Adobe Illustrator vs Photoshop

The Adobe Creative Cloud offers an array of programs, all helping users navigate through every aspect of design. From website creation, to video and photo editing, you can find exactly the right tool for the job. As a graphic designer, the two programs that I use most frequently in my day-to-day work are Illustrator and Photoshop.

The Differences

When asked what the difference between the two is, the way I generally summarise it is that whilst Photoshop is pixel based, Illustrator allows you to create artwork using vectors (‘vector’ simply refers to a shape with a defined boundary). For graphic design, the use of vectors has a clear advantage, particularly when you know that your artwork is going to be displayed in large-format, such as billboards and wall coverings. This is because when exported in the correct format, you can ‘blow up’ the artwork to whatever scale you need, and it won’t pixelate or lose its clarity. I’m sure we have all experienced the pain of making a photo bigger, and it turning into a pixelated blur – using vectors in Illustrator will negate this annoyance! 

Essentially, any graphics you want to have hard edges and defined shapes, Illustrator is the tool you need. This is particularly the case in designs that are typography-heavy or incorporate line drawings throughout the composition.

This being said, Photoshop is an incredibly useful and powerful tool to have at your disposal. In terms of editing photos and images, it is unparalleled! When creating artwork where an existing image will form part of the design, I will often pull that asset into Photoshop to edit things like brightness, saturation and other colour settings to help make it ‘pop’ and give it a more confident position in the hierarchy of the artwork. These ‘raster’ graphics can be edited much more finely than you are able to in Illustrator, giving you the ability to add complex shadings and highlights, isolate specific elements within an image and manipulate them to create your desired effect.

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Using the Programs

The UI (User Interface) of both programs are very similar, and for a newcomer, it can be quite intimidating looking at a blank canvas. Even today, I will occasionally find myself searching for how to do something on YouTube! I was lucky enough to have been introduced to both programs while at school, using them in my Photography and Art GCSE’s, Graphic Communication A-Level and Degree in Automotive and Transport Design, as well as using them in my free time to create artworks for family and friends. Transitioning from using them in an educational or leisure capacity, to creating artwork for promotional campaigns in my job was a big shift. I have had to adapt to creating artwork that fit within a particular company’s brand style, using their colours and logos, while also keeping their target audience in mind, to make sure that the work I am creating is relevant and appropriate.

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The Upshot

People will generally feel more confident working with one program over the other, and that’s okay! However, each of them have their advantages and it’s important to be able to utilise both to help create stunning works. For those who have tried one and not the other, the good news is that many of the tools are the same across the two programs, and the files you create are cross-compatible. This means that if you want to have a go editing your Illustrator file in Photoshop, you can simply choose to open it in Photoshop, and your layers and assets will be exactly how you left them. So what are you waiting for? Go and try manipulating your designs in a new way, if you don’t like it, there’s always the ‘Undo’ button!

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What CMe Can Do For You:

With full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud and a highly-skilled design team, we are able to bring your brand to life, creating dynamic and eye-catching designs which will make your company stand out from the crowd. We are able to create media for all outlets, from radio campaigns to large-scale billboard advertisements, and everything else besides. In the nearly 10 years since the forming of CMe Media, we have worked with clients of all types, from startup healthcare and wellbeing practices, to nationwide used car dealership franchises. This means we have the knowledge and experience to create meaningful and impactful designs which will resonate with your target audience.

Speak to us today to discuss how we can position your company in the spotlight!

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