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When to Use Illustrator and When to Use Photoshop

Posted on April 2, 2012

Category: General

In a previous post we detailed a few of the ways in which Illustrator and Photoshop (both softwares produced by the renowned Adobe coding house) are quite different. Obviously, it was an article meant for new graphic designers, as is this one. However, even a senior graphic designer may still find a bit of grey area when it comes to using either program for a project. When do you know which will serve your purposes better? If you’ve never stopped to think about it, or are new to the scene and simply don’t know enough, then stick around! We’ll be detailing a few of the projects below that Photoshop is best served for, as well as a few that only Illustrator is capable of producing.

Posters: We’ve seen certain intrepid designers produce posters in Illustrator, but if you ask us, there’s really no better way to put out a piece of print advertising than with Photoshop. Why? For a number of reasons, Junior, and thanks for asking! You see, the natural media look and tone you can achieve with Photoshop simply cannot be obtained with Illustrator. When creating something, especially gig posters, that needs to look gritty, urban, or otherwise real-world ready, we simply cannot deal without the brushes and filters included with Photoshop. Furthermore, we find color blending and naturalizing a much smoother process in a raster editor than we do a vector one.

Logos: Without fail, you should always produce a log in Illustrator, or at the very least, some other vector editor. This is a crucial point to understand, and if you mess it up, your clients are sure to know. You see, a logo needs to be stretched, pulled or otherwise manipulated to fit a variety of situations and products. To do this without any sort of distortion or digital wear and tear, the image needs to be vectorized. This prevents any change in the look of the logo, which is crucial to ensuring the integrity of the graphic no matter where it is placed. Also, it’s much easier to change minute details like logo color or effect in Illustrator than it is Photoshop. And if worse comes to worse, you can always apply a few filters in Photoshop to counteract an otherwise bland Illustrator-based design.

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