Should I be using Photoshop or Illustrator?

Do you ever ask yourself, should I be using Photoshop or Illustrator for this? If so, then you may need to add even another component to that question. InDesign.

If you answer yes to all 3 following questions, then you might want to consider working in all 3 programs InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator if that is possible for you and especially if you are training to be a professional graphic designer.

Does your project require imagery, as in .jpg or .png files?

Does your project require image creation and editing?

Does your project require type as in words, copy, text etc…?

If you answered yes to all 3 of those questions then yes, you could be using InDesign in conjunction with Photoshop and Illustrator to increase your productivity and output accuracy. Will you have more than one page to your project? If yes, then all the more reason to include InDesign in your mix.

What is InDesign?

InDesign is an Adobe product like Photoshop and Illustrator. InDesign’s purpose is to create layouts that require text, imagery and or graphics. InDesign is a desktop publisher. Desktop publishers go back to the days of the digital revolution in the 1990’s. If you remember the software names Publisher or Quark, then you could be writing this article!

How do you use InDesign?

An ideal workflow would be to use PS (photoshop) and AI (Illustrator) for image creation and editing and ID (InDesign) to create the final document that will bring the imagery and working text together.

There is no difference if the layout is one page, just a few pages, or an entire book InDesign is for all 3 of those scenarios (and more). An art director once told me in a very serious way, as he looked at my one page layout created in Illustrator, “ALL layouts should be done in InDesign.”

I took that on as a challenge and I am glad I did because until then I had used InDesign for documents with more than one page, but I wasn’t using InDesign for ALL layouts.

If I were designing this poster above with all 3 software programs; I would use AI to create the chicken and the flat yellow background. Then use PS to create and add the texture and finally ID to add the text and prep the poster for print.

What is the advantage of using InDesign?

InDesign lets you work creatively, fast, and in organized manner. InDesign is well used when creating any design that involves typography, excluding logos. If it is not a logo, and it has images and or graphics and type, it is a layout. So, let’s say it’s not a logo and it’s a layout. It could be a flyer, a mailer, a cd cover, a brochure, a magazine, or a book. InDesign allows you to collect all your different images (raster or vector based assets) for the project and offers robust text creation tools for the best and fastest typography design including character and paragraph styles. InDesign can be be used for print and digital layouts with options for a print or interactive canvas workspace. By linking images and graphic assets instead of embedding them into the layout the working file size is smaller resulting in less processing power needed to be used by your machine giving your RAM better performance. So, less lag time and glitches while you work. InDesign is a layout publishing workhorse. It’s ideal to use to create the best ready to print PDF print proofs to send to a professional printer.

Do I absolutely need to use InDesign?

No. You can accomplish many layouts, especially one page layouts with Photoshop or Illustrator alone. But Photoshop or Illustrator aren’t the most efficient for designing bodies of typography. InDesign is so efficient for type setting and design because it allows you to add type quickly to the document and it offers the user type editing features for font, color, justification, and many other typography design features with quick selections option boxes. Rather than each type layer being a different layer, as in Photoshop, type is an object in the document that can be easily selected, moved, and manipulated.

The disadvantage of using InDesign

The only disadvantage I see to including ID into your workflow is the learning curve. Most students (including myself way back when) avoid using InDesign because it deceivingly seems unnecessary to most people. It also seems not as fun because it is not considered a creation tool like PS or AI. Once the learning curve is passed it can still be hurtle because of the misconception PS or AI is “faster” so why bother opening yet another software program? Any one that has ever lost an asset file to a document understands why InDesign is so powerful.InDesign offers an option to “collect” all the images, graphics, and fonts scattered around your hard drive and in who know’s what folder to be collected and gathered into one project folder as fast as the click of a button.

In conclusion

If you want to step up your graphic design game or simply speed up your layout workflow, InDesign is a must addition. It is offered with the Adobe creative suite.

Written by Milena Jackson