Photoshop vs. Illustrator
Write By: Katie Dooley

Photoshop is an amazing tool that has changed how we look at the world. From removing a pimple in your high school class photo, to entirely warping a woman’s body in a magazine, there’s not much that Photoshop can’t do. 

Photoshop has also worked its way into people’s everyday vocabulary. “Look how Photoshopped that is!” “Can you just Photoshop that out?” I would guess that most people under the age of 50 have heard of Photoshop.

Did you know that there are other programs made by the same company, Adobe? In the graphic design world, we also use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign in addition to Photoshop. Each of these tools has different purposes in graphic design. So, when someone says,  “I have Photoshop. I’ll just create my own logo,” we cringe pretty hard. 

Photoshop is NEVER meant for logos, ever. Adobe actually did a great job naming its products. Photoshop is for photos. It is for raster-based, or pixel imagery. This means that anything created on Photoshop has a finite size. While not inherently bad to have a finite file size, it could be limiting for your business later on. For example, we are helped a client with her logo created in Photoshop. It was 3” wide. If she ever wants to create a billboard, or vehicle wrap, maybe a tote bag, the largest the logo could be on these pieces is 3”. Artists that create beautiful digital illustrations in Photoshop use massive file sizes to get the image quality and size they need.

Some things we use Photoshop for include:

• Clipping objects out of photos 

• Removing blemishes

• Colour adjustments — brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.

• Creating photo mockups for branding

Illustrator, on the other hand, is meant for graphic illustrations. It is vector-based software. Vector images can be scaled to ANY size, and still manage to have fairly reasonable file sizes. This is great if you’re building a logo because then it will fit both on a massive billboard and on a tiny business card. 

We use Illustrator for the majority of our work at Paper Lime Creative, including:

• Logo design

• Development of graphic elements

• Simple layout work (business cards, postcards, etc)

Just like when you’re doing a home renovation, it’s important to use the right tools for the right job. This ensures that your work will stand the test of time because it was built properly. So often we see business owners getting stuck with something that doesn’t work for them, or stuck paying even more to fix it. 

If you ever hear someone say they will make you a logo in Photoshop — run the other way!