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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A rant about a new breed of graphic designers

Vector images are defined mathematically
Time for a ranty blog...

There seems to be an increasing trend for Graphic Designers to design logos in Photoshop...

Experienced designers know that a logo should be designed in a vector-based drawing package such as Adobe Illustrator - that way, the logo shape is defined as a series of mathematical shapes, and so can be scaled up to any size without loss of quality. The file size remains very small compared to a bitmap image.  A vector file can also be used with computer-controlled machines such as vinyl cutters for creating things like signage and branded clothing, or by motion graphics designers like me to extrude into 3D shapes.

A bitmap image becomes pixellated as you scale it up
It amazes me that some 'professional' graphic designers simply don't know the difference between vector and bitmap (or raster) graphics... If this is you, check out this good explanation on the BBC Bitesize GCSE revision website:

I'm guessing this new breed of designer is using Photoshop because it's easy to create something that looks 'glossy' by applying a few layer styles to add gradients, bevels and shadows.

Vectors can be used in 3D software
Many of these Photoshop designers seem to have forgotten (or never learned) one of the fundamental principles of logo design which is that the logo should work in monochrome (ie a single colour).

Don't get me wrong - Photoshop is great - there's nothing wrong with using Photoshop for the graphic design of posters etc when you want to add effects and blend layers together, but it's just not the right tool for creating the master design for a logo.

So please, if you're a graphic designer who automatically reaches for Photoshop when you need to design a logo, switch to Illustrator and create your master logo shape in there - it will serve you well!

Rant over :-)


  1. I thought you'd been quiet - been brewing that one a while!

  2. For most jobs, Illustrator is just to heavyweight. I settled into the quick, slick Xara X for vector-based work. Of course, I'm biased because of its and my Acorn background - and it does import all my old Acorn Draw files.

  3. Ah yes I'd forgotten about Xara (formerly Artworks?). I've never really thought of Illustrator as heavyweight although it was part of the Adobe suite that I bought, and I guess I've gradually taught myself how to use it over the years.

  4. Well said phil! It's even worse when they try and do full page layouts in photoshop.. and I've seen worse... people laying out brochures in power point!!

  5. Don't get me started on Powerpoint! It's the office-worker's weapon of choice for just about everything! (Not that it's their fault - they simply don't know any better due to poor IT training either at school/college or in work).