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ireid's picture
1283 pencils

Switching from Illustrator to InDesign

I am doing up a plan for 2009 for the department and I am putting together a "New Year's resolution" to push that more of the studio artists move away from using Illustrator for their press layouts to InDesign. I have searched the web and everyone talks about the switch from Quark to InD but that's not my problem, these guys and gals (a great creative bunch!) NEVER used Quark so I can't use those arguments to transition them to InD. So I was hoping if people could give me a list of the pros and cons of using InDesign over Illustrator in their design workflow.

Thanks.

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

Commenting on this Forum topic is closed.

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

Unless the software program has changed, Illy is only set up to do one page at a time, which would prove to be a nightmare for anyone setting up and ripping a multi-page document, let alone dealing with graphics that run across the gutter(s).

Personally, I like both programs, and employ the strengths of both. I use Illy for vectors and ID for layout. This works for me. However, perhaps your department should check with the end users--printers and clients--to find out what their preference is. I have one printer who won't work with ID files, only Quark, thus I've resorted to producing PDFs for everything I do with him.

"Those who dance are thought mad by those who do not hear the music."

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

fidel's picture
337 pencils

I would say if you are creating just ads and logo's for your clients I would stay with illustrator.

Much more creativity, use of brushes and so on.

If you are creating booklets, magazines and other multipage docs I would say go to InDesign.

Both apps have their advantages. It is the idea of the suite.

Choose your progs and use them in the perspective of the endresult.

Pdf-settings are shared by all the progs in the suite.

My idea of the programs in the suite is:

Photoshop: everything pixel orientated
Illustrator: for everything that needs creativity
InDesign: The workhorse for bringing everything (pixels & vectors & text) together in a multipage layout or a trifold
Dreamweaver: same idea as InDesign but for the web
Flash: Everything that has webmotion

It is not a good idea of forcing people to use a certain program in favor of another, They all have their dis- and advantages.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I'm not forcing them to do anything. BUT they do EVERYTHING in Illustrator and Photoshop, INCLUDING multi-page documents! So I was thinking if I encouraged them to do the press ads and other single page layouts in InD it might make them realise how powerful it is. . . enough to DO those multi-page docs with it. . .

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

benjancewicz's picture
27 pencils

They shouldn't be designing in Photoshop period.
Illustrator can work in tandem with InDesign. Import graphic elements and use them in InDesign (InDesign doesn't have as strong drawing tools and Illustrator)

mbennett2's picture
425 pencils

I don't think he means creating entire ads in PS, just using it in tandem with illustrator to create ads.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I have one or two people I know (not in my dept mind you!) who DO everything in Photoshop!

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

mbennett2's picture
425 pencils

I see. Even so, the programs are simply tools and in the hands of the wrong person can be dangerous. I know plenty of people who shouldn't be designing in illustrator, either. (or any program, for that matter)

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

They have no idea that they are ruining any font advantage by using only PS.

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

matt172-'s picture
1 pencil

Use indesign for multi-page layouts. If you are doing a single page layout of a package design I urge you to stay with illustrator.

Also, check with your printer(s) to see what files they prefer.

benjancewicz's picture
27 pencils

Multi page in InDesign. Multi size in Illustrator.
And any good printer should be able to accept multiple file formats.

macgruder's picture
9 pencils

Style Sheets:
Ask them to make a 10 page document in the program of their choice. Then tell them to make 1 minor change - e.g. the color or style of a headline. BUT they have to make that change in less than 20 seconds. You then demonstrate how you could do that - and numerous other changes to the typography instantly. Any designer seeing document wide changes applied instantly understands its power and time-saving capabilities. If they don't, they're simply amateurs.

gammaseven's picture
1 pencil

I agree with what most people have said. Both programs are great apps but it's really like comparing apples to oranges.

Mult-page most definitely has to be InDesign and you can import your AI and Pshop files til the cows come home.

Like Macgruder said, style sheets are specific to ID. At my last job, we spent months on an annual report. So many details within that one document. Right before going to print, the client decided they wanted to change the fonts. We changed the style sheet and minus a couple minor revisions, it was corrected. That wouldn't be so easy in AI.

Hope this helps and hope your transition is smooth.

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

If you're doing multipage docs, you need to use InDesign rather than Illustrator. Use Illustrator only for individual images that you import into InDesign.

I can't imagine what a nightmare it must be to use Illustrator for multipage docs.

If you run into commercial printers who dislike InDesign (as I have, which is why I still use Quark a lot), you can make perfectly good PDF files for them in any of the Creative Suite applications.

It sounds as if your design team may be more graphics oriented, with not so much experience in typesetting and layouts in general. Please consider writing some basic training in these disciplines into your prospectus, along with purely InDesign workshops.

You might also want to spend some time talking about how much more efficiently InDesign handles color separations over Illustrator, if that's an issue in the kind of work you produce.

Good luck! Sounds like you're going to meet some resistance, no matter how good a case you build. Your native charm will get a workout, so limber up those empathy muscles, and stock up on chocolate, just in case!

Mara

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

So true.

When it comes to printers we rarely if ever send down anything BUT PDF's BUT for the last 3 months I have been doing EVERYTHING in Indesign INCLUDING Billboards, POS material and items that require dielines! What I am proving (to myself) is that InDesign can hold its own over Illustrator when it comes to doing LAYOUT. :) I don't have a problem really with InD and printers as if they require a Illustrator file I just export as a an EPS and resave as Illustrator and everything seems to be fine for them. (The MAJOR concerns our printers have is the whole transparency thing), but InD flattens the transparency when exporting to PDF-X1a OR as a an EPS so I don't have any issues on that front.

I'm actually not PUSHING them to change entirely, BUT the problem really is that since they are so happy doing everything in Illy they really don't want the hassle of doing the multi-page docs in another App. . . THAT'S the issue.

For example one of our senior guys had to do a financial booklet and sweated bullets for days because he was doing a 32 page booklet and the client was making change after change after change and it was a mess. A few days after he said to me "I should have done it in Indesign. . ." two weeks AFTER that he got ANOTHER project with less pages BUT still the same annoying client and. . . yep he used Illy. . . so its a comfort thing really.

I'm trying to open the window and let the breeze in. . . I guess I just want them to be in the room when they feel it? :)

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Why do you need so much backup information in order for your team to listen to you? Sounds like you have more work to do than just proving that ID is a layout app...

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

steveballmer's picture
652 pencils

MS will release Paint'09 suite next year, it will make this stuff look primitive!

http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

http://stevefakeballmer.wordpress.com
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

spigot's picture
190 pencils

I've been using Paint "08 suite for months now, and it's made my life so much bitter!

dpc's picture
359 pencils

Graphic, Web and Logo Designer from Pittsburgh, PA http://www.davidpcrawford.com

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Have them try exporting a pdf from Illustrator, then from ID. They will start using ID for layouts because all you have to do is Command + E for export (and choose a pdf setting, preferrably X-1a.)

Illustrator is not a good program for layouts. It's a vector ILLUSTRATION program.

Also, have them make any global document change across all their pages in illustrator and see how long it takes. Then do it in ID. They will change their tune in a heartbeat when they see how much faster it is in ID to make global changes.

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Using "Multi-page" documents as an "excuse" to try InDesign is going to fail because they're just going to tell you that Illustrator CS4 supports multi-page documents (which technically it doesn't, they're multi-artboards not pages), so there's no reason to try InDesign.

InDesign is a LAYOUT app, Photoshop is an IMAGE EDITOR, and Illustrator is an ILLUSTRATION app. It's that simple. There is not a single case when using Illustrator is better or easier than using InDesign for single or multiple-page layouts. Someone said it perfectly, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

If you're in charge of the department, don't recommend, don't set a resolution, don't ask. Just flat out tell them. You have 3 months to learn InDesign because on April 1st that's all you're going to use for anything more than a illustration and logo design work (and image editing, of course). If they don't like it, they're welcome to use the three months to look for a new job.

Sometimes it's too easy to fall into the trap of not wanting to risk losing good people, or hurting feelings, or coming off as a jerk, by making such a demand. That's bullshit. There are a TON of great designers and production artists out there looking for work. If the crew you have don't like it, fuck 'em. Find some that already know how to use InDesign. They teach it in every design school for cryin out loud, so you won't have a problem finding great people.

The BEST part of this business is change. Every designer expects/wants/demands it of their clients - yet they sometimes forget that change is a two-way-street!

-----------
Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

And 3 months is being very generous. I got up and running in ID from Quark in about a week, in a high-pressure production environment. Any precious designer could take a month and comfortably, and slowly, learn ID without a problem. Especially if they know Illustrator.

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

I love it when you talk tough! :-)

Srsly, I think you're right. This really is how to go about it. We've just been spinning our wheels here, talking about the advantages of one app over another for the different things they were developed to do. That doesn't mean this is a conversaton that should be replicated in the workplace, in lieu of policy change.

Honest to Gad, if I had a guy who insisted on doing a 32-page booklet in Illustrator, I'd suggest he also use Illustrator to update his résumé, while he's at it. He reminds me of the classic definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, and expecting the result to be different.

Ma

Mara

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

"I'd suggest he also use Illustrator to update his résumé, while he's at it."

Priceless. :)

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

BUT

If THAT's the only way they know how to do it. . . its getting them to see the other side. . . THAT'S the trick. I WISH I could say: From tomorrow I will not tolerate ANYTHING BUT InD layouts in the studio, but that's just draconian. My plan is to sweeten the pot in some way. . . I have to give them a compelling reason "Why" they SHOULD do it. . . this is what's sticking me. . . if I were comfortable doing things a certain way in Illy, WHY should I change to InD?

I have some ideas, I just wanted to hear what others had to say before I reveal my "plan" :)

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

walks_in2_trees's picture
252 pencils

If you are their manager, then Joblessness is a great motivator in these uncertain economic times... there's a lot of people looking for work that I'm sure would just love a shot at a graphic design job! College interns too!

I seem to recall this conversation before though, am I correct in that you are not the manager? or was that someone else?

"...and mamma cried: Watch out where the huskies go, don't you eat that yellow snow" - Frank Zappa

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I'm not the manager. I'm the 'Middle Manager.' I'm the fix it guy. And yes the last time had to do with PDF's. I got THAT kinda sorted, MOST of them are saving PDF's the correct way for the clients, That is ALSO part of my reason for wanting them to switch to InD, as Nato pointed out earlier its a LOT EASIER to make PDF's in InD.

Its just a proposal, if you want, to the department to try to do things better. I am in no position to FORCE anybody to do anything, BUT if I have enough REASONS to do so it will make the argument stick. You know what I mean?

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

So, your job is to persuade YOUR boss to set new policy about this? Well, for heaven's sake, just tell him or her that InDesign will save the department money, enhancing profit from a larger pool of clients you'll be able to take on with your increased efficiency.

The right tool for the right job is always more efficient and results in a better finished product. InDesign is the tool for layouts, Photoshop and Illustrator for creating images that you import into layouts. Would you ask a farmer to plow a field with a weed-whacker? Come on!

Mara

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

"Would you ask a farmer to plow a field with a weed-whacker? "

I'll remember that one. :)

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

i don't think it's draconian to tell people to do their jobs properly. it may feel that way to them, but that's their issue.

i appreciate you looking for compelling reasons, and i think it's good that you give those compelling reasons to them to explain *why* they have to do it by XX date, but i don't think you can just try to convince them to do it instead of telling them they will have to do it.

alissa's picture
65 pencils

Move all of your links into a different folder.
See which relink automatically...that should send people scrambling for indesign.
The automatic packaging of fonts important, as well—an indesign-only feature.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I dont think they re-link automatically. . . I will try that and see though. . .

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

InDesign will re-link images automatically as long as the links are in the same root folder as the InDesign document.

-----------
Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

. . She meant was if you link ONE file it finds the rest when you MOVE the links to another location. . . at least I THINK that's what she meant. :)

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

KellyR's picture
525 pencils

It just boggles my mind when I encounter graphic artists who insist on doing all their layout work in either Illustrator or Photoshop.

I think it was stated pretty clearly here:

InDesign is for layout
Photoshop is for image editing and manipulation
Illustrator is for illustration

I honestly find Illustrator extremely clunky and annoying when it comes to page layout. It's just not as intuitive as InDesign with how it handles large bodies of text, etc.

We use InDesign for all our ad designs here, I'm talking single-page ads. And, of course, we use InDesign for all multi-page layouts as well.

Photoshop and Illustrator are only used to create supporting images for the InDesign layouts.

In fact, we're flat out required to do everything in InDesign. I swear if I catch an artist here doing an entire layout in either Photoshop or Illustrator, I'll have to have a long chat with them, as it's annoying as hell to have to go back and make edits to such designs. I'm guilty if that myself! A couple of times I did a near entire layout in Photoshop and just about wanted to throttle myself when I had to go back to make some changes.

In any case, good luck to you in trying to prove your point. I think Mara said it best -if you have to convince the upper crust managers to make using InDesign a policy, simply talk saved time in production and increased profits, and they should be game.

Just prepare yourself for a lot of whining from the designers when that policy takes effect. ;)

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I forgot about the editing part. Yes and not forget the passing from one designer to another any files that require edits. However I had once encountered an artist who exclusively used Freehand and came into the dept pissed off that we were all using Illustrator. Thing is I was once a FH evangelist, but the industry was all using Illustrator, so I had to go with the flow and swallow my pride and switch. When I went to England, that showed me that they only used Quark so I switched again. Coming back home it was Illustrator again, and now I want to switch to InD. . . go figure. The industry standard here is STILL Illy, so its a bit of an uphill battle. . .

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

The industry standard here is STILL Illy

Ian, WHAT is the industry there SMOKING?!? :-)

Mara

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

Take a wild guess!!

Although in J'ca the stuff grown in the Blue Mountains is REALLY good stuff!. . .

Coffee that is! lol

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

pc-f's picture
26 pencils

As others above have said, it's not the employee's choice. They need to use a proper layout program. InDesign is the standard today and they should be excited to add to their skills.
So, help them to be successful. Purchase a few books, dvds or online training to facilitate the change. Give them an hour a day for education. Let them share their knowledge with each other. InDesign is a great, easy to learn program. Your company will get payback very quickly.

miklad's picture
118 pencils

Just let them spend a week with InDesign and I guarantee they'll be wondering why they didn't take it up earlier.

In my opinion, InDesign should be used for ALL layouts - from single page ads, large format stuff, flyers, multiple page brochures... everything!

Illustrator and Photoshop are just the backup tools.

Advantages for Indesign in a nutshell:

• Easier multi-user editing.
• PDf export is superbly simple.
• Typography manipulation is second to none.
• Excellent, intuitive interface and menus.
• Collection of fonts and jobs is simple.
• Character styles and 'one-click-changes-all' - essential for fast workflow.
• Nested styles (Look it up on Google). Ace for catalogue work.

I'm sure there's more and I hope this thread has given you a good enough reason the get them numpties into shape! ;)

Miklad

'Keeps losing his mojo, then finding it again'.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

+3!

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

Before I could send my proposal to management, they came to ME asking this VERY same question. It seems one of our printers AND one of our CLIENTS had put in a request for a booklet in December and when one of the artists did it, he did it in Illustrator. BOTH the printer AND the client have requested that in the future ALL multi page documents be built and paginated in InDesign! So I have been sitting with this artist since last week re-building this booklet in InDesign (it is with its challenges of course. . . it wasn't done properly in Illustrator to begin with!) But I am battling with HUGE resistance and I can't understand why. . . well, yes I can. . . its still fear. . . so when THIS exercise is done I will use that as a case study for the rest of the department.

In the end IF one client has requested it and our MAIN printer has requested it, its definitely GOING to happen whether they like it or not!

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

More and more, it sounds to me as if the resistance you're getting is not only about fear of change, but fear of being revealed as utterly incompetent. I would opt not only for InDesign training in an actual Adobe workshop environment, but also something even more basic that explains how Creative Suite is designed to interface. They seem totally out of the reality loop.

Greg's right. These people should be more scared of losing their jobs than they are of switching to InDesign for their layouts.

Mara

KellyR's picture
525 pencils

Hehee - it's funny when people get all bent out of shape over making changes. You'd think the stress they put themselves through over these things wouldn't be worth it to them.

Not asking them to donate a limb, just asking them to do their work in a different - and WAAAAAY more efficient - program.

I'd maybe see some moaning and groaning (and agree with it) if you were telling them all to start doing everything in PowerPoint or Word.

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

it's funny. i don't know what the job market is like in T&T, but if someone refused to do something like that at my company, they'd be told to do it right or be replaced.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

What is "right"?

As far as everyone cares Illustrator is "right" so to do otherwise would be "wrong" . . . maybe?

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

well, in our case, "right" has two meanings.

(a) we use indesign for all documents. period. illustrator is used for charts/graphs/illustrations, etc. it's a corporate standard and everyone using the same programs to do the same things means anyone can pick up anyone else's work and expect things to be set up very similar. we even have some standard style sheets that we use (even though you can completely adapt the styles to have any format you want, the style names are the same in most documents for consistency).
(b) it's more efficient to use for indesign for text documents. style sheets, multiple pages, master pages, there are innumerable reasons InDy is a better program to use for things like this. there's a reason the vast majority of designers use InDy for documents and Illy for illustrations, and it's not inertia. InDy is just better at it. by far. not only is it more efficient, it has better type handling capabilities. and that means we end up with a better product that costs less to produce.

so for us, it's "right" because we have corporate standards and people not following make everyone else's job more difficult and because doing it "wrong" (i.e., in illy) is less efficient and costs us more money. it may cost your company and its designers a little more in the short run to learn the conversion, but in the long run, it'll save many many many hours.

alanclarkdesign's picture
126 pencils

I would use InDesign more, but it runs worse than any other program on my mac. Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Quark are all absolutely fine, but InDesign tends to lag sometimes as if it is too man resources (wether this is the case, I don't know). I can run all the above mentioned programmes and more without any issues, but InDesign always causes me problems.

I do think Illustrator has its' niche with certain single layout docs, but while I keep having issues with InDesign, I'll stick with Quark (even with the PDF and colour conversion issues that come with it)

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

i wonder what's wrong with how your machine and indesign are set up. the only times i have any problems with indesign speed is if there are linked files across a WAN instead of the LAN (i.e., the file has links on servers in another physical location, i'm in VA, files are in NE). that can make indesign crawl at times. and sometimes if you're working in high quality display, as opposed to typical display mode, large linked files can slow you down quite a bit.

alanclarkdesign's picture
126 pencils

Well I run all the other apps simultaneously, but would love to know why I have these issues - I have 4GB RAM and plenty of HD space. I do preview in high quality, but it even stumbles when I'm scrolling with only text on the screen. Will viewing in high quality slow it down even if only the text is visible?

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

it can. i only use high quality when i'm dealing with the images, then turn it back to standard preview when i'm not. it requires more processing power.

alanclarkdesign's picture
126 pencils

I'll try that and hopefully it will make it a bit easier - thanks for the tip. Didn't realise it affected the file rather than what's displaying on screen.

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