So, I have never really been into design beyond a few wireframes and paper-pen sketches and have now now bought David Kadavy's book, Design for Hackers and am getting into design a little bit.

I am going through Adobe Creative Suite CS6. It has so many different applications and I can't seem to make out what to use for what purpose. Which program is better for doing what?


2 Answers 2


Head over to Adobe.com and do a bit of reading regarding features.

In general:

  • Photoshop = raster image editing (photographs) or digital painting (Illustration)
  • Photoshop Extended = Same as Photoshop + ability to use some 3D tools and basic video editing
  • Illustrator = Vector artwork (Logos, illustrations, etc.)
  • Indesign = Page layout (books, manuals, brochures, etc.)
  • Premier = Video editing
  • Fireworks = Web editing and prototyping (will do both raster and vector but not geared for print work)
  • Dreamweaver = HTML and web code layout and editing
  • Audition = Sound editing
  • Encore = DVD authoring
  • Acrobat = PDF editing
  • Flash = Dynamic web content (generally interactive video and audio)
  • SpeedGrade = Video composite editing
  • Prelude = File production logging tool
  • After Effects = Video special effects and titling

What you use depends entirely on what any given project requires.

  • Good summary...
    – e100
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 14:25
  • Purposefully left off Bridge because it's a utility application that you get with every other application. You can't purchase Bridge independently, you can't choose to NOT install Bridge, and you don't NEED Bridge for anything. It may make some tasks easier, but it's not a stand alone tool for anything.
    – Scott
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 16:47
  • 2
    1. Question asked for what each piece of software in the CS is used for. That to me includes Bridge. Especially if I took the two seconds to add it to your nice list I don't know why you would deliberately remove it. 2. All of these softwares are utilities - computers in fact are utilities. I still use Notepad or Textmate more than Dreamweaver when I do web work as an example.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 17:11
  • 3
    Except strong feelings...
    – e100
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 19:45
  • 4
    As for your comment about editing - unless I missed something in the GD Meta you are incorrect. stackoverflow.com/privileges/edit - please let me know if we are not following this same philosophy. Perhaps you would like to start a Meta discussion on the topic for us to discuss and define when to allow edits in our GD.SE
    – Ryan
    Commented May 18, 2012 at 13:06

Call me old school, different or just plain wrong but Photoshop should be used just for that: photo editing and retouching. Fireworks should be used for web design (the CSS exporting ability alone in Fireworks is heavily underrated much like Fireworks itself). Illustrator for, yep you guessed it: illustration work and logo's. InDesign for magazine/newspaper layouts or any print work. And lastly Premier Pro for video editing and nothing more.

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