Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer

· 11 minute read
adobe illustrator vs affinity designer

Being a graphic designer is not a simple task, whether you are a beginner or an expert in this field. If you decide to get started in graphic design and want to use something other than Adobe, there are options.

Affinity Designer is a potent vector-based program created by Serif. The program can create stunning vector graphics and illustrations. The accuracy and detail, it offers, are incredible. The program can also be switched between raster and vector design which makes it very practical.

Currently, Adobe Illustrator is one of the best vector-based programs on the market. Over the decades, the tools have been upgraded and improved, making the program user-friendly and a design standard. But which is better?

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer : Features

There are more features added in Adobe Illustrator than Affinity Designer in general. Including more tools to refine your project and ease the design process. Affinity has all the essentials, except some additional tools that go the extra mile.

Features of Affinity:

  • Uses the powerful Personas tool to organise your workflow. The personas are separated into Designer (Vector-based design), Pixel (Raster-based design), and Export (For exporting your project.).
  • Affinity Designer has an incredible zoom of over 1,000,000% making the programme incredibly accurate with the precise zoom.
  • Three times faster than Adobe Illustrator. Can pan and zoom at 60 frames per second.
  • The program lets you preview curve edits and transforms live as you create them and includes live gradients, adjustments, and effects.
  • Able to organise via layers and colour tagging.
  • Has both CMYK and RGB colour modes, allowing you to design for both screen and print.
  • Able to create raster and vector in the same project. This dual editing feature is an extremely beneficial tool that is better than Adobe Illustrator. Usually, you would have to switch to an external application to create in raster. Affinity makes this switch seamless by using layering techniques and the Personas.
  • Can create multiple artboards in one document, a perfect set-up for multi-page projects.
  • Has a powerful iPad version of Affinity Designer.
  • Retains a history of up to 8,000 changes, including history snapshots too.

Features of Illustrator:

  • Creates excellent vector-designs, allowing you to create resizable logos, graphics, icons, and more, scalable for any size without losing resolution.
  • Freehand tools to let you create vector shapes freely.
  • Adobe Fresco, the sister iPad application, is great for designing freehand vector shapes.
  • Can design custom typography.
  • Comes with many templates organised by the final media. (Web, mobile, etc.)
  • Works seamlessly with the rest of the Adobe creative suite, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and After Effects, etc.
  • Great for creating complex designs and contains many specialty tools, allowing you to correct your design with precision.
  • It can create multiple artboards, allowing you to create different versions of a logo or multi-page documents.
  • Has workspaces to organise the layout of the program. The program allows the user to create a custom workspace or select a default option. You can choose from Automation, Essentials, Essentials Classic, Layout, Painting, and more. You can also create custom key commands, optimizing your workflow further.
  • Supports both CMYK and RGB colour modes.

There are a few features that Adobe Illustrator has that Affinity Designer does not include:

  • Image Trace: A tool that traces a raster image and converts it into a vector in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Warp Tool: A tool that lets you distort and reshape a selected object.
  • Meshes: In Illustrator, a mesh object is a multicoloured object where colours can flow and transition fluidly on an object. The colours are smooth and seamless.

Generally, both Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer are powerful programs. Illustrator has a bit more control over small details and has more specialised vector tools.

In respect of essentials, Affinity Designer has everything. In a few years, Affinity could easily pass Illustrator in terms of features.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Pricing  

Affinity Designer is available as a one-time purchase of £47.99. Meanwhile, Adobe products are only available and usable as an active subscription. If you are a graphic designer with a low budget Affinity is the best choice for you.

Affinity Designer also has brush bundles and more that are available at an additional price. To get the iPad version, you must pay an additional £19.49.

Adobe Illustrator’s lowest cost is £19.97/month with a yearly term. If you want a month-to-month plan, the price goes up to £25.28/month. To use the program, your subscription must be presently active.

Meanwhile, if you decide not to get the newest Affinity program, you will still have the old one.

Adobe used to have a one-time fee model. Moving to a subscription program was disheartening to many loyal customers. Ultimately, Affinity gives you back control, allowing you to forever have the software without additional hidden fees.
Affinity Designer is great value and will save you a great amount of money over time. You would spend $251.88/year versus Affinity Designer’s one-time cost of £47.99.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Longevity

Adobe Illustrator is a standard for vector graphics in the industry. While Affinity Designer is an excellent alternative in respect of functionalities, Affinity hasn’t been embraced as much as Adobe Creative Cloud. As long as Affinity does not expand its suite of software, Adobe will remain the clear leader.

Adobe has been the software giant of the creative industry. It is used by businesses because it has a wide range of features and is compatible across several applications.

Adobe Creative Cloud has specialised tools for everything from video editing (Premiere), photo manipulation (Photoshop), desktop publishing with ground-breaking collaboration tools (InDesign), and Animation (After Effects).

Many universities offer courses on Adobe programs because most businesses require knowledge of this software for employment. To work in the professional sphere, creators must have at least some knowledge of this software.

In comparison, Affinity only has three programs: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher. These programs would effectively replace Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.

These programs are great, but they do not cover the wide range of programs that Adobe offers. They are still missing video editing and 3D designs, to name a few.

Adobe also advances their software much more often than Affinity. Every month, Adobe updates its software to add features and fix bugs, improving their software further. Affinity does software updates every several months, delaying innovation and bug fixing to come on a regular schedule.

Adobe still seems to dominate and looks like it will do so for years to come. Another program will not catch up to Adobe’s breadth until it can create the same quality. Affinity may get there in the future.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Compatibility

Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer work for Mac and Windows machines. Both programs also have an iPad application.

 Affinity Designer is mostly compatible with Adobe Illustrator. The .ai files work completely if it is saved with PDF compatibility. In the absence of this option, the file can still be opened in Affinity, but textures, brushes, and illustrator styles may not be fully supported.

Most Adobe Illustrator brushes are compatible with Affinity Designer. Sometimes, the brushes need to be converted. It is a simple process with many guides online on how to do this.

Affinity Designer files, .afdesign, cannot be opened by any program other than Affinity Designer which is a limiting factor. Also, Affinity cannot export the file as an Illustrator file. It is possible to convert to Photoshop or PDF, but the process can be tedious and time-consuming.

Adobe Illustrator is very compatible within its family of applications. It works especially well with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. The vector attributes can be retained in these programs, allowing you to resize within those programs without losing resolution.

There are some exceptions to opening Adobe Illustrator outside Adobe applications. Often, it will be converted into a PDF, losing some Illustrator data.

Both Affinity and Illustrator have their pros and cons when it comes to compatibility. Their compatibility with external programs is limited in certain ways and extremely good in others.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Ease of Use

If you want ease of use, look no further than Affinity Designer. Compared to Illustrator, its interface is simpler. Due to its fewer features, Affinity Designer keeps the user more focused on creating the project at hand.

Illustrator offers more features therefore it is more complicated and difficult to use than Affinity. These features include a myriad of effects, filters, the mesh tool, and blend tool, to name a few advanced tools that Affinity Designer is missing.

Affinity has a clean user interface, aiding in its ease of use. The user can switch between personas Designer, Pixel, and Export for a manageable workflow whilst letting the user design vector shapes and tools. You can create raster shapes with the Pixel persona and export your final image with the Export layout.

In comparison, Illustrator doesn’t guide you as much through the design process. The number of buttons and options in Illustrator can be overwhelming, even though it offers customised workspaces and very useful default ones.

Illustrator is great for professionals who need the most advanced program out there. While Affinity Designer still requires some learning, it simplifies the process by sticking to the essentials.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Users

Both Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer have a wide range of audience. They create fantastic final designs and are user-friendly. Hobbyists and professionals use both programs.

Adobe Illustrator has been around for decades in comparison with its newer competitor, Affinity Designer. Illustrator has advanced through the years, becoming more user-friendly and developing powerful sister applications like Fresco making the design process even easier.

The program is used by graphic designers and artists to create logos, flyers, brochures, and more. Mediums, of any kind, that need to be made in various sizes and resized without losing quality.

Affinity Designer was released in 2014 making it a newer program, which also creates great vector and raster graphics. The program is an excellent choice for creative professionals and the general public intending to create their own visuals for their media. Due to its low-cost and professional results, both groups flock to the program.

Adobe Illustrator vs Affinity Designer: Learning Curve

Both Affinity Designer and Adobe Illustrator have an extreme learning curve than raster-based programs and drawing in vectors can feel unfamiliar for beginners. Both Designer and Illustrator fortunately have many lessons to help support you on your journey.

Adobe Illustrator has a great online support system. There is a large community forum that you can use, organize by programs, and sort by relevance. Thousands of discussions take place daily, with peers and Illustrator experts answering questions.
Adobe Illustrator also has 24/5 support, Monday – Friday, allowing you to chat, talk over the phone, or email an Adobe expert. They can help you with any problems in the program, from compatibility issues to bug workarounds.

Adobe Illustrator has a vast range of lessons available online and in-app. There are videos with step-by-step guides with explanations of tools and techniques.

External resources, such as professional teaching platforms and free YouTube tutorials, are also available for new and current users.

Affinity Designer provides you with many tutorials online; therefore you have a simple excess to learn the tools of a designer. They have lessons sorted from Basic to Advanced, and categorised by specific tools. There is also a PDF manual that you can use and an in-app index to find the questions you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer are professional vector-based programs both having the ability to create final professional designs. They contain amazing tools for the user and having great user-interfaces. Deciding between the two applications depends on what your requirements are.

Illustrator remains the best choice for those looking to get into the professional graphic design field or continue to use many of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

Learning Illustrator can be a must as many businesses use Adobe Suite for its versatility. If you use the full Creative Cloud suite, getting another application on top of this subscription price is completely unnecessary.

Having trouble deciding which program to use? Or need help with a graphic design project? We, at Brightbulb Design, are a group of creative professionals with a vast knowledge of using both Affinity Designer and Adobe Illustrator. Our team is here to assist you with your project. For more information contact us on 01983506505 or email us at .

Interested in our work? Here is our portfolio

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