Android Apple Windows Mac OS Linux

minimum price:

$20.99/month

Visit Website

Adobe Illustrator Review

Adobe Illustrator is the go-to software for designers and creatives working with vector graphics, logos, icons, or other scalable digital media. In today’s Adobe Illustrator review, we’ll cover its features, pricing, ease of use, and comparison to other Adobe software.

Adobe Illustrator Review

minimum price:

$20.99/month

Visit Website
  • Export: PDF, JPEG, PNG +
  • Free trial: Yes
  • Animations: Yes
  • Image editing: Limited
  • Text management: Yes
  • iPad version available: Yes
  • Creative Cloud library: Yes
  • Syncing with other Adobe software: Yes

works on:

Android Android
Apple Apple
Windows Windows
Mac OS Mac OS
Linux Linux

Best For

Graphic designers and digital artists who work with vector graphics.

STRENGTHS

  • Scalable artwork
  • Works on many devices
  • Regular updates with new tools
  • Syncs with other Adobe programs

WEAKNESSES

  • Steep learning curve
  • Feels like Photoshop
  • Limited support for raster graphics

PRICING PLANS:

Annual plan

$20.99/month

Monthly plan

$31.49/month

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Created by Adobe Inc., Illustrator is a vector graphics editing software. It was launched for Mac devices in 1987, but has grown quite a bit since. Many consider it to be closely related to Photoshop.

While Photoshop is used for digital photo manipulation, Illustrator is geared towards vector designs. Its interface is similar to other Adobe software, making it easy to use if you’re familiar with the company’s programs.

Adobe Illustrator Features

Let’s dive into the essential features of this graphic design software.

Workspaces

Like other Adobe programs, the workspace is where you start designing. All Creative Cloud workspaces look similar, so it’s easy to move between programs.

You can customize the Illustrator workspace by using presets or create your own. When opening the software, you’ll see tutorials, popular presets, recent documents, and news. You can set the interface color, arrange panels, move between workspaces, and more.

The available templates are divided into categories, including mobile, web, print, film and video, and art and illustration.

The touch workspace is a newly designed intuitive workspace created for working on touchscreen devices. It’s somewhat simplified, but it allows you to do similar things as with the desktop version.

Toolbar

Another essential feature included in all Adobe Illustrator versions is the toolbar. On it, you find all the primary tools for creating art, including:

  • Select
  • Draw
  • Type
  • Paint
  • Modify
  • Navigate

The toolbar can be customized to show the most commonly used tools arranged as the user prefers. If you’re new to the software, you can check out the User Guide on the Adobe website for in-depth information on each tool.

Artboards

Artboards are sections with art for print or export and help you streamline your design process. You can create a personalized artboard or use templates.

Drawing Tools

To create any kind of Adobe Illustrator vector design, you’ll want to use the drawing tools. Use the Pen Tool to draw straight and curvy objects, with the freedom to reposition the anchors as you go.

The Curvature Tool simplifies path creation. You can create, toggle, edit, add, and remove corner points.

Finally, the Pencil lets you draw open-and-closed paths as if you would on paper. This tool is used for sketching or hand-drawn looks.

Painting 

The Painting options et you uplift the appearance of your designs. Adobe Illustrator software provides the following tools:

  • Calligraphy 
  • Scatter
  • Pattern
  • Bristle brush
  • Live paint
  • Shape builder 
  • Opacity
  • Gradients
  • Blends

Color

Color is an essential part of any creation made in Illustrator. Correct use requires knowledge of color models (RGB, CMYK, HSB, Lab Color) and modes. Applying color is possible with the following tools:

  • Swatches panel
  • Color guide panel
  • Edit color
  • Recolor artwork dialog box

You can select colors for your Illustrator vector designs through:

  • Swatches panel 
  • Color picker
  • Eyedropper tool
  • Color guide panel
  • Edit color option

The color themes can help you decide on a set of colors for your Adobe Illustrator artwork. You can use the themes as they are, create them from scratch, and edit them.

Select and Arrange Objects

These Adobe Illustrator features are useful for organizing your artwork. Before applying any manipulation, you can separate an object in the design. The isolation mode lets you do so while dimming non-selected items.

The layers panel lets you select one or more objects within the same layer. Use the selection tool to select groups. Alternatively, you can use the magic wand to select items in the same color.

You can drag objects, set the distance, or move them with the arrow keys. Once you finish moving them around, you can lock everything in place to prevent accidental editing or deleting.

Various Formats

Illustrators recognize all standard graphic formats, so users can easily import vectors and images created in other applications. You can save and export Adobe Illustrator artwork as an AI, PDF, EPS, FXG, or SVG file. 

Other file formats are available if you want to use the design outside of Illustrator. These are called non-native formats since you won’t be able to re-open them in Illustrator.

Crop Images

Illustrator makes it easy to crop images to fit them into your designs. Keep in mind that the cut portion of the image is discarded and not revocable.

Puppet Warp 

If an object in your Adobe Illustrator graphic design looks stiff, you can use the warp tool to transform it and give it a more natural flow. Illustrator defines appropriate areas automatically, but you can add more pins and move your object in another direction if needed.

Animations 

You can make your artwork come to life with the flash graphic feature. The SWF file format is vector-based, meaning that the art will keep its quality at any resolution. Animations can be applied to any frame or layer and exported to be used online. 

Other Adobe Illustrator reviews show that it’s very easy to create flash animations by placing each frame on a separate layer. Then select All Layers to SWF Format while exporting the designs.

Rasterization

It’s possible to change a vector graphic to a bitmap image. This process is called rasterization. During rasterization, Illustrator converts the graphic paths to pixels.

Create Text

Even though Illustrator is used primarily for image design, it’s possible to add text to your work. Adobe Illustrator software automatically loads all the fonts you have in your system. Alternatively, you can use the Adobe Fonts library to create typography.

Enhanced Type

Even though Illustrator is used for scalable image design, adding text is sometimes necessary. The Adobe Illustrator latest version comes with these new options to make your text look even better:

  • Align text
  • Font height variations
  • Align to a glyph

Appearance Attributes 

Appearance attributes transform the look of an object without changing its underlying structure. These include fills, strokes, transparency, and effects. 

For example, you can make an object transparent, apply effects, alter the fill, or change the color. All styles are reversible. You can create your own graphic style or load it from the library.

Printing 

One of the main benefits of this software is that it is able to create designs that can be printed on any media and in any size. It usually has the default sizes for images based on the selected printer’s PPD file, but users can change the size or specify orientation.

Cloud Documents 

This feature can showcase the power of the Adobe Illustrator Cloud service. These documents are a native file type, stored in the Cloud, and available at all times

If you have Illustrator installed, you can access your design, collaborate with others, auto-save it, and track version history whether you’re online or offline.

Users can also embed their Adobe Photoshop files into Illustrator and easily access previous versions.

Adobe Illustrator iPad Features

Adobe Illustrator is available for iPad and can be used with the Apple Pencil, so nothing stops your creativity flow. You can use the features to draw crisp lines, make smooth curves, create patterns, edit paths, use gradients, add text, and more.

All designs are synced across your devices and saved to the Cloud. The iPad edition of Illustrator also works with Photoshop for iPad. The interface is similar to the desktop version but is navigated through the touchscreen.

These are some of the iPad features:

  • Repeats: Used for repetitive patterns and objects. Illustrator will automatically generate the artwork once an item is selected. All changes reflect on the repeated ones as well.
  • Grid: Place objects in a group. 
  • Radial: Form objects around a circle. 
  • Mirror: Create symmetrical artwork.

With the iPad edition, you can open and export AI, PDF, SVG, PNG, and PSD.

Adobe Illustrator Ease of Use

Upon installing Adobe Illustrator for PC, we noticed that its interface is similar to other Adobe programs. That’s why prior knowledge of other Adobe programs is a great benefit. 

When you open the software, you’ll see a blank interface where you can create a new design. It’s not confusing per se, but beginners might have to spend more time finding the tools they need for the desired effects.

As with any other Adobe software, you’ll have the templates ready to use from the workspace. To get access, you have to be logged in to the Creative Cloud. Once you load the desired template, all the necessary tools will be on the panel’s left side.

While the software may seem confusing to those who are new to Illustrator, you can learn to use all its tools and features by practicing. Our Adobe Illustrator review shows that it’s an essential piece of software for professionals despite the steep learning curve. 

Adobe Illustrator System Requirements

Following are the Illustrator system requirements to run the software:

Adobe Illustrator Windows edition:

  • Processor: Multi-Core Intel or AMD Athlon 64 processor
  • Operating system: Windows 10, 64 bit (only supported versions – V1809, V1903, V1909, V2004)
  • Minimum 8 GB RAM 
  • 2 GB HDD for installation and additional free space 
  • Monitor: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • GPU: OpenGL 4x
  • Internet connection necessary for software activation 

Adobe Illustrator for Mac:

  • Processor: Multi-Core Intel 64 bit support
  • macOS: 11, 10.15, or 10.14
  • Minimum 8 GB RAM 
  • 2 GB HDD for installation and additional free space
  • Monitor: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 32-bit video card
  • GPU: optional, minimum 1 GB VRAM, must support OpenGL version 4.0 or up
  • Internet connection necessary for software activation

Adobe Illustrator Pricing

If you want to test out the software before committing financially, you can get the seven-day Adobe Illustrator free trial. You do have to enter your credit card details. After the trial ends, you’ll be charged depending on the package you’ve selected.

  • Annual plan ($20.99/month or $239.88/year)
  • Monthly plan ($31.49/month)

Both plans include Illustrator on desktop, 100 GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, Adobe Spark, and access to the latest updates.

*If you cancel within the first 14 days of your initial purchase, you’ll receive a refund.

Adobe Illustrator vs. Photoshop

Photoshop is Adobe’s most famous software and one of the best photo editing programs. While it was developed for photographers, Photoshop grew into much more. On top of photo editing, it’s used for creating digital paintings, animation, and graphic designs

Illustrator does a similar job, but the difference is in the pixels.

Photoshop is pixel-based, and it’s used for creating raster-based art, such as interface designs, banners, video graphics, and image editing for print.

As mentioned in our Adobe Illustrator review, Illustrator is a vector-based program. This means that Illustrator designs can be printed on billboards or T-shirts and maintain the same quality.

Illustrator’s image editing tools are somewhat limited compared to Photoshop, as it was never meant to be used for photo editing.

It’s not the question of whether Photoshop or Illustrator is better. The quality of both programs is equally good, but they are used for different purposes.

Adobe InDesign vs. Illustrator

Adobe InDesign is used to create documents and promotional materials such as flyers, brochures, posters, pamphlets, ebooks, and other multi-page formats. The difference between Illustrator and InDesign is that you can’t use InDesign to create vector-based artwork.

InDesign documents can be printed or published online, shared with others for editing purposes, and exported as EPUB and other formats. These documents can’t be scaled and used on various mediums, like artwork from Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator is an industry-leading vector graphics software. It’s used to create artwork that can be scaled to fit any size, from tiny logos to billboard ads.

These two programs have some overlapping features, but they’re intended for different purposes. InDesign is a better option for creating multi-page documents, while Illustrator is your go-to for vector graphics.

We can also say that if you need an illustration for your InDesign document, you’ll want to create it in Illustrator first and later apply it to the page.

Adobe Illustrator Review – Verdict

Our Adobe Illustrator review shows that this software is the perfect tool for creating scalable vector graphic designs and similar multimedia. Designers and creators love it even more since it’s available on iPad devices.

Some of its features overlap with other Adobe programs, such as Photoshop and InDesign. Regardless, its primary purpose is to design logos, typography, banners, and charts.

Keep in mind that it’s not an image editing tool, and it has limited features when it comes to creating multi-page documents. That’s where you need to check out Photoshop or InDesign instead.

According to many other Adobe Illustrator reviews, it’s not hard to learn but does take some time. We think the steep learning curve may scare beginners, but it’s an essential tool for anybody serious about working with graphic design.

While pretty expensive, we find that the Adobe Illustrator price is worth it if you’re an experienced user. If you’re a beginner and want to play around, you can always download Adobe Illustrator free trial first.

FAQ

What is the main purpose of Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is the industry-leading software used to create vector artwork. It’s perfect for creating scalable images, such as logos, icons, charts, and posters.

Is Adobe Illustrator good for beginners?

Yes, Illustrator is the easiest software out of the Adobe products. However, it does have a steep learning curve. Many Adobe Illustrator reviews show that it’s essential to learn Adobe software if you’re serious about working in graphic design.

Can I get Adobe illustrator for free?

There is no free version of Adobe Illustrator, but you can try the software with its seven-day free trial. Gaining access to the free trial does require you to fill out your credit card details.

How much does it cost for Adobe Illustrator?

You can get Adobe Illustrator for $20.99/month or $239.88/year on the annual plan or $31.49/month when signing up for the monthly plan. It’s cheaper to pay for the yearly plan upfront.

Can I buy Adobe Illustrator permanently?

No, there is no option to purchase the program permanently. Adobe Illustrator is only available with a subscription to the Cloud service, starting at $20.99/month or $239.88/year. To find out whether it’s the right software for you, check out our full Adobe Illustrator review.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've been fascinated by technology my whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. So writing for Techjury is like a dream come true, combining both my passions - writing and technology. In my free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to both my sons,) I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack.