Is Affinity Designer a good alternative to Adobe Illustrator?

Christmas card designed using Affinity Designer

I recently designed a Christmas card design using Affinity Designer to send out to my contacts, the design for which is partially inspired by German born artist Josef Albers.

I purchased a copy of Affinity Designer (which was recently chosen as Mac App of the Year by Apple) last month to try out as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

So far I’ve been pretty impressed, especially as it costs £39.99 (currently on offer at £29.99), which compares favourably to a rolling monthly subscription to Adobe Illustrator which is £17.15 a month.

Live Trace

It doesn’t do some things that Illustrator is capable of, the live trace functionality is the one I would probably miss the most, but it’s being developed all the time and a recent update added the ability to create art boards.

It also feels fast and the interface will seem very familiar if you use Adobe Illustrator so there’s not a lot of time needed to get up to speed with it. I think native file sizes seem like they may be a bit larger but exporting Jpegs, PNGs and PDF seem fine in terms of file size.

In truth I don’t use Adobe Illustrator that much, with the advent of CSS3 I create way less graphic images like gradients and even icons, but occasionally I do need a tool to create vectors images, most usually for logos and icon images.

Affinity Designer v Sketchapp

I started using Sketchapp a while ago now to mock-up websites. It’s also a great for wire-framing, and I’ve found it to be a really great tool in many ways. The interface on Sketch, unlike Affinity Designer, is quite dissimilar to software I’ve used in the past and I’m on the sideline about some features, but that could just be a familiarity issue.

Could Affinity Designer be a better tool than Sketch for mocking up websites? I really don’t know, I might give it a try on my next project but the tool I’m possibly less sure about with Affinity Designer is the export persona. I think the export feature in Sketch is really brilliant.

An Alternative to InDesign?

Affinity also plan to release an alternative to InDesign, Affinity Publisher, next year and I look forward to using that. Like Illustrator I don’t use it that much but, if Affinity Designer is anything to go by, I’m pretty sure Affinity will create some fantastic software.