Illustrator vs Affinity Designer – Review and Comparison



hey YouTube today I want to give you a side-by-side comparison of Adobe Illustrator and affinity designer we'll start off by taking a look at how these two programs are similar and then we'll look at the strengths of each program whether you choose illustrator or designer is purely up to you but you should know why you're choosing one program over the other in the world of design it's no secret that Adobe Illustrator has been an industry standard for decades but in recent years affinity designer has begun to challenge illustrators tight grip on the industry as a direct competitor to illustrator it's not surprising the affinity designer shares many of the same tools and features both of these programs are perfect for making vector designs they both have vector shapes brushes and the pen tool both programs also have a black arrow and a white arrow which work almost identically both programs allow you to easily adjust the corners of objects and work with artboards both programs also have robust text tools allowing you to change text size font and spacing additionally they both allow you to place text on a path both programs give you a wide array of color options you can choose any color in RGB or CMYK you can use swatches add a fill and stroke two objects use an eyedropper tool to select colors and make your own gradients all of the panels and either program can be moved around deleted or have new ones added both programs have a layers panel where you can rearrange layers turn them on and off group them make child lairs and change the layer opacity both programs have a wide range of export options including jpg and PNG each program also has more advanced features like symbols which allow you to change one instance of a symbol and have that change reflected in all other instances of that symbol in addition to all of the similarities we've already seen each one of these programs is available for Mac and PC have regular updates and they even share many of the same shortcut keys these two programs are really similar but now let's take a look at why you might choose one program over the other by looking at their individual strengths we'll start off by taking a look at why you might choose illustrator over designer one of the first strengths I noticed an illustrator is it's incredible shape builder tool which makes combining complex shapes a breeze in contrast designer has boolean operations these work well enough to get the job done but aren't as convenient as the shape builder serif the company that makes affinity designer say they'll come out with some sort of shape builder in the future but for now this program is limited to the boolean operations after switching from illustrator to designer I also miss the ability to trace an image automatically vectorizing any photo currently serif is working on adding an image trace feature to affinity designer but for now designer really doesn't have a tool that compares to illustrators image trace another reason some people stick with illustrator is its ability to work beautifully inside the Adobe ecosystem if you or your coworkers are deep into an Adobe workflow it's very convenient to use illustrator for your designs designer is also missing a few other useful features that illustrator has like the ability to add multiple strokes to an object a blend tool mesh tool and a knife tool fortunately the affinity team knows that designer is missing these useful features and they've promised to add them for free in the next few updates to affinity designer I'll leave a link in the video description to designers roadmap which outlines all of the improvements that are going to be implemented into designer in the upcoming months you can see that the list includes things like mesh tools a knife tool multiple effects fills and strokes / shape the ability to convert a pixel selection to a vector shape and a blend feature unfortunately you'll also notice that this list does not include a shape builder tool so it might take some more time before designer implements that particular tool as an industry standard it's not surprising that illustrator has a lot of great tools and features but now let's take a look at the strengths of the underdog affinity designer if you're moving from illustrator to affinity designer the first thing you'll notice is how quick and speedy it feels the affinity team has really focused on only adding high quality features to designer rather than bloating it with dozens of unnecessary tools a good representation of designer speed is to compare its load time with illustrator first let's load illustrator twelve and a half seconds not too bad but now let's see how designer does as you can see it takes half the time to load affinity designer I know this is a somewhat trivial example but it's a good representation of the snappiness you'll feel throughout the entire program another huge strength of designer is its pixel persona if you're coming from the Adobe ecosystem you can think of the pixel persona as having photo shops most useful tools built directly into illustrator this saves you the hassle of needing to jump back and forth between two separate programs if you're someone that does a lot of user interface design you'll also appreciate designers constraints which are tremendous time savers if you need to preview how your design will look like on various screen sizes this is a great feature that illustrator should work on implementing into their own software designer also has a few other tricks up its sleeve like the ability to continuously export elements of your design you can turn on an option so every time you change something in your design a new version of it will automatically be exported in Illustrator you need to re export your work every time you make any changes designer also has an extensive list of pre-made shapes and designer comes with a history panel which allows you to scroll back to any step you've taken in your design workflow more shapes and a history panel would certainly be welcome additions to illustrator however the number one reason people choose affinity designer / illustrator is its incredible price the cheapest way you can get illustrator is to pay Adobe $20 a month forever that's $240 a year with designer you make a one-time payment of $50 and then get free updates if you want the best bang for your buck there's no doubt that designer is the way to go to summarize this video illustrator currently is more powerful than designer but designer is quickly closing that gap and in some cases it has surpassed illustrator so whether you choose illustrator or designer it's totally your choice but if you do choose designer and want to learn more about it I'll leave a link in the video description for our complete beginners guide to this program you'll learn all of the tools and techniques you need to make the most of affinity designer

30 Replies to “Illustrator vs Affinity Designer – Review and Comparison”

  1. By the name of my channel, you can probably guess that I favor Affinity Designer over Illustrator, but I did my best to show the strengths and weaknesses of each program, so that you guys can make the right decision for which option is best for you! πŸ™‚

  2. I will start learning Affinity and I hope there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube from beginning to advanced skills. Thanks for sharing. Great comparative analysis on the features.

  3. On top of being an excellent substitute for illustrator, I especially love the pricing. I love that it is affordable for artists and you can pay up front. I absolutely hate subscriptions. Affinity is the future I wanna support. ✊

  4. Thank you for this very useful comparison. Affinity bought and installed! I loooove your presentation style and diction. No shouting and very clear! Thanks

  5. Thanks for this nice video. I'm not a big fan of subscription based software, but I'm in love with Adobe Illustrator. So right now I don't know which one I should actually choose 😐

  6. HEY affinity team!!! I have an important question!

    But Firstly wanna thank you guys and what you do and sharing knowledge to learn the software

    I bought affinity designer for the desktop

    I have an i9-9900k
    32gb RAM
    Graphics- gtx 1050Ti
    Windows 10

    First thing after purchase I wanted to draw with the mouse to test refresh and accuracy, so I made a canvas of 25x25inches and I chose the pixel persona, brush (air brushes) clicked a very cloudy soft air brush (one of the last ones)

    And had it sized at around 15 pixels

    One stroke with that brush and doing zig zag. Was super laggy and delayed… I checked my specs. My PC at idle runs at 1.5 ghz (could it be that I need more GHZ ?

    It lags like crazy. And the bigger the brush the worse

    Does this mean theres a brush taking memory in the software that is useless or just taking up space? Was wonder what I can do to increase drawing performance with pixel persona……

    *VECTOR PERSONA WORKS FLAWLESS* way yyyyy better than Ai

  7. The symbolism used in affinity let you know just who designed this program. Very telling (For those with eyes to see and ears to hear). That being said, it’s still a great piece of software.

  8. Thanks for the video. I've been looking at replacing the 3 key Adobe apps (Id, Ai, Ps) and this is very eyeopening. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

  9. It looks like a few "choices" in how things work are taken from inkscape, so that is good.

    Are there any plans for linux release or having it work in wine as many commercial programs are starting to do?
    My company's looking for 27 licenses. Adobe is very painful. In fact I'm on staff near literally to just fix adobe issues. They're almost entirely illustrator related. I truly wish we were extremely rich to throw money at you or anyone else willing to make a good product, unlike adobe ever has been willing to do.
    I saw you have a big update next month and haven't had (a big) one since this video, Is mesh getting added? Also is the brush thing that does what your boolean operators do being added? I know they use that constantly. I use FreeCAD and inkscape for 3d print design so I'm very familiar with boolean operators but they aren't.
    Thanks.

  10. I'm currently still able to use my Adobe student discount but will need to find an alternative soon as I'm not a professional designer right now, I think this is an easy decision though, haha

  11. If Designer is the rival of Illustrator, how come it doesn't export to .ai format? Will Illustrate users be able to open Designer files?

  12. From what I found, one of the weakness of Illustrator over designer is the artboard size limit about 220 inch sometihing. Thats troubling for 1:1 size user. While Designer's limit to 800 inch something

  13. All I can say is Affinity has put in hard work to maintain their position against Adobe. They'll decidedly be a true competitor if not the greatest one.

  14. I had to play at 1.25 – 1.5 x , otherwise, its good. ! informative and clear . Thank You. But, why is affinity not selling as much or not as known as Adobe? Marketing you say? Just curious

  15. Now let's all kneel down and raise our arms to pray – that Adobe finally has a real competitor! πŸ™πŸ½ That was high time! I hope the Designer will soon be available for Mac. Affinity Photo is fantastic, I use it a lot, and I'm absolutely happy with it.

  16. Good program affinity you get most tools but adobe is been very greedy I refuse to pay them monthly,thanks for the review

  17. When a company gets greedy it will loose my vote. Sorry Adobe I'm going with affinity. I'll accept any flaws that may need to be worked out in the meantime so while maybe a slightly different or less popular version, I believe affinity is going on into the future while Adobe will be left in the dust. And then looking back on it we will say " Well they became greedy and lost their good long term customers" been using it since I can remember. Well not any more. To much bullcrap. I want to buy once not rent!

  18. On Windows (at least one my work pc, haven't checked at home yet). AD takes 1.5 times the amount of time to load compared to AI CC (22.1). Even still I am going to try and replace my workflow for designing our in house brochures with AD and AP.

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