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Adobe App Guide for New Designers: Part One

by Margaret Penney | February 2, 2017

The Adobe Creative Suite is a robust set of tools for virtually any kind of design project. What can be confusing for beginners is figuring out which application to use for any given creative task. In truth, there is some crossover between all the Adobe applications (and this is part of what makes them so versatile and useful), but there are still some rules for which application is best!

In this NOD article series, we will detail the strengths of each app. First up, Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign, and Lightroom.


  • Best for creating raster, pixel-based digital graphics
  • Great for digital image processing, via Actions
  • Good for photo editing and basic photo correction
  • Best for adding effects and layering techniques to raster-based images and photos
  • Good for creating animated Gifs
  • Web banner ads
  • Basic 3D images


  • Best for creating vector illustration and artwork
  • Good for refined typographic design
  • Great for creating illustrations
  • Great for designing infographics
  • Great for creating icons and symbols
  • Great for designing logotype and logomarks
  • Good for designing single-page posters and postcards with lots of artwork.
  • Good for designing patterns


  • Best for multi-page publications
  • Best for books, ebooks and magazines
  • Good for newsletters and brochures
  • Good for business cards and letterhead


  • Great for fine-tuned photo correction
  • Great for batch photo processing
  • Great for adding high-quality visual effects to photos
  • Best for organizing image galleries
  • Great for creating excellent photo prints

Come back next week to find out when to use Dreamweaver, Flash, Animate, and Acrobat.


Margaret Penney is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Margaret is a teacher, designer, writer and new media artist and founder of Hello Creative Co.


Need to update your skills? Sessions College offers a range of online Creative Cloud courses in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more, as well as Certificate Programs in Web Design.

This blog is powered by Sessions College, the leading online school of visual arts.

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