I was surprised to learn that a large Canadian studio was still using Adobe Illustrator to design its websites. Is this still common?
Illustrator is still an industry standard tool and I can't see this changing for quite a few years yet, especially in large corporates who tend be be very slow taking on new tools.
There is a major advantage to using illustrator for website design in large projects, in that its pretty typical to take elements used for the website and then reuse them in other mediums, using illustrator makes this extremely easy as the files can be shared and opened in all the standard packages by other teams/suppliers or vendors world wide.
I use Illustrator and Sketch interchangeably, depending on the project.
To think with absolute certainty that one tool is the best is absurd.
I think it doesn't matter what tool do you use, it does matter how do you use it and your skills. At least in the kinda-small-agency i work we illustrate in illustrator (of course), design interfaces (ux,ui for mobile and web) in sketch and edit photos or another small thing in Photoshop. We tried to migrate to sketch as soon as possible because all the features that it has, which would let us do the job quicker, easier and better. PS: In my case (I don't illustrate) i never used illustrator, and i think photoshop it's better to design websites. Just personal opinion because never used illustrator.
I still come across this regularly due to vector scalability and speed. An accomplished Illustrator designer can very quickly mockup a website, and also make quick changes.
I agree that it's absolutely the wrong workflow, and it only complicates matters from the get-go, but changing industry standard tools (no matter how ill suited) is an enormous challenge.
I'd be very surprised if this exists in startups or firms less than 5-10 years old.
Out of curiosity, why do you say that using Illustrator is the 'wrong workflow'? What workflow do you use?
From my point of view, I mostly use Illustrator for wireframing rather than full graphic design. It suits my needs fairly well, and it would be a lot of trouble for me to get my hands on Sketch.
What do you mean when you say it would be a lot of trouble to get your hands on Sketch?
My work computer is a PC.
I am also curious to hear your thoughts on why it is the wrong workflow. It certainly couldn't be any more wrong than using photoshop to design a website.
Echoing Caitlin's point - I'm curious as to why you think Illustrator is "absolutely" the wrong workflow even while you acknowledge the speed with which a talented illustrator designer can build and change elements globally. I want to get into Slack, but so far I haven't seen any native features that blow Illustrator out of the water, which is probably what I would need to see in order to convince myself to switch.
It's a lot easier for a freelancer or small studio to adopt new software and change their processes, than it is for a company that spent the last 20 years developing their process, training everyone to work with it, buying the tools and hardware they need, etc. There are also external parties to consider like Martin said.
Sketch and Affinity are just better at some things and worse at others so until something truly revolutionary comes along, I don't see the big companies switching at all.
Photoshop is more common actually.
But no Sketch isn't the norm yet.
In my experience, a lot of studios used print designers (using Illustrator) to design their sites. This often created two problems for web developers.
The print designer didn't really understand web design or usability and often came up with confusing navigation and layout choices that were difficult to code.
The other problem is that earlier versions of Illustrator didn't support RGB colour very well and the rendering of vector graphics in Photoshop was often fuzzy looking. Pixel snapping didn't exist.
I would say that Illustrator has improved a lot for web design. I just thought most studios moved away from it a long time ago. Thanks for providing feedback.
I'd count myself lucky to get Illustrator files over Photoshop. At least moving things to Sketch for creating spritesheets would be easier.