Design insights & tutorials.

Photoshop vs. Illustrator: Part 1

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator in a no-holds-barred battle to the death!

WARNING! This blog post contains foul language and dirty underhanded insults. The (harsh) opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of Go Media Inc. or Adobe Inc. Please do not read further if you are pregnant, have a weak constitution or are currently on prescribed psychotropic medication.

Only Go Media is brave enough to bring these two power-house applications together and ask the question: Which is the superior go-to design and Illustration tool: Photoshop or Illustrator? Combatants, take your corners, LET’S GET IT ON!

Opening Remarks:

Ps: Illustrator is like that shitty kid you grew up with that always breathed through his mouth and really liked drawing these illustrations of half naked woman with huge boobs… wishful thinking illustrator. The fact of the matter is Photoshop is way more relevant in the lives of the majority of creative people out there. PERIOD. Face the facts, go back to your corner and play with your pen tool.

Ai: Photoshop you ignorant slut! Bloated obsolete relics like you and Print Shop need to know when your time has passed. Oh, but let’s all cling to an aged and decadent past. You can “paint” in Photoshop. You think this somehow pays tribute to the Renaissance masters. I’m afraid not. If Leonardo da Vinci were alive today he’d bitch slap you and all your air-brushing users. His entire generation was pushing forward, innovating, advancing. The only advancing You’ve done in two decades is to steal my tools! If Michelangelo were alive today he’d be using me. Why? Because the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is HUGE! Only vector graphics are equipped to handle such a large surface. You would wet your pants and go crying to mommy if you were faced with a canvas that big. So, let’s place Photoshop where it belongs: in a time capsule.

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator

1. What app is best for logo design?

Ps: First off, ‘logo design’ means many different things. We could be talking about a Logotype, icon, symbol, etc. What we always know for sure is the mark has to be functional and have the initial integrity and quality preserved since its inception. It is from this stance that I ground my attack against Illustrator… You crash more times than Helen Keller driving a Pinto. How the hell can I utilize your premiere feature of vector creation to the fullest when at most I get three hours of productivity?? Bush league. (side bet: $100 says there are at least 10 exclamation points in the Illustrator response…trite.)

Rebuttal: Ai: Gosh Photoshop, it sounds like the problem is your 386, not Illustrator. I suggest you upgrade your computer along with that greasy comb-over on top of your head. Even on your decrepit old computer any self respecting logo designer will take those three hours on Illustrator over a full week on Photoslop. Face facts – logos are clean simple marks with sharp crisp logotypes. Everyone but your cave-dwelling users develop logos as Vector art. No room for fuzzy pixelization here. Score: Illustrator 1, Photoshit 0.

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator

2. What app is best for drawing, painting or illustrating?

Ai: I would never rest on the laurels of my name alone, but c’mon! My name is Illustrator! I wasn’t given that name because I was designed to wipe your baby’s ass! Likewise, Photoshop, you were designed to edit photos! That, and to SUCK, but I digress. You approach illustration by trying to simulate traditional painting techniques, namely: airbrushing. I, on the other hand, utilize the full power of the computer to advance the process of illustration. Just to name a few: Pen tool, Shape tool, Brush, Pencil tool and symbol sprayer are all Illustrator originals that you stole. What did Photoshop have – an airbrush, that’s it. If you want to create something in Photoshop, you better have a camera to help you get started.

Rebuttal: Ps: You’re right Illustrator… If I were to work with you I wouldn’t need to take my own source pictures… I could just download and live trace a low-res version right off of Google Images. Original! I remember when seamlessly tracing things was a crux part of my workflow too (LOL).

Just because you’re named ‘Illustrator’ doesn’t mean anything you hack. Any sort of illustration, be it a drawing or painting, is best when not limited by fundamental capabilities or restrictions. You limit our users far too much and for what… the benefit of scalability? Who cares, just work at actual size. I stole your functionality because you clearly don’t know how to fully utilize them. Take a pick: The unhinged creative powers of Photoshop, or, The one-track train of thought Illustrator.

3. What app is best for web design

Ps: Two things…

1. Being that Illustrator is Vector based, who in their right mind would design a website in it knowing the graphics would need to be rasterized. Cut out the middle man, use Photoshop.

2. Flash movies are the only logical application of vector graphics. Even so, once the movie or animation is published to the web, it functions more so as a video and it loses its vector quality.

So really the only logical thought being that the value of a vector graphic lies in the actual development of movies in Flash. Sweet. Now you have to buy an additional (expensive) piece of software so you can start publishing your faux websites to the internet. Not to mention the exorbitant amount of time you’ll spend learning how to actionscript. Good Idea.

The web at its best is cohesive and unrestricted. Flash is a proprietary piece of software which requires its own player and works to carve out its piece of the internet. That’s ok and all, but calling Flash programming ‘web design’ in its most pure sense, is like trying to include Canada in the United States.

Rebuttal: Ai: Pretty sensitive about that Flash app huh Photopoop? Me thinks thou dost protest too much. You hardly made any argument for yourself before spending the rest of your time attempting (pathetically) to bash Flash. The facts are these: In Illustrator you can design a web page with more tools than Photoshop offers, you can export slices from Illustrator just like in Photoshop (sorry, no extra steps here.), and oh yeah – if you do use the considerable advantages of Flash – your file is already prepped for it! I’m surprised you would suggest that Flash puts MORE restrictions on website creation. Is that why the most dynamic and artistic sites on the web use it? Seems you’re suffering a little Flash envy there buck-o!

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator

4. What app is best for working with type

Ai: From Wikipedia: “Adobe Illustrator was first developed for the Apple Macintosh in 1986 as a commercialization of Adobe’s in-house font development software and Postscript file format.” Type (fonts) are vector graphics. Illustrator is a vector based software. Photoshop handling type is like Phyllis Diller handling an eyebrow pencil: the results are not good! Heck, “type” isn’t even an option on your primary navigation!

Once again, Adobe has (poorly) tacked on some other program’s functions to their pathetically misguided old software. If you want to thread some text in Photoshop, sorry, you can’t do it. Type on a path? No. Type in a shape? Nada. Vertical type on a path? Nyet. Convert text to paths? Nope. Change case? Nay. Must I really go on? I’ll admit – I’m starting to feel sorry for you, you poor little photo editor.

Rebuttal: Ps: Someone definitely did their homework. Because I CLEARLY cannot type on a path or shape or even vertically for that matter… that shit’s just way outta my league….

Photoshop Vs. Illustrator


Coming Soon: PART TWO. Will Illustrator crash? Will Photoshop fix his comb-over? And WHO WILL DIE?

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
Discover More by William Beachy


We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Joe Nicklo

    Hilarious! (I'm siding with Photoshop) ;)

  • George Coghill

    Loving the custom robot art for this post!

  • nachtmeister

    hmm. Photoshop and Illustrator are like Apples and Pears, for me.

  • Coheed

    This might have been a decent and useful article if the author hadn't tried so hard to be funny. The result is just annoying and painful to read.

    • Prudence Lawrence

      I like to read some humour about this situation to quell my anguish about either of their flaws. Its fun. Lighten up and go read a serious article but dont criticise it for being funny. Thats just weird.

  • Simon H.

    Nice post, and the good humorous tone to it ;-)

  • Niki Brown

    best blog post ever! :)

  • jamesmadson

    I imagined Nick Swardson writing that article. Loved it.

  • Tom Faraci

    No, not a cliffhanger!

  • Stanley Parrish Jr

    Photoshop was my first love but Illustrator is pretty good

  • seetree

    Very entertaining article, can't wait to see more.

  • VRizo

    Basically, a Photoshop vs Illustrator fight would go something like this:

  • elisa_p

    This was a great and funny article, I do believe they both have their places in the design world. I prefer Illustrator for logo design while I like Photoshop for web design. I can't decide which I like better though.

  • clint

    How ridiculous. It's like oh what should I use to build this desk a hammer or a saw? Sometimes you need both, kind of depends on the job don't ya think?

  • overithiswire

    Haha, bill this is great! I love how you made them look like auto-bots!!

  • Douglas

    Wait, wait….there is error:

    “(…)Change case? Nay. (…)”

    Say what? If you don't know how, it doesn't means that you can't.

    And I agree with that: “It's like oh what should I use to build this desk a hammer or a saw? Sometimes you need both, kind of depends on the job don't ya think?”

  • kristindesigner

    Ha, such a good article. I agree its always like Photoshop and Illustrator are fighting. But i do use InDesign and Photoshop the most so sorry Illustrator.

  • nuyoguru23

    Illustrator is AWESOME!

  • jpedroribeiro

    Fun and informative! Love posts like this. I'd say I'm more of a photoshop kind of guy but I know it doesn't do everything.

  • prafuitu

    Q: What app is best for web design?
    A: Fireworks FTW!

  • Jake Stevens

    I really really really wish that there was more substance to this article. The concept is nice, but it seems as though humor was more of a focus than actual design insight. If I wanted humor, I would have gone to another site.

  • ralphcontreras

    Great article. Illustrator and Photoshop are both super great software. But it take the right tool for the right job. sometimes Photoshop is better then illustrator, and other time Illustrator is the better choice.

  • Mordy Golding

    I think it's always fun to give a persona to the applications we use every day, but I always had a different vision for how Illustrator and Photoshop would speak. In any case, you might find this Illustrator vs. InDesign smackdown an interesting read:

  • Morten F Christensen

    Heh, seems to me that the author is specifically pissed about the handling of type in PS. Which also is my primary reason for siding with Illustrator. That, and how you handle gradients and selecting objects. I could go on

  • Name

    Ai & Ps should be fused. Maybe Adobe could call it Illustrop or Photostrator, or just Adobe Awesome! ('Aa!' for short.)

  • William_Beachy

    I'm glad (almost) everyone is enjoying this post.

    The first draft of this post was three times longer and full of facts and figures. After a few designers around our office read it, their response was: “Yawn. I was falling asleep, really boring, like reading a technical journal.”

    So, we decided to keep it campy, short and fun.

    I hope everyone enjoys it despite it being a little light on substance. In the end analysis the desk building analogy is right on. Of course we recognize that these are unique tools with their own set of advantages, but that wouldn't make for a good fight. So, screw Photopoop. It sucks!

  • Jeremy Jer-El Darko

    I like them both. They both have their shortcomings. It depends on what exactly you are utilizing them for . . . both practical in different ways.

  • Eric B.

    Not the best comparison, but still entertaining.

  • David Boni

    I don't think I would ever paint or draw with Illustrator, though I would bring over something done in black-in-white from Photoshop with a Wacom tablet.

    I “illustrate” simply using Photoshop, dozens of layers, and the basic calligraphy brushes. Takes millions of brushstrokes, but, it's all good.

    Nice article. I agree with “Name” (or, rather, the unnamed guy). Adobe Awesome would indeed be. Actually, I wish there was just a program named “Awesome” that did everything required.


    That was funny!! GO ILLUSTRATOR!! (cuz I use it more)

  • Daniel J. Newman

    Sadly it's a tie. They both suckle the nethers of goats.

    AI: I want to personally kick the nut hole of whomever named the pen tool.
    (I have nothing against the dude or she dude, it's just that I am old enough to have drawn with pens, the real ones. Nut hole kicking may be avoided with a simple name change)

    Time Rape tool would be far more appropriate.

    I will say I wish that live trace had never been invented, it is a sinful plague that must be vanquished. This ever happen to you? “Can someone convert this .psd to vector?” -Cringe

    PS: Why no Kuler panel Tough guy?

    I have seen amazing art done with both programs, but just imagine what we could do if we had software with just half the shortcomings, what a beautiful world we could make.

    Great article. Oh and I take back all those mean things I said, artist are passionate people, I hope you understand.

  • David Boni

    Not too sure why my previous comment is gone? Was just saying that I, personally, can't “paint” with Illustrator. Doing precision typography and shapes, yes. Photoshop is the only thing I would use to illustrate a complex scene or painting.

    Kudos to those that can draw in Illustrator, however.

  • twe4ked

    hehehe. no.

  • David Boni

    Not too sure why my previous comment is gone? Was just saying that I, personally, can't “paint” with Illustrator. Doing precision typography and shapes, yes. Photoshop is the only thing I would use to illustrate a complex scene or painting.

    Kudos to those that can draw in Illustrator, however.

    p.s. third time trying to respond to this article; now I'm using my Twitter login. ):

  • amatatomba

    I'll constantly get asked by people what the difference between Illustrator and Photoshop is, or when I mention Illustrator someone will say “I like Photoshop better”. Then I have to spend an hour explaining the difference. It's exhausting lol.

  • George Coghill

    Personally, I love the Pen tool. Although agreed it should be called the Path tool instead.

  • George Coghill

    Agreed, I use each for what I feel their respective strengths are. And I use InDesign where I feel both are lacking, for certain projects.

  • Adrian

    We have to vote with Illustrator since we used that from the day 1.
    PS (We even draw directly into illustrator) :

  • Askhari

    This could have been a funny post, but I think comparing those two programs is just pointless. It's like disussing what you'll need for putting a picture on your wall, a screwdriver or a drilling machine – well guess what, you'll most likely need both.

    There is no “better program”, each of them has a purpose. The fact that some functions are available to both is just to avoid needing both of them all the time (exporting your illustration to PS just for some drop shadow would be pretty annoying, even if the function is more of a photoshop-function).

    And with Smart Objects, theres no need to choose for a good workflow. So I'm sorry, as much as I like and appreciate the quality of the gomediazine, I find this particular post merely entertaining but mostly misleading :/

  • Askhari

    But very cool illustrations ;)

  • Michael Thomas

    I only tend to use illustrator when needs must for example using the live trace or creating vectors for flash! I used Photoshop before illustrator but I must say it is so much better for web 2.0!

  • Matt

    Very creative way of putting your points across, I think they both have their uses, but I tend to use illustrator for logos, graphics and flash and photoshop for web design.

  • wardell latham

    This was pretty funny

  • jaluziperde

    <a href=”http://www.tu<”>nakliyat:thanks for information.

  • sythspawn

    I love the Adobe Gundams. Are they tweaks of existing images or re-created from scratch?

    This is just like superhero meetings: they fight until they realize they have a common enemy (the Job!) before teaming up to defeat it.

  • William_Beachy

    @ David Boni – Sorry your posts were disappearing, I PROMISE we weren't deleting them. We leave everything up, good or bad. Must be a technical glitch.

    @ Jason – Gundams were Turbo Squid stock, modeled and lighted by Jeff, then put into scenes and backgrounds by me. Also, your last comment may be prophetic!

  • funkchunk

    Illustrator and Photoshop are like Power Rangers, both have their strengths and weaknesses – but together they are like some kick ass super robot.

  • Bismarck

    I think this post is mean to be funny and at the same time being kind of real, but mostly funny. wasn´t annoying for me to read, soooooo ill be waiting for part II the revenge of the fallen

  • haleysaner

    See.. The main element in those header designs were created in 3d, not ai or ps… They both suck for creating highly stylized or realistic 3d models. Come on ai and ps, get your shit together.

  • infectedrobot

    i love both programs, photoshop is cool as much as illustrator is, so if you want the ultimate designers weapon, use both of them

  • edgarmesa


  • saraelizabeth22

    I feel like time could have been spent on something more important. This was a funny article, but the fact is Illustrator and Photoshop need not be compared like this. They are completely different programs that are good for completely different things and I use them as such. End of story. I don't like one better then the other, they are tools. This article is the first of GoMedia that I wouldn't approve of. There is no point to it, and designer's already know these differences. (Even us student designer's)

  • avangelist

    I hope this is how the 'new look' gomediazine is going to continue. It will be one less thing clogging up my RSS

  • Dennis Rodman's Brother

    Man, this is one of the most narrow, short sighted posts i've read on this site-a shame, because most of the other ones are intelligent and relevant.

    Use the tool that works best for you on the particular job is all i can say. Sometimes, it's better to use one, the other, both or even a different tool.

  • BajeDrift Motorsport

    I died at:

    Photoshop you ignorant slut!

    Ha ha, but seriously, when I got started teaching myself these 2 pieces of software, I went with photoshop first. I thought it had all the bells and whistles. heck, I even saw a vid on youtube where someone made a photo of a really fat woman into a slender model-type woman. Impressive!

    But, I gave up trying to learn photoshop when my T-shirt printer told me to use a vector program. that's when I found out about Illustrator. I'm a wizz in neither of them, but I do make designs for shirts, so I use Illustrator.

    I use BOTH if I'm feeling creative and want to make a nice desktop wallpaper for myself :)

  • omer

    haha well done man, loved it and Ai ftw:)

  • Geoff May

    I gotta agree. I stopped reading after the opening remarks. I skimmed through but it was more of the same.

  • Geoff May

    I think comparing PS to AI is comparing apples to oranges. Sure, they share some similarities, but they're still VERY different and both do specific things well.

  • ClownShoes

    I'm a very serious person, and I don't like it when people who write articles don't take me just as seriously.

  • gonzalo

    Ha, ha, haaa…. 'your mamma was a darkroom….hilarius…!!!

  • Nardyello

    It will be a tie!

    If there was a program that did the same thing as both, PS and AI would just fall of the face of the Earth.

    Thus, we need both because they contribute in their own ways to accomplishing different tasks.


  • lorettarobinson

    I thought this was pretty funny, but i think illustrator is kicking ass right now. :( I love photoshop more.. give photoshop some love with a photo editing question… lol

  • Ritchie

    hahaha!! Very nice.. I love this article. very funny… More debate on part two. can't wait. hahahah!!!

  • Dunlap Studios

    I really like reading this site because of the professionalism it displays. I'm not trying to bad mouth the writer, or the post, just give my opinion. It could have been an interesting post without the swearing and jokes, if anything I found it less appealing… and some of the language distasteful. I just wouldn't have expected it from you guys.

  • Heather

    I think a lot of the commenters are forgetting this article was meant to have a bit of humor to it, other than just your ordinary “Which program should I use for what job?” write-up. Have a laugh, people!

  • Jimmy Smutek

    Well, I read this the other day and didn't comment because I thought I was just in a bad mood – which I was.

    Reading it again, in a pretty good mood, well… not really feeling this.

    I generally come here to be engaged and look forward to new posts, this was a let down. Not that I have anything against humor, but this wasn't very funny either.

    No offense to the author and much love for GoMedia, but this was kind of bad, like Jerry Seinfeld stand-up bad.

    haha, seriously, I have no idea why this moved me in such a not good way, but it did.

    Regardless, rock on GoMedia crew!


  • peejworks

    This article was hilarious! I loved it! Clearly the author has spent a lot of time using BOTH of these programs and recognizes, deep beneath his sarcastic exterior, that to be a great designer he is bound to both pieces of software.

    Any Noobs who were walking in here expecting to have their hands held and guided through a feature by feature comparison of both programs might be upset. But I for one was thoroughly entertained by the article and actually a bit sad when it ended!

    I think I only ever get to the end of 15% of the web content I start reading.


    I'm going to go look for other posts by this author. Hilarious!

    On a more serious note. I began my design journey on Freehand. (stupid cheap college!) and naturally migrated to Illy. For a LONG time it was my preferred software. But somewhere along the line, I slowly started to get more familiar with Photoshop. Unfortunately I now find I'm in photoshop WAY more then Illustrator. But I almost never use one exclusively. They play very nicely together. I think the second half of this article should be them making up after the fight and then making sweet sweet love to each other. The union of their combined strengths will produce much better design babies!

  • William_Beachy

    Well, it seems like everyone either loves it, or hates it. I guess we at LEAST scored in the category of PASSIONATE. I'm glad our readers have strong opinions.

    Don't worry – lots more serious professional posts coming. That – and part two of this battle (VERY SOON!)

  • Jason

    Yay, I'm a prophet!

  • Pingback: Photoshop Vs. Illustrator in a no-holds-barred battle to the death! Part 2 of 2 | GoMediaZine

  • tomelliott

    Yeah PS definitely better for designing websites than AI. So many times I've come across the problem of an AI web design that looks great when printed out but when rasterized to 72 DPI you can't read the fonts, see images etc. PS lets you see exactly what the website will look like at screen resolution.

  • Diane555

    Haha! It's good sometimes, to take life less seriously. I totally enjoyed this.
    Very entertaining. What more could one ask for?
    ummm maybe 'gradient mesh'? GO Illustrator Goooooooooooo

  • Michael Benjamin

    great article.. made some good points and LOVED the humor.. thanks..

  • Alan Offord

    “photopoop” tee hee

    Seriously though, a proper grown up knows that no one program can stand alone. The computer and it's associated “Adobe Awesome” is just a tool and only helps you to realise your idea once it's been formed in the tiny tunnels of your brain.

    Other people already made this point though.

    Also did you draw the illustrations for this post in Ps or Ai?

  • Madmadman01

    photoshop can do everything illy does and a ton more

  • sirhc18

    Nice SNL reference, not sure how many people got that. Funny article, both powerful programs. Seriously, Art is made by people not programs, neither one is better creatively, but they have their strengths for situations.

  • jemnon

    Photoshop is great for laying out designs, and Illustrator is good for creating vector assets that one will use inside of a design. I don't think the 2 should be compared under the premise that one should replace the other.

  • Photoshop Fan

    i thought is was halarious

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • tom

    too annoying to read… next google result please.

  • Azy777

    fireworks any1 ???

  • sleepless

    LOL LOL LOL LOL hahahaha great duel!
    i choose you PS :D
    (coreldraw? lol :P)

  • Jamie Milkovich

    I thought it was a funny read. Genius on the humor…. “Go back in the corner and play with your pen tool.” 

    The people that hated on this are pretentious, malcontent whiners who take design way too fucking seriously. Just cause they got a degree in design they want to appear as articulate (but oh so serious) as some NY Design Firm. 

    Type of people who talk about fuckin’ branding and logo design all day “ohhh the typography is so indubitably.. blah blah blah”. 

    Shut up’ enjoy the read. There was more effort put into this blog post than some of the negative comments… if your gonna hate on it elaborate instead of “i skimmed through it.”

    • WonderingStreet

      Shut  -   the  -  fuck -  up
       From -Geoff May

  • Carter Shanklin

    Is there a peanutty nugget of insight buried somewhere within this heap of crap?

  • Ray "Mr.Li"

    Humorous but not helpful.

  • Anonymous

    people need to get over their serious selves and enjoy the humor for once. I’ve never read an article like this before.. it’s actually a relief to the 7+ hours that I spent working on my website. Keep it coming

  • Christina Lancaster

    Brilliant!  I just had to do some research on Photoshop logos vs. Illustrator logos and came across this.  I was laughing so hard, I even shared it on my college page so all my fellow classmates can read this as well.  I can’t believe that people don’t find this funny.  We have all been there with having to use each program and one is always going to stand out to us more than the other one.  I myself prefer Illustrator over Photoshop, but that is also based on what I’m doing with my career.  We designers need to be able to laugh a little at what we do and have to put up with daily, especially with clients, so what better way than with this article!  Such a great post, I look forward to reading more!

  • Christa Landon

    haha, I thought it was funny. Not really as educational as I hoped, but entertaining none the less

  • Prudence Lawrence

    “You crash more times than Helen Keller driving a Pinto.” – Hahahaha. Its so bloody True Illustrator!

  • 3lutz3toe

    I’m more used to Indesign and Quark as far as working w/ Types and Layouts. Manipulating Types in Photoshop is a pain in the azz! Not very intuitive and quite cumbersome since one has to constatnly switch back and forth and it automatically creates a new layer each time u click in and out! Illustrator is more intuitive w/ Type manipulation. But then, it’s not very adept w/ photos manipulation and such!