18 Modular design

The modular design works thanks to key concepts.

  • the creation of the illustrations with a proportional base of Units and
  • Grouping and Subgrouping of the elements.

Illustration Components have little differences for each one of the collections (Matrix, OpenCity, 3Dimensions, Projections, Icon), but all of them share the same basic principles.

System of Units

The 64 Grid System for modular illustration makes it easy to get a complete scene that suits the space of the template. It’s simple to plan, find and assemble elements and complements.

Modular illustrations are easy to move and can be shifted from one place to another without any extra effort.

All the elements in a collection have the same height of a full piece of furniture (like a Wardrobe or bookcase or fridge) and the same height of half the size of a piece furniture (like a table or worktop or dishwasher). Such standardization allows keeping visual consistency in the illustration, having continuation from one piece of furniture and also allowing the changes without breaking the alignment.

In a modular system of illustrations, what it matters the most is the width. illustraStock has a fix width for a basic unit. If it is necessary to draw elements in other sizes, 1/4 – 1/2 – 1 – 1,5 – 2 times of the unit can be used. As size of the Unit is proportional, elements can be configured in the illustration without any gap between the elements or the elements and the size of the template.

In a template of 10 units, there is space for 10 elements of 1 unit, or 5 elements of 2 units or 3 elements of 3 units plus one element of 1 unit… and all the other possible combinations.


Grouping related pieces of the design is a core activity while creating an illustration, it gives an organized layout and creates logical sections. The illustrations are made from movable pieces that can be moved, changed or deleted. That’s why it is important to group every element separately before connecting them all together. Creating a system of groups and sub groups allows the final customers to open the groups and to take one independent object from all of the lines that we are interested in, rather than spending time selecting all the lines individually.


Concepto de Unidad, media unidad, dos unidades,… multiplo.Creación de las ilustraciones en

iCon: Realistic

redondeo a múltiplos /submultiplo de 64













Group Isolation
Sometimes you’ll want to draw a new object and add it to an existing group. For example, let’s say your client requests you to add the Registered Trademark symbol to a logo, which is already grouped. One way to accomplish this is to use the Type tool to add the Registered Trademark symbol to your document. Then you select the logo, ungroup it, and then select the logo and the new trademark symbol and group the objects together.


Group Isolation Mode is especially useful when you’re using the Live Paint feature in Illustrator CS2, which we’ll cover in detail in Chapter 4, Advanced Vectors.
Illustrator CS2 introduces an easier way to add objects into existing groups by using a feature called Group Isolation Mode. Using the logo example we just discussed, you would use the following method to add the trademark symbol. Using the Selection tool, double-click on any object in the logo. A gray border appears around the perimeter of the group, indicating that the group is now isolated (Figure 3.27 , next page). When a group is isolated, any new shapes or objects that are created become part of the group. Select the Type tool and create a text object with the trademark symbol to automatically add the symbol to the logo group. To exit isolation mode, either click any object that’s outside the group, or double-click on the artboard, then the gray border disappears.

Figure 3.27 Double-clicking on any object in a group puts the group into Group Isolation Mode, making it easy to add new objects directly into the group.
When you have a group selected, the Control palette has a button that also allows you to enter isolation mode ( Figure 3.28 ). You can use the same button to exit isolation mode as well.

Figure 3.28 You can also enter Group Isolation Mode by clicking on an icon in the context-sensitive Control palette when a group is selected.

Object Hierarchy
When a layer contains artwork, a disclosure triangle appears just on the left of the layer. Clicking this triangle reveals the contents of the layer within the Layers palette (Figure 3.31 , next page). Every object that appears in an Illustrator document appears listed in the Layers palette. The order in which items appear has significance—it indicates the stacking order, or object hierarchy of the file. Objects that appear at the bottom of the Layers palette are drawn first, and therefore they appear at the bottom of the object stacking order.

Figure 3.31 Clicking a disclosure triangle reveals the raw power of the Layers palette—the ability to view the entire object hierarchy of a file.
You can drag items listed in the Layers palette to adjust where they sit in the stacking order. Dragging an object from the bottom of the Layers palette to the top of the palette places that object at the top of the stacking order. It’s important to note that each layer and each group also maintain their own stacking order. The Layers palette basically represents the stacking order of the entire file.





Grouping vs. Layers










Back to Standardisation Policy.