Branding Design

Case Study: My Tribute To Adobe Illustrator’s 30th Anniversary

On my About Me page, I mention how I started down the path of graphic design. I didn’t always use or even know about Adobe programs. My chapter brother and mentor Shaun Harrison, the visionary behind Supernerd, introduced me to the power of the Adobe Creative Suite (now the Adobe Creative Cloud). It took me awhile to realize the wealth of options I had. I started as strictly a Photoshop user. Once I learned about the difference between raster and vector images, I opened my mind to the idea of using Illustrator. Since then, my vector dreams have taken me on quite a fulfilling journey.

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It started where the majority of my logo concepts start: in my sketchbook. I hadn’t decided how many logos I was going to design. I just started sketching ideas for various ways I could interpret the A and the i. Each concept is a different take. During the exploration phase, I like to allow myself to be as free as possible. Everything is in play. It could be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Square or round. Once I felt I had enough concepts to play with, I began to take what I liked from the grid paper to the grid in the Illustrator artboard.

The first one was a nod to the power of the pen tool and anchor points. I had the vertical rectangle overlap the triangle. Those shapes were created with blank insides with black strokes. Then, I outlined the strokes once I made sure the amount of stroke was to my liking. I added the squares at each point of the triangle. Inside the resulting shape, you can see the A and the lowercase i.

The second one was actually the result of me trying to construct one idea and happening across a slightly different one I liked. This one is me playing with circles instead of sharp edged shapes. An overlapping lowercase a and i are created in this logo. I like to think of this one as a throwback, old-school Illustrator logo. Seems like something you’d see on a vintage floppy disk – at least to me anyway.

Third, I present the first idea I came up with. My work in Illustrator usually consists of logos and minimalistic illustrations. So, it seemed obvious to include a version of the A and i that used a triangle, rectangle, and circle, representing how simple shapes together can make greatness.

The last was the one I played with the most. It’s a very different interpretation, like the second logo, of the A and i. I called it the moonlight version due to the left side looking like a crescent moon. The right side is a dotted “i” as well as a designer reaching to draw. It’s interesting to me how curves and sides can be used to give different feels.

Finalized the shapes I wanted first then played with colors for presentation. The first was kept black and white because it’s referring to basic tools and the beginning of the process. The second is orange in reference to the current Adobe Illustrator main color. The third was purple because it looked good. No super smart reasoning there. The moonlight one I actually used the eyedropper tool to select colors from an actual moonlight sky photo.

Adobe Illustrator has played such an important role in my career, empowering me greatly. It was fun to create a mini-tribute to it and seeing the different ways I can go with its logo.