How I Use InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator

Happy Business Blog Monday, boss friends! I’m kicking off the week with a mini tell-all about some of my favorite design programs and how I use them in my business on a daily basis. InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator are all a part of the Adobe Creative Suite; and while I LOVE these three, Adobe has a HUGE plethora of other design programs available, all specializing in different kinds of functionality and type of media you’re working with.

Of course, I do want to note that unless you’re a graphic, web, or other kind of designer, you can certainly function without these programs in your business at all! There are many alternatives for lower cost (and some even free!) that will help you get the job done when it comes to graphics, collateral, photo editing and more. But with a sound background in design and a natural habit of using these tools in my previous jobs, it made sense to stick with what I knew, and they quickly became an integral part of my daily processes.


InDesign is likely my most-used (or tied with Photoshop) program of the three, and it literally stays open 24/7 on my computer. While I use it often for client projects (including brand style boards, print collateral, wedding invitations, etc.), this is also my primary tool for designing new products! Planner layouts, worksheets, and other printable pieces are designed in InDesign before preparing the files for print. This is the perfect program for anything involving structured layouts; everything from magazine layouts and ebooks to business cards and checklists are ideal for InDesign use.


My second (or tied for first?) most used program between the three is easily Photoshop. On a daily basis, I’m jumping in there for ten-twenty minutes at a time for a bit of photo editing — like the photo you see on this post! While I try to bulk shoot photos once or twice a week, I tend to edit daily, depending on what I need from the newly shot library of pics that day. I like to keep this process fast and easy, so I’ve developed a system for editing my photos to give them a consistent, beautiful look as much as possible.

If I’m not in there editing photos, I’m either creating website graphics and elements or website mockups for clients. Photoshop is the perfect platform for anything web-related (as it’s raster-based as opposed to vector), so I find myself in there quite a bit! (Side note: website mockups are quite possibly my favorite thing ever to design. Graphic designers — do you have a favorite thing to work on for clients??)


While Illustrator isn’t used QUITE as frequently as the other two for me, I’m still in there pretty much every day for one thing or another. Illustrator is a vector-based design program, and that alone makes it perfect for designing things such as logos, custom illustrations and graphics, branding elements, among other design needs. While first bringing my logo concepts from paper to screen, I open a big, blank artboard in Illustrator and get to work crafting the perfect graphics and type treatments for my logo ideas.

Illustrator is always where I’ll go to, say, create a background for a business card (if it’s something super cool and graphic-heavy), and then save that piece out alone before importing it into a new InDesign file where I’ll create a layer of text over the graphic. The programs work really nicely together for the most part, so while they each have their own specialties, there’s also quite a bit of overlap that happens.

Do you use any of the Adobe Creative Suite programs? Which do you find yourself in the most? I’d love to know what kind of unique ways you all use these programs and how they help you function on a daily basis! xo

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