by Emily McNally

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are three of the most commonly used Adobe Creative Suite programs by graphic designers, especially those who specialize in print design. While there is a bit of an overlap among them in terms of basic capabilities, they are not easily interchangeable. Each has its own set of core strengths, and when used correctly, these three programs work great together as a team. Here’s a quick rundown of what each program should be used for depending on what you’re designing:

Adobe Photoshop
Raster graphics
Photo editing and manipulation
Filters and special effects

Adobe Illustrator
Vector graphics
Logo design
Shapes and line art

Adobe InDesign
Multi-page layouts
Exporting for print

When designing for print, elements from Photoshop and Illustrator often come together in InDesign for final composition and print preparation. For example, let’s say you were working on designing a brochure for a small business. Photoshop would be the program of choice for retouching the company’s photos; Illustrator would be the program of choice for perfecting the company’s logo; and InDesign would be the program of choice for typesetting and laying out the composition of the brochure, which would include the photos and logo designed in the other programs.”

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This article first appeared on Village Print & Media, October 27, 2015. Minor adjustments have been made.