Affinity Designer vs. Adobe Illustrator – Which One is Better for You?

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We all know that the standard graphics programs are the Adobe’s products. If you work in some visual field be its UI design, print design, illustration it is almost sure that you use or used some Adobe product.

Since we are working in the graphics field the Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign group are the most popular and most professional application for our jobs. We know that to make this type of product not so easy, and your competition will be one of the biggest software development company in the world, but we still don’t understand the lack of the proper rivals. Of course, there are some open source ones like GIMP and Inkscape but – despite the fact that these are some serious programs – these are far away from the previously mentioned ones.

Nowadays we are a little bit luckier than in some years ago because today some determinative new software appear like Sketch and Affinity Designer. These apps make a great competition with the Adobe products and give us more alternative which is professional too.

In this article, we are going to look closer the viral Affinity Designer and make some compersion with Illustrator mainly to see what can this app make for us in our daily work. Is it good enough? Is it well supported? Let’s see it!

What is Affinity Designer

Shortly AF is a few years old vector-based graphics software which first was introduced to Mac, and in the last year, it was released on Windows.

It is a full-featured app for professional use. Well supported and costs only $49.99. Compared to this the AI is available for 25,39 €/month.

Previously we wrote an introduction article about Affinity Designer if you want to see a bigger picture check it out!

The Features

We should know that the Affinity Designer is a professional graphics app. Do not be fooled by its price. It is a high-quality well-supported application for a full range of graphical work.

It knows it rivals all main features and more. Of course, there is some difference, but this doesn’t mean that it knows less. There is some function which was done differently.

UI, How It Looks and Feels

We UI surface got the modern dark scheme (in the 1.6 version we get a light theme too). The panel structure is similar like in PS or AI, and this is not a surprise this standard was formed by mostly Adobe.

On the top part of the UI, you got the persona, the align and the pathfinder sections.

In this case, the persona means different, predefined workspaces. The first is purely vector based, in the second you can find the pixel tools, and in the third, you can locate the export tools.

On the left, you can find the tools. This section isn’t different from the tools you got used to in Illustrator. You can locate the selector arrows, curves gradient, different shapes and the typography tools.

In the middle, you can see the canvas area. You can use the default structure, or you can make more different artboards with the artboard-tool. The artboard-tool can be handy for UI design because you can quickly mock up the various viewports of your design.

On the right you can see the different panels like color, stroke, layers, transforms anything you used in your other drawing app.

There are just a few differences in the app’s UI compared to Illustrator this is useful for the end user because the switch is slight!

Import and Export

Okay, almost everybody uses an Adobe product. We have to open those source files we cannot exist without them! Fortunately, the developers at Serif thought about this. You can quickly open an Illustrator or Photoshop in Affinity Designer. There can be some quirks or inaccuracy, but you can get the necessary information.

The “Save for The Web” function is also available in Affinity named by “Export…”. Here you can export your files into the popular file formats, and you can also optimize them.

There is one more way to export your work namely the export persona. You can slice your projects and set the export parameters for each slice or the whole document. At Pathlove we ship our icons in three different PNG size and one SVG with one click.

Here we need to note that the AI SVG export functionality is way better than in the AD. In Affinity, there is some annoying behavior. There is some promise for the repair, but we don’t know more.


With Adobe CC you get a lot of updates, bug fixes, and new features, this is expectable because CC has a monthly subscription model.

The Serif maintain a ~yearly release circle for the main updates and a more common one for the bug fixes. With the major patches, we got new features which feature mostly based on user’s requests. If you have any question or feature request go to the official forum!

Affinity Designer vs. Adobe Illustrator – Summary

The two application are real rivals. There aren’t any drastic difference, and both are great!

We think that this rival is good for us – the end users – because we get a better final product, but we also believe that there no need to choose a side.

In the coding program world, we already saw that there could exist a lot of great app like Sublime, VSCode, Atom, Brackets. These apps are similar, but each has its good and bad nature.

Choose that app which is best suited for you we can provide you that you won’t be disappointed!