Should you use Photoshop or Illustrator? Either can be powerful tools for any designer or business. While both are similar, understanding their differences is very important.


The last thing you want to do, is create a design in one, that should have been created with the other. Confused yet? No worries. I’m going to try my best to explain. We’ll start by giving you a basic understanding of each, and then we will move on to what you can and cant, or should or shouldn’t, do with each.

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Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool. As the name indicates, the primary use is with photography. The tools within the program are specifically meant for editing images. While that is its primary use, it can be used to do many different things. From logo design to web design, but once you step out of it’s primary use, you start to find limitations. The main point here is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.


Adobe Illustrator is also a powerful tool. The primary purpose of illustrator is as the name indicates, to create illustrations. You can create them from scratch or you can import images or scanned drawings to use as a guide. Illustrator also has its share of limitations.


As mentioned above, you can use photoshop for editing images. That is its primary purpose. You can also use it to create composites or digital art. Photoshop has a huge array of special effects and tools, that can create some pretty amazing artwork. You can use it to create printable material as well. Items like business cards, flyers and brochures. You can even design websites using Photoshop. Many websites start out as a design mockup right out of Photoshop. Below is a list of things you can safely do with Photoshop.

  • Business Cards
  • Flyers
  • Photo Touchups
  • Photo Manipulation
  • Digital Art
  • Brochures
  • Website Mockups
  • Banners
  • Headers
  • Composite Photos
  • Web Graphics
  • GIF Animations


Adobe Illustrator as mentioned can be used to create illustrations. It can also me used for much more. Illustrator is one of the main programs used to create logos for businesses. While illustrator does not handle special effects as well as Photoshop, it handles geometry very well. Illustrator has a special power that Photoshop does not have. It vector based, where Photoshop is based on pixels. Vector/Raster. The biggest difference is scalability. You can create something in Illustrator and scale it to just about any size. If you try this in Photoshop you will end up with pixelated images. Below is a list of things you can do safely with Illustrator.

  • Logo Design
  • Business Signs
  • Illustrations/Drawings
  • Stickers
  • Icons
  • Packaging Designs
  • Vehicle Wraps

The best thing to remember is this. If you are dealing with a lot of images, Photoshop is probably best. If scalability matters and you are dealing with shapes or lines, Illustrator is the right choice.

While potentially you could use either of these programs to create what you want. You will likely run into limitations at some point. For example. If you create a logo in Photoshop. And the guy making the business sign, needs your logo, he is likely not going to accept a photoshop file as it does not scale properly. You would basically have to create the logo again using vectors. That’s why it is always best to use the right tool for the job. So hopefully this leads you in the right direction.

If you don’t want to take the chance, you can always contact us to handle any of your design needs.

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