There are good reasons for completing maps in Adobe Illustrator (Ai). Illustrator is intuitive and layer-based. Compared to the clunky Layout workspace in ArcGIS, Ilustrator’s Artboards are great for editing, proofing, and printing. ArcGIS exports directly to the Ai native format, though there are few caveats (text and transparency handling).
See the documents below for help on bringing in vector and raster files from ArcGIS 10.2 into Adobe Illustrator CC.
My students put this map together for Bogus Basin Ski Area, Idaho in 2013. Only a portion of the map is shown here. To create it, we first assembled our data layers in Arc (GIS files, aerial photos, scanned images, GPS data, and field notes). With all layers positioned and scaled correctly, we exported to Illustrator to complete the cartography (colors, line weights, text, marginalia, etc.). Last, we save as a PDF and send the poster to the plotter. Proof the hardcopy, make corrections to the Ai file, re-save as PDF, and send to plotter.
Instructions by Alex Edwards, Sarah Jamison & Kimberly Corwin (2015)
Students from my Advanced GIS class at Boise State University, Spring 2015
Cartographic Workflow: ArcGIS to Adobe Illustrator by Skye Cooley (2016)
Cartographic Workflow_ArcGIS to Adobe Illustrator_SkyeCooley_2016
Cartography looks better with Illustrator.
Ai gives you richer text and better fill/outline functionality as well as whole host of other design tools.
Smooth linework is nearly impossible to make look good in ArcGIS, but its easy in Ai.