Why Blend & Illustrator instead of Blend & Design?

Last night was the innaugural meeting of the new Seattle Developer / Designer interaction group and someone posed a question to me while I was talking about the programs that I primarily use for design.  The question was why do I use Blend and Illustrator – why do I switch between the two – why illustrator sometimes over blend or blend over illustrator?  And what about Expression Design?

I’d… made the decision quite a ways back and couldn’t remember the answer as to what my reasoning was – I just switch between 1 or the other depending on what I’m working on.  Yes, illustrator has some similarities in functionality, but there is so much more that illustrator can do that really doesn’t fit in with the context of things that I use Blend for.

Sitting at that table, I mentioned the functionality differences, but really – that’s a pretty pad answer.  Its like saying I like a computer because it works… doesn’t really say much, does it?

Thinking on it brought me back to the “why” and my decision making.  Blend allows for the Xaml aspect, plain and simple, though I’ve been tempted to switch a lot of that over to Kaxaml for the more nitty-gritty, “Show me the money xaml” bits.  Blend is for building applications – desktop or web based.  Its not realy as much an imaging tool as an application designer.  Illustrator on the other hand has quite a lot of things in common with blend but with 1 variance that’s crucial – save as: {insert image type}.  JPG, TIF, PNG – whatever.  Additionally, if I design something in Illustrator, I can open it in Photoshop – the universal tool of designer goodness.

So then there’s that other question – why not Expression Design.

Here are a few things: I’m on the outside looking in.  I don’t have a licensed version nor am I going to pay for a license at this point in time.  Designer is a major harddrive hog, and the trial only gives you 30 days.

Nothing wrong with Designer – in fact, its what I used as my onramp to learning how to use Blend from being a purely adobe designer.  It has incredible functionality.  But without a full version copy that lasts longer than 30 days, I’m not going to spend the hard-drive space on it.

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