Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Creative Suite

Creating Web Content in Adobe Illustrator CS5

📄 Contents

  1. Best Practices for Creating Web Content
  2. Time for an Example!
  3. Summary
Brian Wood, author of Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, presents best practices and handy tips for using Illustrator to create and save artwork for your website. Follow his advice to create better-looking and faster-loading art that adds value to your site.
Like this article? We recommend

Adobe Illustrator CS5 provides a variety of tools for creating and optimizing web content—everything from web graphics (such as buttons) to entire web layouts. In this article, we'll tour some of the most widely used web features in Illustrator, starting with the best practices for creating web content.

Best Practices for Creating Web Content

Before jumping into working with web graphics, it's important that you learn some basic principles for creating web graphics in Illustrator. I'll cover each of these features in detail in individual sections of this article, but here's a quick sneak peek for readers in a hurry:

  • Use RGB colors.
  • Use an appropriate anti-aliasing setting.
  • Align to the pixel grid.
  • Create your artwork to scale.
  • Balance image quality with file size.
  • Choose the best file format for your graphic.

Use RGB Colors

Always work in RGB color mode (see Figure 1). If you're trying to use print content on a website, you can easily convert the colors in the image from CMYK to RGB by opening the Illustrator file and choosing File > Document Color Mode > RGB. The colors in the document and in the Swatches panel will be converted to RGB (even though their names may still use CMYK).

Figure 1 RGB color is king on the Web.

Adjust Text Anti-Aliasing

Using this feature isn't critical, but it is a best practice. If you create text to be used in artwork for the web, it will become rasterized when the artwork is optimized (saved as JPEG, GIF, or PNG). How the text is rasterized depends on the anti-aliasing setting in the original artwork, which you set using the Character panel (see Figure 2).

Anti-aliasing adds colored pixels to the edge of the text to create shades of gray, making the edge appear smoother. Most of the time, you'll probably use the Sharp setting. If the text is quite small, you may want to turn off anti-aliasing (select None) to avoid making the text too blurry.

Figure 2 Text anti-aliasing options.

Align to the Pixel Grid

A new feature in Illustrator CS5, the Align to Pixel Grid option allows you to snap content edges to the pixel grid (see Figure 3). In the past, artwork that should have crisp, clean edges, such as the edge of a rectangle, might instead appear fuzzy. With the Align to Pixel Grid option turned on in the Transform panel, you can avoid that problem. The vertical and horizontal segments of the paths of the object are nudged, making all such segments show crisp strokes for all stroke widths and all locations. Objects with this option selected always have stroke widths in full integer values.

Figure 3 Illustrator CS5 and the Align to Pixel Grid option.

Create Artwork to Scale

As you work with web images, you'll realize that you typically shouldn't resize images on a web page. In most cases, resizing can distort images, making them appear further rasterized. This is why you should create or scale content in Illustrator to the final size you plan to use on the web page after the image is optimized (1:1). So, if you want to create a button for your web page, and the button needs to be 150 pixels wide, make it 150 pixels wide in Illustrator, rather than scaling it in a program such as Adobe Dreamweaver.

To gauge the size, make sure that you can see the rulers onscreen (View > Rulers), and use the Transform panel and other methods to determine object size.

Balance Image Quality with File Size

Limiting your graphics to small file sizes is essential to distributing images on the Web. With smaller file sizes, web servers can store and transmit images more efficiently, and viewers can download the images more quickly. You can view the size and the estimated download time for a web graphic in the Save For Web & Devices dialog box (choose File > Save For Web & Devices).

Choose the Best File Format for Your Graphic

This can be a rough rule to follow, in some cases. When you create artwork in Illustrator, eventually you'll need to optimize it for use on the Web, unless you're using the art in some other way, such as converting it to portable document format (PDF) and posting the PDF file. So you'll need to choose from one of the three main file types for graphical web content: JPEG, GIF, or PNG.

Here are a few guidelines for deciding which file format is best for your artwork:

  • GIF. If the artwork has less than 256 colors (such as in a simple button), or you need the artwork to have generic transparency (in which one color is transparent, such as the background of an object), then GIF is your format. Examples of artwork typically saved as GIF:
    • Buttons
    • Page objects (squares, lines)
    • Simple logos
    • Icons
    • Background objects (without complex gradients)
    • Objects with rounded corners
    • GIFs are compressed using a lossless compression.
  • JPG. JPEGs can have millions of colors and are very useful for saving images such as a company photograph. If your artwork doesn't require transparency, has a range of colors (complex gradients, shadows, and so on), then JPG is optimal. Examples of JPEG-worthy content:
    • Art containing photographs
    • Artwork with complex gradients and/or textures
    • JPEG images are compressed using a lossy compression.
  • PNG. Similar to GIF, the PNG format uses a lossless compression. It also has the ability to save content with up to 24 bits of color. Most people save artwork in the PNG format if alpha transparency is involved (things like drop shadows).

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020