Which Adobe Design Program Do I Need? The Simplified Guide

Choosing between Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

If you’re new to graphic design, getting familiar with the software can be the most difficult part of the learning process. You know what you want to create, you just don’t know how to do it. This is where our videos come in.

But sometimes you don’t even know what program you will need. If you have the Adobe Creative Cloud (which we are currently GIVING AWAY on our Facebook page) or a version of the Adobe Creative Suite, you have a number of tools at your disposal that you may not know what to do with. This guide is for you.

First we’ll be covering the core design applications, and in a later post we will cover the audiovisual tools.


 Adobe Photoshop

It’s the world’s most popular graphic design and photo editing program, bar none. And we have excellent training for it, whether you’re interested in photography or web design. One important factor to consider when starting a project in Photoshop is that it uses a raster-based drawing system, not vector (with some exceptions). If you’re planning on resizing your images to very large and/or very small sizes, Photoshop is not going to be the best choice. Company logos are out.

USE Photoshop if you want to:

– Colour correct and manipulate photos or 2D art.

– Create graphics for a website.

– Create fixed-size print or web ads.

– Design or edit textures for 3D models or video games.

– Create basic 3D art and animation.

 Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is an excellent vector-based drawing tool that you should look to first when you want to make a scalable design. It’s excellent for logos, icons, user interfaces, and scanned or original artwork. We’ve got beginner and advanced training for it, too.

USE Illustrator if you want to:

– Draw and edit 2D art that can be perfectly scaled to any size.

– Design mockups or wireframes of application or web interfaces.

– Create type-based designs for print or the web.

– Scan and trace drawings.

– Create title effects to export for use in videos or animation.

 Adobe InDesign 

InDesign is the print and layout king. While it has been expanded in recent years to include a lot of web and interactive features, its tools are most at home when designing documents and forms you actually plan to print. Our InDesign training can be found here.

USE InDesign if you want to:

– Create a print-quality book or ebook.

– Create professional newsletters, newspapers, and pamphlets.

– Create forms and documents to be exported as PDFs.

– Have complete control over typography and text.

– Create interactive or web documents with the look and feel of print.


This is just a starting point. For almost every suggestion we’ve given, you can find people out there who have pushed a program to its limits and done the opposite! But if you’re a beginner, it’s best to work with the tool that’s made for the job you’re trying to do.

Practice your skills, keep being creative, and you’ll learn how to use these design tools to their full potential, on their own and even together in advanced workflows.






Did I mention we are GIVING AWAY a free year of the Creative Cloud? Check it out on Facebook.



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