Illustrator vs Photoshop: when to use each

Should Photoshop only be used to touch up photos or is it okay to use it for flyer and business card designs? Is everything to be done in Illustrator that goes outside the realm of touching up or editing photos?


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Method 1

Indeed Photoshop’s main purpose is editing raster images (eg. photos and other non-vector artwork). That said it does use some vector features, it can work with fonts and print resolutions, so no problem. There is nothing to stop you from doing flyers/business cards in Photoshop.

As you gain experience you will learn which type of artwork works better with PS, AI or ID. Some jobs can be resolved in either software, but they do have specific features why sometimes you will choose one over the other.

In my experience I would say its generally best to separate like this (but exceptions can be made):

  • Photoshop for editing photos (in either print or non-print resolutions)
  • Illustrator for editing logos, symbols, icons, or other more complex vector work
  • Indesign to make layouts, eg. putting together Photoshop edited photos and Illustrator edited vector work into a real-world item, be that a banner, flyer, brochure, etc

Method 2

You can use Photoshop to do vector work very effectively. The work flow is much slower and less intuitive than Illustrators however. The handling of layers and vector shapes is much “clunkier” than how Illustrator does it.

Photoshop can be used for many things, but to very briefly summarise:

  • Photoshop is for raster image editing
  • Illustrator is for Vector drawing

Conversely, Illustrator will be totally unsuited to doing most Photoshop image editing tasks.

Method 3

I personally use Corel Draw for almost everything. I recently started designing my own business cards and I learned from this guide how to do it with Corel Draw, and I find it to be a simpler software than Photoshop and Illustrator.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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