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How I Designed My Gallery Walls With Adobe Illustrator
This year I purchased my first home with my husband and we have slowly been renovating the whole house. It had been a rental for several years before it became ours which meant that it was in need of some real TLC.
The first things we did was rip out all the carpets (the tenants were smokers and had 5 kids), patched the so many holes in the walls and are currently repainting the whole house. We chose neutral colours for the carpet and wall paint, so that we could change our decor as we settled into the house and found our style.
Now that a majority of the house has been painted we truly have a blank canvas to start with. The house is very much still a work in progress, but there are a few spaces we want to start putting our personal touches on.
We have a 2.25m x 2.25m blank wall in our master bedroom and another similar size wall in the home office / guest room. After a recent trip to Ikea where we walked out buying a great many things we didn’t go there for (doesn’t everyone), I was dreaming up gallery walls for each of these spaces.
So when I got home, I did some quick measuring of the spaces and opened up my copy of Adobe Illustrator. I'm a visual person and this really helped me create a visual guide of my ideas without having to spend a huge amount of money printing out photos and prints before I knew where I wanted to put them.
I created a canvas of 2.25mx2.25m so that I could work to scale of the wall spaces I have to create wall galleries.
Since there is literally nothing on the wall in the master bedroom, I just started with a blank canvas and added a wall colour layer as a guide in Adobe Illustrator.
Since I knew I was going to start with frames from IKEA (I chose the EDSBRUK style in white) for the master bedroom, I created templates for those frames in the various sizes I was going to use. Using Adobe Illustrator I started to arrange them into a design that would fill the big empty space.
If your canvas is floor to ceiling like mine is I would recommend adding a guide how far up the wall from the floor you want free from frames. I didn’t when I started and then realised my mistake and had to rearrange to keep at least 0.5m from the floor free.
I wanted to really fill the space with the gallery wall in the master bedroom, and as we still haven’t really printed any of our wedding photo’s since we got married, I chose to make this our “Wedding Wall”.
I increased the stroke size to my frames to indicate the white frames. Then I filled with a light grey to indicate the matt boards. Next of course I added a frame for the image sizes for each frame size. After I had my layout of frames on my canvas I started filling the frames with the images of my choosing.
This first layout is a hero grid style that really fills the wall space. I think as much as I like the layout, it was a bit much, it was a lot of frames and prints to buy and print.
The next layout I am playing with is hero oval style with 1 large 61x91cm frame in the centre and the gathered frames are 30x40cm. I think this layout is something I am leaning towards.
All I need now is to get the images printed to size and hang the gallery wall. I cannot wait to show you the finished result, but for now at least I have this amazing mockup to share with you. I can also use the measure tool in Illustrator to check how far from the wall edge a frame should be so I thing hanging will be a breeze.
For the office room I took a photo of the wall including the sofa-pull-out-bed so that I could have a rough guide of how the final look of the space would be. This one I wanted a little more minimalist, since the wall would be the back drop for my work video conferences and I also don’t want it to be too personal with family photos.
I am still playing with what I will end up putting in the frames, I did however decide that a simple Trio in A2 Frames would look nice above our new guest sofa-bed.
How to Create Gallery Wall Designs with Adobe Illustrator
Create the Art boards and Frames in Illustrator
Start by measuring your space and the frames you have, if you don't have the frames yet that's okay, just measure the space.
Create an art board in adobe illustrator from the measurements of your space.
Next use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create the frames to size from your measured frames. If you don't have frames yet you can start with standard sizes like A0, A1, A2 & A3 etc.
Deciding on the Layout
Play with the layout and spacing between frames. If some of the frames have larger borders than others you can adjust the stroke pts to help visualise how this will effect the overall layout.
Adjust the colour of the stroke to match the frames different colours it will help you get an idea of overall colour and balance.
There are many types of layouts to go with, ask yourself; what works with the space? what works with your style? and of course what works with your bank account? Frames and prints can really start to add up when you start going big and/or many.
Choose a Theme for the Gallery Wall
Choosing a theme will help with the overall design but also helps you narrow down the choices of what to put into the pile of possible prints.
Now start filling the frames with your photos, artworks or images of the objects to be hung in your gallery wall.
Move them around to different frames until you find the frame or position that works for your design.
Side Note : Gallery walls can have more than just photos or prints in them so start thinking creatively. If you have an object you want to add into the mix measure it photograph it and make a frame so that you can size it properly into the design. Use the rectangle tool with the masking tool to help keep it to scale.