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Designing Professional Posters with Illustrator

Learn the six basic tools for designing and creating posters with Adobe Illustrator.

Shape Tool

An image of the Adobe Illustrator Toolbar with an orange circle pointing towards the shape tool.

Video Reference

Drawing Simple Shapes

You may want to use simple shapes and lines in Illustrator to create your poster.

Rectangles and Squares

  1. Select the Rectangle tool  or the Rounded Rectangle tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. To draw a rectangle, drag diagonally until the rectangle is the desired size.
    2. To draw a square, hold down the Shift key while you drag diagonally until the square is the desired size.
  3. To create a square or rectangle using values, click where you want the top-left corner to be. Specify a width and height (and a corner radius for a rounded rectangle), and click OK.

 

Ellipses and Circles 

  1. Select the Ellipse tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. Drag diagonally until the ellipse is the desired size.
    2. Click where you want the top-left corner of the ellipse’s bounding box to be. Specify a width and height for the ellipse, and click OK.

Note: To create a circle, hold down the Shift key while dragging, or if you are specifying dimensions, once you’ve entered a Width value you can click on the word Height to copy that value into the Height box.

 

Polygons and Triangles

  1. Select the Polygon tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. Drag until the polygon is the desired size. Drag the pointer in an arc to rotate the polygon. Press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to add and remove sides from the polygon.
    2. Click where you want the center of the polygon to be. Specify a radius and number of sides for the polygon, and click OK.

Triangles are polygons too! You can draw one just as you would any other polygon.

Stars

  1. Select the Star tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
  3. Drag until the star is the desired size. Drag the pointer in an arc to rotate the star. Press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow to add and remove points from the star.
  4. Click where you want the center of the star to be. For Radius 1, specify the distance from the center of the star to the star’s innermost points. For Radius 2, specify the distance from the center of the star to the star’s outermost points. For Points, specify how many points you want the star to have. Then click OK. To increase or decrease the number of points in the star, you can also use the up and down arrow keys while drawing the star.

 

Line Segments

  1. Use the Line Segment tool when you want to draw one straight line segment at a time. 
  2. Select the Line Segment tool .
  3. Do one of the following:
  4. Position the pointer where you want the line to begin, and drag to where you want the line to end.
  5. Click where you want the line to begin, and specify the length and angle of the line. If you want to fill the line with the current fill color, select Fill Line. Then click OK.


*from the Adobe Illustrator help website