Photoshop vs Illustrator, Which One Should I Use?

Photoshop vs Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop versus Adobe Illustrator, which one should I use? This is one of the most common questions from new designers. I’m sure most of you have heard of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator as they are Adobe’s most popular graphics programs. If you are new to the world of graphic design, you might not know which one to use for a project. On the surface they both look very similar, with similar interfaces and features. In this post I will teach you the main differences between the two and make sure you know whether to use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, depending on your project.

If you are just starting out in the design industry, Adobe Photoshop is probably the program you have heard of. You might have heard people saying “that’s photo-shopped” when looking at someone’s Instagram picture. The main thing that makes Photoshop different is that it is raster based. In simple terms this means everything you create is made up of a grid of pixels, also known as a bitmap. Most images you see on the internet and on your computer are raster graphics. Photoshop files save as a .psd file.

Why Would I Use Anything Else?

They are great for creating detailed and rich images, because you have can have a different colour in each pixel. However, the disadvantage of raster graphics is that they can’t be scaled up and keep the same level of detail. In other words, if you have ever got an image off Google and made it bigger you will know that it makes the image blurry. This is because the image only contains a certain number of pixels. The closer you zoom in on the picture, the more pixels become visible. Also, because there are so many pixels in an image the file sizes tend to be large.

The alternative, Adobe Illustrator is vector based instead of raster based. Vector graphics are made using points that connect to make lines and images using mathematical formulas. The technical side of it is not important you just need to know when to use it. Illustrator files save as an .ai file.

Why Would I Use Illustrator?

The answer is because Illustrator is vector based you can scale up or down anything you create, without losing quality and keeping it crisp. However, when scaled up a lot, little errors in vector graphics can become visible. Vector graphics are better to use if you are creating a logo or anything that needs to be printed or displayed in a different size. Although it can be resized without losing quality, a disadvantage of Illustrator is that it is hard to modify images that have already been created as there aren’t many filters or image editing tools within the app.

What should I use, Photoshop or Illustrator?
Type of WorkIllustratorPhotoshop
Photo EditingAdobe Photoshop vs Adobe Illustrator
Web DesignWeb Design with Photoshop
Digital ArtPhotoshop or IllustratorPhotoshop vs Illustrator
Creating LogosAdobe Photoshop
Business Cards or FlyersBest software for ceating Business Cards or Flyers


In conclusion, should I use Photoshop or Illustrator? When you are just beginning, I recommend you spend a good amount of time on both of them. Some people say that learning Photoshop is easier to learn, however, if you are creating a logo, Photoshop would be pointless. In short, instead of deciding Photoshop or Illustrator, use both! To sum up, the tools are intended to work with each other, and by doing this you will take your design skills to the next level. The most basic thing you should know is when and what to use each software for. Most of all make sure you have fun with your designs and build an amazing graphics design portfolio.

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