Print Picks: Vector Basic Training
by Taylor Slattery | October 28, 2021
Vectors play an important role in design. Their ability to scale and the ease with which they can be edited makes them a powerful tool in the creation of logos, type, and illustrations. Vector shapes are built on bezier curves, which allow the shapes created to scale indefinitely. Bezier curves provide a great deal of flexibility to designers, allowing us to focus our efforts on a single asset that can then be reused across applications of all different sizes.
For all the benefits they provide, though, bezier curves can also be frustrating to work with. Sometimes it seems like no matter how much we massage a shape, we just can’t get it to form the line we’re looking for.
When it comes to educational material for vector-based tools like Adobe Illustrator, instruction tends to focus on the software itself. With its large array of tools, menus, and submenus to navigate, Illustrator can be quite intimidating to the beginner, so it makes sense that tutorials often focus more on these aspects rather than techniques or best practices for their use.
That’s where a book like Vector Basic Training, by Von Glitschka, comes in. True to its name, the book functions like a basic training course for the army, where through education and repetition, troops are conditioned to handle anything the field may throw at them. Rather than push-ups and grenade tossing, Glitschka outlines an approach for building vector shapes that can be adapted to any project your career might present.
Aesthetically, the book embodies the basic training theme, complete with grungy textures and military insignia. The book is organized in a way that brings you up to speed with the software and general workflow before finally introducing you to the secret sauce that is the vector-building method. Glitschka aims to instill the importance of having a systematic approach to not only the building of the vector shapes themselves but to the act of creation itself.
To that end, he sees fit to first arm you with all the tools you’ll need to make that transition as seamless as possible. He offers advice for customizing preferences and keyboard shortcuts to keep your commonly used actions and projects just a few keystrokes away. By the time you’re introduced to his fool-proof vector building method, you’ll be moving through the program with ease.
Vector basic training focuses on designing systems that remove the barriers that prevent you from quickly realizing your designs. Glitschka includes his own personal project files which offer insight into the construction and organization of professional work that was created for clients. For the beginning designer, this sort of information is priceless and offers a template for which to model your own documents after.
The methodology for building vectors is rather simple but the true benefit comes from having a process that lends itself to any type of vector-based work, whether that be type or a logo. Having the same rehearsed set of steps to guide you through the creation of vector work of all kinds makes each time you use this approach like another rep, improving your speed and strength
After introducing you to the basic concepts of the approach, Glitschka then illustrates how they can be used in a variety of different use cases, all the while giving you practice and building your muscle memory so that by the time you’re through with your basic training and working on projects of your own, you won’t need to think twice. The steps to flesh out your vector-art will already be second nature and you’ll have a smooth, refined vector in no time.
Even if you’re comfortable with the software already, if you don’t have a methodology for building vector shapes or sometimes struggle to get the exact shape you’re after, Vector Basic Training is a title worth checking out
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.