Making an e-brochure with Adobe Illustrator and Acrobat Pro

Dec 16, 2012 by

This entry was written by , one of the OxonDigital members. The author's views below are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of OxonDigital.
Making an e-brochure with Adobe Illustrator and Acrobat Pro

This month I was asked to produce an e-brochure as part of a product re-brand and launch. My preferred graphics package for this project was Adobe Illustrator taking advantage of refined graphics tools for gradients, shadows etc. and its compatibility with some vector art and graphics I had on file. I then needed to add interactivity to headings, graphics and some button links, with the final document being compressed for e-mail delivery and web download.

Acrobat Pro has sat in my tool bar for a while, happily opening PDFs as they arrive in email and I hadn’t really explored its potential. It came into its own with a project. Here is the step by step process I went through to turn my Illustrator PDF into an interactive e-brochure with the help of Acrobat Pro.

Here is an example of the interactive e-brochure Relayware Brochure.pdf

Step 1

  1. Create your document in Illustrator and under the ‘File Menu’ select ‘Save As’ and name your file.
  2. From your drop down format Menu select ‘Adobe PDF’ and ‘Save’.
  3. You will be presented with a number of Save options – leave this as Illustrator default as this has an Option – ‘Preserve Illustrator Editing’ checked by default.
  4. Save PDF.

Step 2

  1. Open Acrobat Pro. Go to ‘File Open’ and navigate to the Illustrator pdf you have just saved to open it within Acrobat.
  2. On the right hand side you will see a Tools menu, click on the word ‘Tools’ to view the options
  3. Click on ‘Content’ under this menu and select ‘Link’
  4. Move to your content area and you will have a cross hatch tool with which you can designate the area to be linked
  5. When you draw the link area shape a menu appears and select the options you require – for me it was Invisible Rectangle and an external url – although you can set page links here also.
  6. Click Ok, then save and your done.
  7. You can now re-open your document via Illustrator, make any changes you want and when you save all the interactivity stays in place.

One snag … you don’t generally want to sent out an editable pdf for two reasons, security and file size. When you have your Illustrator file with ‘Preserve Illustrator Editing’ unchecked, you will halve your file size and have a secure document. The snag is, when you re save the document in an optimised format, you loose the interactive areas. This is the workaround I found, in all its simplicity for saving and optimised file AND adding your interactivity.

Step 3

  1. When you are 100% happy with your document ‘Save As’ again and save ANOTHER version with ‘Preserve Illustrator Editing’ unchecked.
  2. Open both your original ‘editable’ file and your new ‘compressed’ file in Acrobat Pro
  3. In your original file go to ‘Tools’ and this time to ‘Select Object’
  4. With the arrow tool you can now select all your interactive areas on a page, copy them and paste into your compressed document.
  5. Save your optimised document and you will now have added the interactivity.

I found this a quick and effective solution for turning my ‘static’ Illustrator PDF, into an interactive document. I think e-brochures work really well alongside web and email marketing campaigns, giving customers the option of more extensive documentation which they can save for reference. The interactive links help to feed back into web content and gain maximum activity from your campaign. What are your thoughts on e-brochures ? Do you prefer to read online or offline ?

Define Media - Creative web and graphic design services. Follow Maria on Google Plus.

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