InDesign or Illustrator for package design?

I was debating with my students this week about which software to submit their files in for my package design class. A few advantages of InDesign I see are as follow:

  • The capability of creating mixed swatches with Pantones.
  • The ability to customize the links panels so I can see right away which files and in what color mode and resolution, etc.
  • Better type management, and in many languages.
  • Getting a warning if I have overset text.
  • Possibility of lowering the display performance if the file is heavy

After checking opinions on a few forums, it seems Illustrator is the preferred choice for package design. I’ve also freelanced in an agency specialized in package design and all their stuff was in Illustrator but after discussing, this seems to have been due to habit and the investment it would have required to switch everything to InDesign…

Am I missing something that makes the industry prefer Illustrator over InDesign? What would be the pros and cons of using Illustrator vs. InDesign for package design?


As someone who’s worked for and with multiple print shops,

From my personal experience everything is done in Illustrator and Photoshop.

Mostly Illustrator with Photoshop elements inside of it, as it is the most popular format to prepare for print.
Illustrator and Photoshop are the program you want to use to create things in because they have the highest amount of support for pre-press.

Esko, which is the most popular pre-press software, creates it’s plugins for Illustrator and Photoshop, not InDesign. If you’re printing in bulk you’re probably not using digital printing. If you’re not using digital printing you’re probably using Esko software. If you’re using Esko software you need to use Illustrator and Photoshop for the Esko plugins to make sure you have proper trapping, color layering, color separation etc…

Also as joojaa pointed out

PDF generated by InDesign is fine but since the press does not
exactly create pages as such but individual sheets many of the
features of indesign are counter productive for the prepress work

You will find most shops will ask for an EPS, PDF, or AI file.

Side Note: Most artwork is sent in PDF format. (Because everyone and their grandma can look at it without special software)

Extremely rarely does anything come in as InDesign. (When that happens everyone hates it and I haven’t seen any in that format in years.)

InDesign is great for books and pamphlets but not print or packaging.

Source : Link , Question Author : curious , Answer Author : Community

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