Photoshop or Illustrator? What should you use to create your roller banner artwork?

Creating roller banner artwork the right way often depends on the choice of design package you use from the start. Trying to do it in Photoshop might seem the logical solution, especially if you are already familiar with that tool, however due to the detail required in print, you may find that it creates huge files which are often difficult to work with. There is an easier way however!


What's the easier way? We're talking about using Illustrator, which is also part of the Adobe CS package. Illustrator is Photoshop's vector based cousin, and has been used for print creation for years.


What's the difference between Photoshop and Illustrator exactly? Well, Photoshop is a bitmapped based image editor, which means that exact colour information is stored for each pixel that makes up the image. This is great when working with simple photographs, but when you need to scale up to a full roller banner size, the amount of pixels that make up the page multiply at a scary rate, as does the image size.


Illustrator is different. Illustrator stores vector information about an image. This means that the image is generated by a series of mathematical calculations which are performed each time the image is displayed. By using this technique, designs are created on the fly, meaning very little storage is needed. This technique also allows an image to scale gracefully to practically any size without pixilation. What you see at design time can easily scale to large format print and retain the same appearance.


This is why when creating a large piece of print, such as a roller banner, Illustrator is a godsend. Its ability to allow you to scale your artwork to almost any size, as well as low system overhead makes it ideal for these types of task. You are not limited to simple shape drawing with Illustrator either, you can use bitmap images alongside vectors, but it's important to ensure that these images are of a high enough quality that they can scale to the same sizes that roller banners print at. We suggest using a 300dpi document when designing a roller banner to avoid quality issues.