It can be frustrating as a designer when we receive files put together in the wrong application. While pros intuitively know which software to use, those new to Adobe apps might not understand which is best. Just like a dentist knows which dental tool to use, designers need to know which application is best for the task at hand: Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.
Photoshop is primarily for editing photos and creating images that need special effects. In addition, you can layout webpage designs, create animated GIF files, and banner ads. With Photoshop, it’s probably more important to know what NOT to use it for:
- Don’t use Photoshop to create logos.
- Don’t use Photoshop for small type.
Since Photoshop is a bitmap program, you can’t easily resize things to make them larger. For example, if you create a logo in Photoshop and need it on the side of a truck, you are in trouble. Photoshop will not deliver text that is as crisp as Illustrator or InDesign – which are vector based – so small text is a bad idea.
Illustrator is perfect for creating logos, infographics, and mocking up websites. Vectors are great because they are small and resizable. They are very crisp, and don’t rely on pixels for clarity. You can import stylized Photoshop images into Illustrator for a poster so you get the bells & whistles of Photoshop, but the clear text of Illustrator.
You can create things like logos or realistic artwork and import them into Photoshop or InDesign. Illustrator is also object-oriented, so you can change colors very easily. Illustrator does not have automatic page numbering or Master pages like InDesign.
InDesign is designed to create multi-page documents for print or digital. This includes catalogs, books, brochures, and digital apps. InDesign imports graphics from Photoshop or Illustrator and puts them in one place where text can be anchored and wrap around them. If your project is very text-heavy with lots of different styles and sizes, InDesign is the right tool.