a light blue color. I can now go to the Appearance panel. From the flyout menu, choose to redefine the graphic style called Sidebar. When I do so, you'll see that throughout my design, wherever that sidebar is, I've now modified or changed that background color. Again, similar to the way that CSS would work actually when you build this site on the web.
The real benefit here is that strictly from a design stage, I'm able to quickly replicate these changes throughout an entire web site design. Now that's taking a look from the graphical side, but Illustrator also has paragraph and character styles that allow you to make changes across your entire site design, when it comes to working with text. So, for example, in this document, if I click over here on Paragraph Styles, you'll see that I've already defined certain styles. Things like h2, h3. If I take my Type tool and I click let's say over here on this text here, I can see that this right now has been styled as h3.
This thing over here has been styled as Paragraph. I can go through my design and very easily mock things up to match a certain way. Of course, when I'm thinking about my design, once I've done that, I don't even need to select things anymore. If I want to experiment with how my h3 style might look, I can simply go ahead now with nothing selected. Double-click on the h3 paragraph style. Let's move it down about over here. I can go where it says Basic Character Formats, maybe change its size. Right now, it's set to 44, but I can change that maybe too around let's say 38.
Notice that because the Preview button is turned on, if I hit the Tab key, I can actually see that change happening on the screen. I'm going to change it back to 44. Maybe I want to change the color of that text. I can go here where it says Character Color, and maybe change it to a different color. For example, let's do a purple accent or maybe a primary red. I can easily see how I can work with my design across the entire perspective of my web site very easily using these Paragraph Styles. I'm going to click Cancel here, because I want to leave it black the way that it was before.
But as a quick overview now, you can see how building a web site happens inside of Illustrator using multiple artboards, using symbols, using graphic styles, and text styles. You can very easily create your design, and make quick modifications to that design as well, all in the same simple mindset that you would think about working with either CSS or building your web site for web design.
- Getting perfectly sized pixel graphics from Illustrator
- Setting up preferences in Illustrator for web design
- Creating custom document profiles
- Getting great color on the web
- Understanding web graphic file formats (GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF, and SVG)
- Setting great-looking type
- Slicing artwork for various tasks
- Creating Flash animations directly from Illustrator
- Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
- Exporting HTML and CSS from Illustrator
- Integrating with Flash Catalyst