Why Artboards and not Pages?
Contributed by David Macy, Illustrator Senior Product Manager
Great lead-in yesterday about the productivity enhancements found by using Multiple Artboards in Illustrator CS4.
So, why do we call these Artboards in Illustrator and not Pages? The word “page” is well understood in our language, and has implications based on its true meaning and on how it has been expressed in existing software applications. In printed materials, pages have a fixed sequence, and are typically read in the sequence they are presented. In electronic formats such as web sites, pages may be viewed in any sequence, but are still generally presented based on a hierarchy – usually with a “Main” or “Home” page that everything cascades from. In fact, when you are laying out a magazine or building a website, you will usually begin with a specification defining the structure of the final site or document. This kind of “structured workflow” is supported very well by Adobe’s main tool for document layout – InDesign, and Adobe’s main tool for website layout – Dreamweaver.
When we took a close look at what Illustrator users needed we saw that in most cases it was not the ability to create multiple page documents, and in fact it was very often based on an un-structured workflow with no particular sequence or hierarchy. Of course there are many very valid use cases for creating sequenced documents from Illustrator, but there are also a lot of compelling use cases where artboards are simply a collection of related assets with no particular sequence or hierarchy. Given the desire of many artists to work in Illustrator in a very fluid and creative way, unbound by a structured workflow, we decided to make an extremely flexible system for creating and managing artboards. In Illustrator, you can make artboards of any size and in any position on Illustrator’s canvas, all depending on what you are trying to do with them-
The possibilities are almost as vast as the number of ways in which people use Illustrator.
Illustrator does continue to grow and evolve, so please let us know how you use Multiple Artboards in CS4 or how you would like to see them change over time.