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You’d don’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail, and you do not use a hammer with a screw. I mean, you might be in a situation where you #lifehack, but overall, you use certain tools to accomplish certain tasks. The same goes for Adobe Creative Cloud: Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Each piece of software in the Creative Cloud serves a purpose. While there are thousands of articles online teaching you how to make an e-book using Photoshop, you are essentially using the wrong tool for the job. Your results will never quite look as right as if you used the correct software (InDesign).
Photoshop is a photo editing software, a pixel-based program. It’s great for animated gifs, mockups of products or printed work, photo manipulation, and photo editing (color balance, brightness, saturation). Photoshop tends to be the most familiar piece of software.
Use Photoshop for photographs, blog post and social media graphics, collages, and mood boards. Do not use Photoshop for any graphics, logos, text-heavy documents, text layout, etc. When you scale Photoshop files, you lose quality.
Logos and media kits created in Photoshop will NOT be as crisp and formatted as beautifully as if they were created in Illustrator and InDesign, respectively. Using Photoshop to create any text-based or logo-based graphic will significantly limit you as well as impact the quality.
Unlike Photoshop, Illustrator is a vector-based program, ideal for creating logos, illustrations, patterns, icons, and infographics. A vector is an image or graphic that if you stretch really big or really small, it will not blur because it is based on mathematical formulas. For most of my studio work, I use Illustrator. With Illustrator, you can create graphics that are crisp in clean no matter how you scale.
Use Illustrator for logos, patterns, and icons. Do not use Illustrator for any photo-based or text-heavy documents. I use Illustrator for Notecards and Business cards because I’m so familiar with the platform that I prefer it over InDesign. It’s also easy to adjust Illustrator documents and specs.
Where Photoshop and Illustrator are distinctly different, InDesign plays nice with both pieces of software. InDesign allows you to easily drop in photos, crop and create simple illustrations and shapes, along with page options (absent in both Photoshop and Illustrator).
Use InDesign for type-heavy documents such as media kits, resumes, e-books, brochures, flyers, print files, text wrapping and multiple-page documents. You do not use InDesign for creating logos or editing photographs. Think of InDesign as where you put together both Illustrator illustrations and Photoshop graphics.
For most bloggers, the Creative Cloud package that includes only Photoshop and Lightroom suffices their needs. Photoshop is used for creating blog post and social media graphics, and Lightroom is for batch editing lifestyle photographs. Nevertheless, you might find yourself needing to use Illustrator or InDesign. Creative Cloud also offers a free 7-day trial, so when you are ready to play around with a different platform, take full advantage of the trial!
Canva is a very popular, free, tool used for blog post and Pinterest graphics. However, I am not a fan. You just can’t do as much with Canva as you can with Photoshop. I truly believe that your photography and blog posts are what will elevate your blog and brand, so taking the time to learn basic Photoshop and Lightroom skills will go a long way.
For more about design basics — click here.