At Village Print & Media, we are often asked about the best programs and file types to use when designing print projects. Below is a quick summary of what you need to know when designing for print using the Adobe Creative Suite.

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are three of the most commonly used Adobe 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, and the best final file types for each:

Adobe Photoshop (PSD)

Best for: Raster graphics, photo editing and manipulation, filters and special effects

File types: Save as a JPEG or TIFF at the actual dimensions of the final product with a minimum resolution of 300dpi

Adobe Illustrator (AI)

Best for: Vector graphics, logo design, shapes and line art

File types: Save as a PDF, EPS, outlined AI file, or package the native AI file and send it as a zipped folder

Adobe InDesign (IDD)

Best for: Typesetting, composition­, multi-page layouts, exporting for print

File types: Export as a print-ready PDF with at least 0.125 bleed and crop marks, or package the native IDD file and send it as a zipped folder

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.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to your sales rep or our design team at design@villageprint.com

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