Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Illustrator and Fireworks

illustrator_softwareIllustrator vs Fireworks

Web layouts and graphics are just some of the things that dance in the minds of graphic and web designers. There are various graphic applications and software available on the market today; designers are occasionally left confused with the number of choices.

These technologically creative wizards are forward thinkers, and really can’t resist trying different things outside of the stuff with which they are familiar. As long as it is practical, they will try all kinds of graphic editing software. However, financial and time constraints are always issues to contend with. Buying software that you are not yet adept in using, could be a waste of time or money.

Every web professional or hobbyist has their own unique requirements, and it usually reflects in the software they use. There are two prominent products available on the market that provide designers the freedom and flexibility to create pixel magic ‘“ Illustrator and Fireworks. Let’s try to break down the two products.

Fireworks (Fw), which is formerly known as Macromedia Fireworks, was acquired by Adobe in 2005. It is a bitmap and vector graphic editor that is primarily intended for web designers. The design of the software integrates easily with previous Macromedia software products (e.g. Macromedia Flash and Macromedia Dreamweaver). Fireworks works best for creating quick website models and prototypes. It is best used for creating application interfaces as well.

The past versions of Fireworks were made available by it’s original developer, Macromedia, in Macromedia Studio bundle. Now, it can be acquired as a standalone product. Adobe Fireworks CS4 is also bundled in Adobe Creative Suite 4. The new Adobe Fireworks CS4 has the same interface as it’s bundle mates, particularly Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Nevertheless, the changes made by Adobe are mostly cosmetic, and for essential compatibility, which is actually a great thing for people who loved to use the product before the Adobe acquisition of Macromedia applications.

Illustrator is another Adobe product that is also bundled in their CS4 line. It is one of the products originally developed and marketed by Adobe. The original Illustrator was developed by Adobe for Apple Macintosh, back in 1986, and it is marketed as a companion of Photoshop. Currently, Illustrator CS4 is the 14th generation in the product line.

Although opinions can vary and become very subjective, Fireworks is found to be more user-friendly. Designers rave about the ease of creating website templates with Fireworks. It can be said that Fireworks is the better application for new designers, and many would stick with it for a very long time.

Illustrator may have a steeper learning curve, and it may seem more complex than it should be. It can’t be denied that the application has powerful illustration capabilities, yet with limited usability, it may just be too tough to handle. Illustrator is often considered as the application for professionals only, because of it’s apparent complexity. This is not exactly the case, since more web designers seems to favor Fireworks in order to make their designs.


1. Fireworks is not an original Adobe product; it was only acquired from Macromedia, while Illustrator is absolutely an Adobe brainchild.

2. In terms of number of versions, Illustrator trumps Fireworks. The latest Illustrator product is already the 14th generation.

3. Development of Illustrator started earlier than Fireworks.

4. Fireworks is said to be more user-friendly than the somewhat complex Illustrator.

5. Fireworks integrates well with former Macromedia products.

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  1. Actually if I had to sum up the difference in layman’s terms I would say that:

    Fireworks is a better tool for doing web graphics as it handles vector graphics well and Illustrator is a better tool for doing print design graphs as Firefox doesn’t do text as well. I think this page kind of assumes both are just for web design.

  2. The trouble with this article is that it doesn’t answer the question in a useful way. The history of the two programs is irrelevant in trying to decide which of the two would be more useful. Between a saw and a hammer, do I really care who invented them? The point is that one cuts wood and the other drives nails.

    So let’s revisit this and try again. What does one do well that the other doesn’t? Why would you pick one over the other for a given task? And so forth.

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