A Designer's Shortcut to Adobe

When I was first introduced to the Adobe Suite, I was overwhelmed by the amount of programs and possibilities. I remember thinking “What’s the big difference between Photoshop and Illustrator?” and “Why do I need to use InDesign?”


Through college, work experiences, and a TON of hours of trial and error, I’ve been able to confidently master my programs of choice as a designer. So, here’s my shortcut to navigating my favorite 3 Adobe programs:



Photoshop is a raster based program, meaning that it produces files comprised of pixels. When photos or designs look blurry, this means that they have a low resolution and not enough pixels to support its size. For this reason, Photoshop should be used for photo based designs instead of illustration or text based designs.


Use Photoshop for:

·      Photo manipulation

·      Small format prints

·      Photo based emails

·      Gifs



Illustrator is used for vector based files (a.k.a not comprised of pixels). A vector file means that it can be blown up to any size and will retain its clarity. Illustrator also allows you to create art within it – whether you’re designing logos or painting a sunset, Illustrator gives you the tools to make your creations come to life.


Use Illustrator for:

·      Logos

·      Large format prints

·      Illustrations

·      Text/line image based emails

·      Stationery


InDesign is a program best used for formatting – think of it like a Photoshop for magazines. It allows you to create layouts for books, magazines, pamphlets – anything for which you would need multiple pages. It also is great for formatting single page designs like posters or flyers.   


Use InDesign for:

·      Books

·      Style Guides

·      Pamphlets

·      Magazines

·      Posters



Of course there are a multitude of other Adobe programs that you can use to your advantage as a designer, but these are my most frequently used platforms. Hopefully these tips were helpful in understanding the quick basics! Happy designing!


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