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

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Shape Builder


To learn advanced Illustrator drawing techniques. To experience Illustrator's shape builder tool and knife tool to recreate the following logo by designer Tim Girvin:


Distressed art is currently popular with clients who require an "edgier" feeling to promote their products. Slicing up type is one way to achieve this result. However no "distress" filters were used in the creation of this art. From careful selection of the typeface to deciding how much of the letterforms to remove, every nuance has been considered in order to balance readability with style.


prepping for the exercise

  1. download above GIF file (RMB on picture above)
  2. launch Illustrator, file > new (cmyk), save as ""
  3. file > place "matrix.gif" (place as template)
  4. practice Illustrator's navigation shortcuts (download Illustrator keyboard shortcuts)

creating the art in illustrator

  1. type tool: THE MATRIX (Times New Roman)
  2. dupe type (opt-move)
  3. type > convert to outlines; ungroup
  4. re-size and position; dupe again
  5. 'R': draw rectangle, select rectangle and R
  6. shape builder tool (shift+M): remove shapes (option-click)
    note the curser change
  7. 'X': select letter, cut with knife tool (option-drag), reposition shapes
  8. repeat to match template
  9. add thin horizontal rectangles
  10. save


  1. file > save as (format=PDF)
  2. delete unused art
  3. add your name and the exercise number to the file
  4. print a proof for grading
  5. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/15/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young