Why Do Graphic Designers Use InDesign? Here’s Why!

I have been a graphic designer for 25+ years. I have used InDesign as a desktop publishing package since 2005. Read on to find out why.

Graphic Designers use InDesign because it is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite which is the best all round group of packages available.

As a designer, for me, InDesign offers everything I need to complete my publishing jobs. But I wasn’t always an InDesign user. Find out below why I switched.

What is Available?

Why do designers use InDesign when there are lots of other go to packages available? In my early years of Desk Top Publishing I was using Photoshop and Illustrator but I wasn’t using InDesign as it just hadn’t been created.

Illustrator was rolled out in 1987 and Photoshop in 1990. But back in those days the king pin in town was QuarkXpress.

All the top design agencies at the time were using QuarkXpress. It was a really good application that allowed designers to move away from putting layouts together by hand.

The first agency I worked in as a post grad only had one Mac operator.

As time moved on more and more studios were working with computers and QuarkXpress.

Then in 1999 Adobe introduced InDesign to the world. I have to be honest, I didn’t jump on the band wagon right away. I had been using QuarkXpress for a number of years at that stage and to be honest I was a bit set in my ways. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, as they say!

Back in 1999 there was no downloading of applications. You had to go to a store and buy the application. Bring it home. Load it on to your computer. Fingers and toes all crossed that all would go to plan.

The thoughts of loading a new app and transferring all my files to InDesign was quite the daunting task.

However the more I used the other Adobe products I could see how awkward it was becoming to combine with Quark.

Adobe truly were taking over.

Complete Suite

I was offered a freelance job that had been started by another designer. It was in InDesign. I had to be quick on my feet and learn InDesign in a hurry. But I soon realized that it was so intuitive. Most of the pasteboards and tools were the same as Illustrator and Photoshop.

It was so easy to move from one program to another within the suite of programs. Right clicking on placed images allowed me to ‘Edit with’ Photoshop or Illustrator.

Right Click to Edit With

InDesign was the first application that allowed transparency of not just images but all objects in your document, including text. This was an absolute game changer. Before, this had to be done in Photoshop, saved, resized and placed but now it was a tool within InDesign.

The other aspect that moved people to the InDesign corner was to do with Open Type Fonts. At the time fonts weren’t freely available and also weren’t cross platform. Open Type fonts were developed in 1999 between Adobe and Microsoft to aid the enormous amount of new users access to free fonts.

InDesign changed the way Graphic Designers did business and out shone all other applications.


Lots of graphic designers that I know, like myself worked at some stage for a large corporate and now work freelance. It seems to be the way we gravitate. Freelance can sometimes be a burden. All the bills to pay, all the hats to wear, designer in the morning to accounts department in the afternoon.

The running costs of any venture is going to come under scrutiny. With InDesign you have the ability to select a monthly subscription for the entire Creative Cloud Suite.

Rather than pay out the full cost of the application, which back in the day was about $800-900.

The monthly subs is a fantastic option for Graphic Designers and with the innovation of the internet we can now download apps directly to our machines, which in turn allows for all updates to happen on a regular basis.

QuarkXpress now also offer a monthly subscription but you are only getting the one app, which makes InDesign more appealing because it is part of the whole suite.

The Majority Rules

I have searched online and couldn’t get a definitive on whether InDesign holds the prize for majority of graphic design users. But I will share this last piece of personal experience, as to why I feel InDesign is the best choice for designers.

I am a graphic designer more years than I am not, and have been a huge supporter of Adobe products for a large chunk of that time.

I recently was asked to do some overflow work for a Media and Print Company.

I went to visit the MD and inhouse senior designers (who weren’t very happy to see me!) but low and behold this very successful company were using QuarkXpress.

There was a bit of toing and froing and I agreed that I would source a copy of QuarkXpress to use for ongoing jobs and any new jobs I took on for them I would use InDesign.

Everyone seemed happy and the first workload appeared in my inbox the following Monday morning.

Delighted to have a new client, I completed the work and sent it back for approval but to my horror they couldn’t open my file.

This smart media company was using a version of QuarkXpress that was nearly 10 years old. The QuarkXpress I had purchased couldn’t back save to their version, it was just too old and so I couldn’t complete any more work for them.

My point being that the difference in using InDesign and Adobe products is that everyone moves along with the same version. You never run into an old version issue unless someone is using Quark or something else.

It is the majority rules. Adobe products are the complete package. There is no reason to deviate away from InDesign to another publishing package.

It’s intuitive, affordable, easily available and the reason why the majority of graphic designers use InDesign.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

Which Adobe should I learn first?

Why is Adobe so expensive? But is it?

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on PurpleHotKeys.com

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