Imagine you have a small business, for example, a bookstore on a cozy side street. You created an Instagram page for your business. Are you going to do some advertising? Organize an event and invite interested people to come to your shop. You want to design an invitation for the event. Because you are familiar with the powerful Illustrator software, you can easily do this yourself. Since it may be difficult to find the address of the library and you are very creative, you design and place a very simple and attractive map (roadmap) with Illustrator on the last page of the invitation.

Anyone may want to draw a map for professional or academic reasons, for example for a university project. There is no need to pay for this work or know how to work with specialized software. You just need to be familiar with Illustrator and know how to design roadmaps with it.

In this content, I will teach you how to design roadmaps and simple maps with Illustrator.

Roadmap design training with Illustrator

Before we get to the main point, let me clarify a few things. First, the word “roadmap” may be a bit ambiguous. Because when the career or educational path of a specific field is drawn in the form of an infographic, it is also called a roadmap (learning map). But in this article, a roadmap, as mentioned, means the design of the road map and route. However, with Illustrator, you can also design a learning roadmap.

Second, the question may arise. Why should Illustrator be used for roadmap design? Isn’t Illustrator specialized in imaging software? It is true. But the most important feature of Illustrator is that it creates vector designs. Compared to pixel images, vectors can be converted to different sizes (very, very large or very, very small) much more easily and without reducing their quality.

Also, roadmaps have many details and twists. It is necessary to design all the details clearly so that all the paths are clear. Illustrator has many useful tools that even allow the designer to edit ready-made vectors. With the help of Illustrator tools, it is easy to design all the details and twists and turns of a roadmap.

All these explanations mean that roadmaps designed with Illustrator (which are vectors) are of higher quality and can be used at different scales without reducing their resolution.

Now let’s go to Roadmap and the steps of designing a simple map with several roads.

1. Design different routes (roads).

First of all, different routes should be designed. If you look carefully at the maps, highways and normal streets are designed differently. Each component of the map has its own color. To make your work easier, it’s not bad to get help from Google Map. That is, see how and in what color the roads and streets are designed on Google Map.

So, the first step is to determine how many different paths (roads or streets) there are on the road map you want to design, and what color and thickness each one has (because on maps, the main paths and streets are usually wider than the side paths drawn) must be designed.

Now draw lines using the Pen Tool. Give them the desired thickness with a stroke and color them with the color you need. Then select the lines and open the brushes (F5) option from the window. Then, at the bottom of the window that opens, click the + sign and select Art Brush. A window will open that allows you to change the properties of the drawn lines, name the line and save it.

2. Design the twists and turns

Now it’s time to get to the point. Roadmaps are not a collection of smooth lines of different sizes and colors. Roadmaps are curved and have many intersections. Draw a curved line with the Curvature Tool. Note that it is in the north-south direction. Then, open Brushes again and for this main curve, which is the main road or street, select one of the lines (brush) that you have drawn before, so that the curve becomes thick and colored. Continue to draw curved lines and select the appropriate brush for each one to create networks of roads.

You can use small circles with colors matching the color of the roads to mark the intersections. Create the circles the same way you drew the original lines (use the Shape Builder Tool) and save them in Art Brush for easy access later.

3. Add names, numbers and details to the roadmap

When the generalities are finished, it is time to name the roads and streets and intersections. The names of all routes must be specified on the map. Numbers and their geographical coordinates can be used instead of names to name the roads. To add a name to the road map, you can easily use the Type Tool. It is enough to hold the mouse on the icon of that tool in the side toolbar to open four options. You should select Type on a Path Tool from among the options. Now you can type a name or details in the path of curved lines.

There’s nothing stopping you from adding as much detail to Roadmap as you want. But the main work is over.

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