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Photoshop / GIMP VS Illustrator

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Posted 21st February 2012 at 11:21 PM by Daniel Evans
Updated 27th May 2019 at 12:24 PM by Daniel Evans

There is often a huge misunderstanding when it comes to selection of software when designing a logo.

Many people readily recommend GIMP boasting that it's free and is thoroughly capable of outputting professional graphics. On the other hand people might recommend PhotoShop. Both of these programs are raster orientated. "Raster" simply refers to graphics which are composed of pixels. Raster graphics are suited to on-screen display or in print which can only to be displayed no greater than their original size. When a raster image is enlarged, the pixels are simply enlarged. Squares become bigger squares resulting in inevitable distortion.

Adobe Illustrator (and Corel Draw to mention a viable counterpart) produces vector graphics. Vector graphics are composed as bezier curves and anchor points which establish the shape of the graphics. The bezier curve is a mathematical calculation made by the computer which it can use to redraw a shape at any given size resulting in a crystal clear image when enlarged.

The vector option opens up huge potential for application including (but not limited to): shop fronts composed of mood, metal and plastic, vinyl graphics for vehicles, billboards and embroidery to name a few.

"Professional logo design" always falls into one of two categories. There are professional "web" (raster) graphic designers and there are professional vector graphic designers - or both. Each one involves learning a different peice of software and tools to obtain an entirely different skill.

If you are in a position where you intend to design your own logo, first ask yourself what you intend to do with your logo. If you intend only to use your logo on the web and on a few printable office items then you'll fare well with a raster based program and logo. If on the other hand you foresee yourself having a shop front, a company van and clothing etc then your best bet is to opt for a vector solution.

Vector logo design is a future proof way to establish your brand and roll it across all forms of medium. The bonus of vector production is that you can also output all raster formats too.
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