One of the most cited things I've found online is to create final advertisements in InDesign to send publishing companies because it will result in better text quality.

Is this just for high end publications or when is this relevant? No publication I've ever worked for or submitted to needs the high end despite many asking. The "Media Kit" will say to submit with text files and whatnot but if I contact the actual graphic designer, the first thing they're going to do is flatten it to put into the publication.

Is this just archaic language and thought? When is it actually important to create a final advertisement in InDesign?

It seems very silly to me to create an ad in Photoshop / Illustrator and then rebuild it from the elements in InDesign for the final .PDF when I've yet to come across any print shop or publishing house that isn't going to flatten it anyways.

2 Answers 2


What you use to create any advertisement is largely irrelevant. There are no solid, absolutes as to why you must use InDesign. 99.99% of all advertising I submit to publications are in the form of a PDF. How I get the PDf doesn't really matter.

What is important is resolution, size, and color space.

You can use InDesign, you can also use Illustrator or Photoshop or, if a full color ad, any app that supports CMYK output. Especially if there is output to PDF support.

One important factor may be how Photoshop generates a PDF and how you work in Photoshop and not the sheer fact that Photoshop has been used. PDFs saved from Photoshop can have a great deal of embedded proprietary Photoshop information in them. This is all superfluous information for a publication and, in turn, an imagesetter. In addition, crop and bleed marks in Photoshop PDFs are.. well... not there. So how can you show those if Photoshop doesn't create them? I certainly don't want to manually create marks for every advertisement. (Of course you could just place a .psd into InDesign to generate a PDF with marks). But overall, there is no blanket rule that you can't use Photoshop.

Using Indesign is more about flexibility than anything else -- small file sizes, quick editing, universal use of common images, etc. It's more an issue of workflow that any advertising requirements.

  • I've seen it most frequently cited (and even taught) that the issue is photoshop .PDFs are rasterized text where InDesign isn't. Do you have any edit about that idea and what if any relevance it really has in today's print world?
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:18
  • Photoshop PDFs do not automatically rasterize text. They can if you've got a whole bunch of filters and styles and stuff going on. But by default Photoshop uses live text, falls back to outlines of live text, and as a last resort rasterized text. However, it's the actual PDF marks and bleeds (or lack thereof) which are far more of an issue for most publications.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:20
  • By "high end" I guess I meant pubs that allow pantone or if you're buying a full page ad or spread. Would you agree that if the ad is a quarter page or half page inset the marks are irrelevant?
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:22
  • Marks are never irrelevant regardless of ad size. Marks define the area being PAID for. And if you are using spot color.... oh are you making your life difficult by using Photoshop.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:23

You do not NEED to recreate the ad in InDesign, best alternative is to outline your text in the AI/PS version of your ad (AI is much better to create ads in anyway) and the place the ad in an INDD file and preflight out as a PDF on a separate machine if possible. If you can flatten your pdf in AI/PS and supply the correct crops and bleeds, when necessary, you don't even need to do the INDD part.

Archaic maybe but it is a safety measure that will aid your file submission and you do not know how the print shop/pub house will flatten your file, if they just raster the file out to Tiff/Jpeg, as some places I have worked do results often compromise your colors and definitely your type quality.


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