Advice: When to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign

I belong to a lot of design forums and Facebook Groups and the question I see more often than I care to think about is “which app should I use to do X?” Should I design a logo in Photoshop, build an ad in Illustrator or InDesign, etc.

If you’re new in the graphic design field, or just never used Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications, take a look at this 30-minute video from Adobe Evangelist Terry White.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but in general:

  • Photoshop is for photo editing.
  • Illustrator is for logo design & custom illustration.
  • All the pieces should be brought into InDesign for layout and export to Acrobat PDF files.

The ONLY design rule that (in my opinion) has absolutely no exception: Design your logo in Illustrator. You’ll thank me later.

InDesign CC 2017 update + tips

InDesign CC 2017Adobe released an update to InDesign on Friday, and though it’s not a major update, it contain some changes worth noting.

The long-and-short of it for me is: mehhh. The first thing I did was turn on the Use Legacy “New Dialog” in the General tab of the preferences so I can avoid the highly annoying New Document dialog box that cuts off the Margins & Bleed entry areas to make room for giant useless icons for standard documents that used to live in a tidy little drop-down menu.

The new “Spectrum UI” is a huge leap backwards. You used to be able to adjust the brightness of the entire interface with a slider in the prefs; tweaking it just to your liking. Now you have four options: Dark (too dark for me, and too much contrast), Medium Dark (can’t decide if it wants to be dark or light and fails at both), Medium Light (which has no contrast at all and makes the entire interface look like a giant gray box), and Light (which is bright but useable).

I like the “flatter” interface, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Since David Blatner did a whole lot of work writing it up, I’ll point you to his review at InDesignSecrets.

Since you’re heading over to InDesignSecrets, take a look at these tips while you’re there:
Adding Alt Text to Images With Object Export Options
Naming Items in the Layers Panel

It’s nice to see Adobe updating InDesign regularly, but I’m starting to feel a bit neglected with the lack of new features, bug fixes and overall speed increases.

Find the missing font in Adobe InDesign

InDesign font info panel
Most designers know that InDesign offers a find fonts feature to change fonts or locate missing fonts in your document. It’s located in the menubar under Type>Find Font… However most designers never go past the “Replace With” font feature.

The problem is if you have a document with numerous pages and lots of colorful imagery, even when InDesign highlights the missing font (or the one you want to substitute) it can be hard to see.

The simple way to find the pesky hidden font is to hit the More Info button in the Find Font dialog box. The dialog box will expand with a list of font statistics, at the bottom of which will tell you what page(s) the reticular font is on—even if it’s on the pasteboard.

Google JPG is 35% smaller/higher-quality – but you’ll never use it

Google has come up with an algorithm that reduces JPGs by 35%, or maintains existing file sizes but dramatically improves quality. The new JPG is 100% compatible with existing programs and web browsers on all platforms. It’s 100% open-source and compatible with the current JPG standard.

And not a single person will ever use it.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. I’m sure some people at Google will use it. And probably a few geeks who like to tinker, but don’t rely on producing visual graphics for income.

Just because it’s free, or offers the end-user a better user experience, doesn’t mean it’ll actually be popular. Unless Google can convince EVERY LAST IMAGE EDITOR ON THE PLANET to use it by DEFAULT, it’s not going to matter. Google Maps is better than Apple’s iOS Maps. Wanna guess which map app is more popular on the iPhone despite that? Convenience trumps everything.

One has to wonder what the point is. Coming from Google, the angle they take is faster website loading.

I’m sorry, but having a 100kb JPG be reduced by 35% means absolutely nothing. The site is not going to load faster, because a 100kb JPG loads instantly to begin with. Ridding a site of Javascript for tracking and ad-serving is the only thing that’s going to speed up a website (something we know Google is never going to do). Heck, I get emails with 1MB animated GIF images in them that load virtually instantly.

But if Google can convince Adobe to use the algorithm as the default in Photoshop when saving JPGs, I’ll be happy to re-save a ton of old JPGs that are still 30MB in size due to their massive size and PPI settings.

Quickly show hidden files in macOS

macOS hidden files

There was a time in the history of macOS (formerly known as Mac OS X) when you had to use a Terminal command or a third-party utility to show the hidden files and folders littered all over your storage drive. I won’t go down the rabbit hole of why you would want to see these hidden files and folders, but know that Apple has finally built-in a simple keyboard shortcut to do just that—and it works in the Finder as well as Open/Save dialog boxes.

Simply hit Command + Shift + . (period key) and macOS will instantly make them visible (as seen on the right in the image above). Hit the shortcut again and they return to their hidden state.

What’s Apple’s next chapter in podcasting?

If I had to place a bet on a major change in Apple’s approach to podcasting, I’d place it on adding money to the equation.

Jason Snell over at SixColors covers a lot of Podcasting history in this article, and I think it’s all pretty much spot-on.

Apple has a virtual monopoly when it comes to Podcasting—pretty much owning the distribution of them with iTunes, and with a huge portion of the overall audience using an iPhone and Podcast app to listen to them. The only thing left for Apple to do in this arena is figure out a way to make more money.

Swatch: The next company to be destroyed by Apple

Swatch watches

Swatch Group AG said it’s developing an alternative to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems for smartwatches as Switzerland’s largest maker of timepieces vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers’ wrists.

Mark your calendars folks. By “sometime around the end of 2018,” a company that doesn’t know dick about making an OS platform that is secure, feature-packed, or useful—and is famous for the watches seen above—is going to put-out a great smartwatch to compete with Apple Watch. Pffftt!

The road is littered with the steaming, smelly carcasses of companies that thought they could even produce a smartwatch, let alone one that competes with Apple. Even the mighty Samsung couldn’t do it, and stuck with Android… which despite popular belief is a virtual non-starter as far as competition with Apple is concerned.

Swatch says their building an alternative to iOS & Android. I simply say: Muahahahahaaaa! If I had to guess, I would say that Swatch will eventually release a really nice looking Pebble watch in 2019, with the promise of making it better… only to kill it off 6 months later after a complete lack of sales.