Graphic Design

Photoshop vs. Illustrator – When to Choose Which?


Photoshop and Illustrator have become such huge brands that businesses are turning to them for their design needs. But it’s essential to understand the difference when it comes to Photoshop vs. Illustrator. This post will shed some light on that.

What Exactly Does Photoshop Do?

Photoshop is designed primarily for creating and editing photos. It was first created for photographers, but since that time, the market has grown, and Photoshop became a household brand. It has become a way to create web pages, video graphics, and even extravagant interfaces. Plus, it’s a very straightforward program to learn.

However, when it comes to comprehensive designs like logos, Photoshop drops the ball. It’s going to cost you both time and money to create a logo in Photoshop, and once you’re done, you’ll be left with an image that you cannot manipulate in the same way you could with Illustrator.

When Does Illustrator Come into Play?

Illustrator works off vectors to create perfect and smooth lines. It’s used for editing and creating works based on vectors. So, Illustrator works wonders with logos and website design elements.

In layman’s terms, vectors are images that are scalable and can be sized in whatever way you want without losing quality. Remember, Photoshop works with a single image file, so these are not always going to be clear when their size is scaled. That’s where Illustrator comes into play.

With that in mind, Illustrator is not the best choice when it comes to creating documents that contain multiple pages or with intricate images. Photoshop is a much better choice for editing photos than requires the removal of specific objects.

Photoshop vs. Illustrator: When Photoshop Wins

Photoshop is pixel-based, so when you are manipulating individual photos on a pixel level, then it’s going to be the best choice. It’s also the easiest to use since it is created for use by the average person. If all you need are some graphics to go on a blog or some interesting images to add to social media posts, then Photoshop is a great choice.

Just remember that you will not be able to resize images in Photoshop efficiently. Plus, they won’t be as crisp, but if all you need is an image to add in with the latest Facebook post, then Photoshop quality will be excellent.

If an image requires text or other character-based design, then you will find that Photoshop is quite limiting.

Times When you Should Not Use Photoshop

Do not try creating logos or other intricate designs with Photoshop. Even though you can create a logo using this program, once you have created the image, its use will become limited. You can’t manipulate it like you could a vector form. The rule of thumb is that designs that need to be edited without being pixelated should not be done in Photoshop.

Photoshop Pros

  • Photoshop is easy to use and has a ton of powerful features that are amazing at editing images that are not going to be resized.
  • Photoshop allows users to edit every pixel of their images. So removing an element from the picture is easy.

Photoshop Cons

  • Images created in Photoshop can look jagged under certain conditions due to their pixelated nature. Scaling up or down will cause these images to lose quality.

Photoshop vs. Illustrator: When Illustrator Wins

Vector graphics images can either be stretched extremely large or extremely small, with no change in quality. Some examples include logos, icons, and infographics. The illustrator should always be your program of choice for vector-based images since Photoshop will lose quality when resizing images due to its pixel nature.

In short, use Illustrator for logos and web design elements. As far as text-based images, you’ll want to reserve most of those for InDesign, which is also part of the Adobe Suite. But you can use Illustrator for notecards and business cards since it will be printed.

Even that having been said, Illustrator is a very powerful graphic editing tool – even more powerful than Photoshop. But these advanced features come with the drawback that it’s more difficult to navigate.

Times When you Should Not Use Illustrator

You cannot edit just any image type using Illustrator. It must be an image created in Illustrator. That’s why I highly recommend using it to create logos and other images that you will need to edit change often. However, I do not recommend that you create images for social media posts and blogs using this program since it would take way longer than using Photoshop.

Illustrator Pros

  • Graphics created in Illustrator will never lose quality when being scaled since they are vector-based.
  • Illustrator images are more print-friendly since they are not dependent on resolution. Therefore, they can be printed in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Illustrator Cons

  • Illustrator is bad at editing images created in other applications. So, an image created in Photoshop will be almost impossible to edit in Illustrator.

Why Illustrator is the King of Logo Design

You always want to create logos using Illustrator because you’ll need the ability to resize them to meet all demands. For instance, logos are used on business cards, websites, brochures, and all other marketing material. Therefore, you need the ability to resize and reshape it as necessary.

So even though you can create a logo using Photoshop, you should restrict that task to Illustrator. The problem with Photoshop is that you will lose quality if you try to change the size of an image created in this program. Your logo will become blurry and distorted.

Here is an infographic to help you understand the features and difference between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop:


If you need help with using Illustrator, then you might need to outsource this to one of the many illustration services. The fact is that images that require Illustrator are going to be your most important ones so it’s essential that you get this right. With that said, in the battle of Photoshop vs. Illustrator, neither side is a clear-cut winner or loser. Each program has its own uses.

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