Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Identity Applications (One Beacon Court)


To learn to use Adobe Illustrator tools by example. To learn the conventions of typesetting business cards and stationary systems.


Stationary systems are usually the first application to be designed as part of an identity system. The key to making stationery systems work is absolute consistency between the elements. In addition, take the following guidelines into account:

  • business cards do not necessarily have to be a "standard" size, but it shouldn't be any larger than 3.5 x 2 inches
  • design the business card first because it is usually the smallest application
  • before deciding on a business card layout, do one layout in each of the four systems of visual organization (grid, symmetrical, asymmetrical, random)
  • when designing a letterhead, design it with a letter in place
  • when designing business envelopes, take into consideration USPS Envelope Addressing Standards

recreating the wordmark

  1. download starter files
  2. launch Illustrator
  3. file > new (profile=print), save as ""
  4. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  5. file > place "beacon.gif" (as template)
  6. rename "layer 1" as "wordmark"
  7. recreate the wordmark using Futura Book (type > convert to outlines)
  8. spec background color as Pantone 436C (window > swatch libraries > color books > Pantone coated)
  9. save, save as "wordmark-small.pdf" ("smallest file size" for web publishing)
  10. save as "wordmark-large.pdf" ("press quality" for printing)
  11. save as ""

laying out the business cards

  1. delete template layer
  2. new layer "box", restack to bottom
  3. draw box for business card (3.5 x 2 inches), stroke=1pt
  4. new layer "type" (lock others)
  5. copy and paste text from "business card.txt" (as point type)
  6. spec type: 7.5/9 Adobe Garamond Pro
  7. window > type > open type: old style proportional numbers
  8. split text into appropriate text objects, edit text
  9. create a symmetrical business card first
  10. dupe symmetrical business card 3x and then create layouts for asymmetrical, random and grid
  11. save
  12. art board tool: copy art board to make a new page (opt+drag)

laying out the letterhead

  1. delete extra elements, edit type, adjust logo size
  2. change type to 8/11
  3. draw guide for left/right margins (1.25 inches)
  4. file > place "letter.doc", "signature.tiff"
  5. spec letter: 11/13 Adobe Garamond Pro
  6. save
  7. art board tool: copy art board to make a new page (opt+drag)

laying out the envelope

  1. art board tool: landscape
  2. select tool: delete unneeded elements
  3. draw box for envelope (9-1/2 x 4-1/8 inches)
  4. adjust layout
  5. optional: add envelope flap
  6. scan and add your own signature to the letterhead


  1. clean-up your printable area and add credit: in 10pt Helvetica, 1/2" from bottom and right side of the page add:
    • Exercise 0: Identity
    your name
  2. save, save as "applications_small.pdf" ("smallest file size" for web publishing)
  3. save as "applications_large.pdf" ("press quality" for printing)
  4. print a proof from "applications_large.pdf" for grading (reduce to printable area=no)
  5. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 10/24/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young