Roberto Blake

One of the things a lot of graphic designer struggle with is what tool to use in a specific situation. Too often, folks rely on their default program of choice (usually Adobe Photoshop), although this may not be the best program to use in given situation.
Different situations call for you to use different apps to produce the results that you want. For example, one case where you should use Adobe Illustrator instead of Photoshop is logo design. While it's true that Photoshop is capable of producing vector graphics, this is not its native function. Illustrator, on the other hand deals vector graphics as its main function, and as a result it has more tools to appropriately produce scalable logos. And making artwork that can scale to any size is one of the fundamentals in logo design.
Photoshop is appropriate to use for photo editing, photo manipulation, and composite artwork. Illustrator is best suited to logo design, certain aspects of branding, scalable vector graphic artwork, technical illustration, typography, and pattern-making. Adobe InDesign is best suited for jobs like print work, packaging, magazine layouts, and e-publishing.
Combining the power of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign

There are also times when you can use these programs in combination to achieve the desired result. For example, in designing a print poster you may use a combination of Photoshop, illustrator, and InDesign. You could use Photoshop to perform the digital artwork and photo manipulation jobs, such as removing people and objects from backgrounds, and rendering any digital effects that you want to use to create the right atmosphere. Then you could use Illustrator to incorporate things like logos to promote sponsors or companies affiliated with the poster, and even potentially the title treatment. InDesign could be used to lay out the poster, add any necessary body copy, and prepare the job for printing.

Illustrator and InDesign

A case when you might use just Illustrator and InDesign is in the production of a business card. Again, Illustrator would be used to create the logo and potentially any iconic graphics (like an email, telephone, and web icons). InDesign would be used to arrange the layout of the business card, and prepare it for printing with bleeds, if necessary.

Illustrator and Photoshop

If you need to design a piece of typographic artwork to be distributed across the web, consider using a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator. Photoshop can add more depth of the artwork (including 3-D elements) to make the design more interesting. For example, you might produce a very interesting piece of art using Illustrator, but it may just feel flat or you might want to add some more organic elements to it utilizing Photoshop brushes and gradients. If this artwork will not be printed as a poster you probably don't need to use InDesign at all.

Choose the Right Tool for the Job—Not Your Favorite Tool

It's important for a graphic designer to have a proper understanding of which tools and software are appropriate to use in any given situation for their clients—and to advise those clients of how to utilize the assets appropriately. Just because you may have more experience as a designer in one application does not mean that tool will produce the best results. 
Software suites like Adobe Creative Cloud allow designers to create workflows between different software applications, and use the best tools at their disposal all in their projects. Applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign share many common interface elements and shortcut keys to help you move smoothly between each application. 
It's true that having to go outside your comfort zone and learn to use different tools and software can be challenging, but its worth the effort. In the long run, you'll spend less time to get better results, and end up with happier clients.

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