The Adobe Dilemma - Which program for which job.

So a job comes along, they ask to to create a lovely new business card for their business.....but the question is which is the best program to use to create this work? Well essentially you could you either of the 3 but there a pro's and cons to each and use the wrong one and it could throw you a whole heap of problems. So lets have a look at the 'big 3' and see what the pro's and con's are:


In simple terms this is a photo manipulation program and for manipulating raster based (pixel) artwork. The main things you would use this program for would be:

  • Photo enhancement/manipulation/special effects

  • Web Graphics

  • Video Graphics

  • User Interface design

Pro's of Photoshop

  • Can edit pixel by pixel

  • Huge array of filters, effects and tools

  • Handles layers well so great for organising lots of elements

Con's of Photoshop

  • Being pixel based, fonts and lines can look ragged and pixel data cannot be enlarged without distortion

  • Text capability is limited

  • You cannot create multi page layouts


Never use Photoshop to create logos as being pixel based it doesnt allow for scalability and you lose quality when enlarged also don't use it for setting type for a print project....again quality will be poor when printed. On the plus side its great for adding filters and effects and the photos manipulation options are endless.


So Indesign is for the layout of print materials such as brochures, newsletters and yes you can also do business cards. Basically it can bring together design elements from both illustrator and photoshop and putting them together in the form of blocks of text and images to create the overall page layout. The main things you would use this for would be:

  • Brochures

  • Multi page documents

  • Interactive PDFs

  • Anything that requires a combination of text and image page layout

Pro's of Indesign

  • Can create multi page and master layouts

  • Great text wrap function

  • It links elements from thier original location on your harddrive therefore making the file size much smaller.

Con's of Indesign

  • Its drawing capabilities are limited

  • Limited photo manipulation tools


Indesign is excellent for print design, it packages it up making it easier for the printer. Its also great for text heavy documents. Steer clear if you are wishing to create a logo or manipulate images.


Its basically a vector based drawing program. If you need to create graphics and scalable text based images/logos then this is what you need. Illustrator would be mainly be used for:

  • Logo design

  • Vector Illustrations

  • Type setting

  • Web and motion graphics

Pro's of Illustrator

  • Superior text quality and creation

  • Highly scalable - graphics will retain their quality no matter how big or small you make them.

Con's of Illustrator

  • Even though you can now create multi page projects there is no master page element

  • Limited amount of filters and image editing tools

  • Type wrapping isn't great.


If you need a highly scalable great quality graphic or logo then this is what you need to be using. For me Illustrator would be the first program i'd go to for business card design however saying that i have used Indesign in the past.

So there you go.....hope it's given you a better insight into what each program is good and not so good at.....and which to choose when a project comes your way!!

Bye for now