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When to use Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign

These three graphic apps are very powerful in their own right, but would You create an 8 page catalog in Illustrator or Photoshop or create a company logo in Indesign? Using the right app for the right project makes the design process better and design becomes more efficient because designers can work faster to create more options for their clients in less time.

Adobe Photoshop

The app was originally designed as a comprehensive solution for creating, editing and retouching any type of raster image. Since then, Photoshop has evolved a full slate of tools that allow users to do so much more. Fine artists use it to draw, sketch and even paint digitally. Photographers use it to adjust and transform their photos with color and lighting. Production designers use it to create web-ready digital images.

Use Photoshop when
  • It’s time to retouch photos. Need to color correct a photo? Or tame some flyaway hair? Or digitally zap a zit? Photoshop = photos. And there’s no better tool.
  • You need to edit artwork for digital or print. That could be a photo, painting, drawing, or anything else. Photoshop is the right tool to make sure every line, shadow and texture is in place. Then, you can use that artwork anywhere, either on its own or in a Illustrator or InDesign project.
  • You want digital images for the web like social media images, banner ads, email headers, videos etc. Creating these images in Photoshop will ensure they’re right size and optimized for the web.
  • You have to create a website or app mockup. Layers make it easy to move UI elements around, and because Photoshop is a pixel-based editing program, you’ll know that your design is sized correctly for any screen size.
  • You want to get fancy with animation and video. Today, cameras can not only shoot fantastic photos, but they can also capture some pretty sweet video, too. Photoshop makes it easy to cut together simple video clips and add graphics, filters, text, animation and more.

Instead of Photoshop, Use another app when:

  • You need to create a Logo. Logos need to be resizable and Photoshop is Not equipped to create vector-base Artwork.
  • Layouts with lots of text. Photoshop does Not handle large amount of texts Specially when you have Paragraphs of text.

Adobe Illustrator

Since Illustrator is vector base, anything You create in Illustrator can be sized down to a emoji-con to a billboard-size in Times Square.

Use Illustrator when
  • You need to create a logo, icon or brand mascot. Every vector shape and line created in Illustrator can be blown up to any size, which makes it ideal for images that need to be used in many different ways.
  • You want a one-page print piece. Illustrator is perfect for posters, business cards, flyers and notecards. The app’s powerful vector tools to create visually punchy headlines that can be combined with other raster images.
  • You need to set type for a logo. Illustrator’s typesetting features are incredibly powerful, enabling any text to be transformed into a fully editable shape that can be stretched, skewed and transformed any way imaginable.
Instead of Illustrator, use another app when:
  • You need to edit a Photo. If You use a raster Image in your composition, Illustrator has very few tools to edit it.
  • You need to build a multi-page document. Although Illustrator can do multipage layouts, it lacks page-layout tools such as master pages, table of contents or auto Page numbering.

Adobe Indesign

Adobe developed InDesign for the desktop publishing market, and it’s primarily used to layout newspapers, magazines, books, posters and flyers. Pretty much anything with large amounts of text should go straight into InDesign.

Use Indesign when
  • You need to layout a multi-page, text-heavy piece. Print or digital, InDesign was made to layout text, period. If you’re designing a magazine, brochure or booklet, you’ll want to make this your first stop. Of the three applications, InDesign has the most robust typesetting features available, and it integrates with Adobe Digital Publishing Solution, allowing you to create fully interactive e-books, magazines, and other digital publications.

Instead of Indesign, use another app when:
  • You need to design for smaller jobs (like business cards and flyers). Illustrator can work just as well.
  • You need to edit images. InDesign has little to no image editing capabilities. Photoshop can make more comprehensive adjustments like color, contrast and brightness.
  • You need to design a logo. InDesign can create limited shapes, but if you need a logo for your document, design it first in Illustrator and then import it.

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