Ask DN: Illustrator or Affinity Designer?

7 years ago from , Product Designer

I'm wanting to know if you have used Affinity Designer and do you think it could replace AI for things like SVG illustrations, icons etc.

Thanks :)


  • Yannis SteriotisYannis Steriotis, 7 years ago

    I stop using AI and I am doing all my work in Affinity and in Sketch. Yes, you can do this.

    13 points
    • Joe Blau, 7 years ago

      Same. There is a learning curve for learning the new shortcuts and where all of the tools are but it's a small price to pay for actually owning your software.

      2 points
    • Xavier BertelsXavier Bertels, 7 years ago

      Same experience here!

      0 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 7 years ago

    It really depends what you’re after. Affinity Designer is a very solid choice, but Illustrator still has more depth in terms of features.

    I own both, but use Illustrator more. It really is the best vector design tool in the world. There is one giant caveat though: Illustrator’s rendering is beyond terrible. If you need to export PNGs, don’t do it from Illustrator.

    6 points
    • Jamie FangJamie Fang, 7 years ago

      How do you export PNGs? Do you copy it as Smart Object, then export PNGs from Photoshop? Thanks!

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 7 years ago

        I usually create icons and glyphs in Illustrator, then paste them into Photoshop as shape layers. They’re then styled and coloured in Photoshop, and exported from there.

        Pasting as Smart Objects has other rendering issues. Far worse quality than shape layers in Photoshop.

        4 points
  • Amyas Marshall, 7 years ago

    I'm currently a Affinity user, if they can add Width tool, Shape Builder Tool, Eye Dropper Tool to Designer, I'll dump Illustrator completely.

    3 points
    • Aaron SAaron S, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      Exactly this!! +1

      0 points
    • Tony GinesTony Gines, 7 years ago

      The eyedropper tool is the biggest hole right now. I can almost live without the shape builder tool, but it has been extremely frustrating trying to work without the eyedropper tool.

      0 points
      • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 7 years ago

        You don't need it, really: try Sip and you'll be set.

        0 points
        • Tony GinesTony Gines, 7 years ago

          I have Sip. The eyedropper tool in Illustrator isn't just for color. It also copies stroke width/style and fill color simultaneously.

          1 point
  • Philip AmourPhilip Amour, 7 years ago

    Affinity if you want better experience and don't want to get ripped off by a corporation that doesn't care about their users.

    2 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, 7 years ago

    If it helps you make a decision, Affinity announced they will be porting their apps to Windows in 2-3 months, which will increase the popularity of the program and make it easier for a team to adopt it or for you to exchange files.

    2 points
  • louie solomonlouie solomon, 7 years ago

    Affinity is great. It has about 90% of Illustrator's tools, plus a ton of features Illustrator doesn't have.

    Unfortunately, I find the color picker to be practically unusable (not that Illustrator's is much better). Once that is fixed, I feel I could use Designer as my default vector graphics illustration tool.

    2 points
    • Joshua TurnerJoshua Turner, 7 years ago

      I agree.

      One thing I've done to overcome this is to use ColorSnapper2 system wide, which largely replaced my need for a color picker in AI.

      1 point
      • Ole-Martin BrattengOle-Martin Bratteng, 7 years ago

        I never use built-in color picker, I bought Sip when it as first launched, it's great with all the different types of colour profiles it can export to. .Net, Java, Android, CSS, NSColor etc

        6 points
    • Jared Pike, 7 years ago

      Agreed, the color picker and the inability to easily copy the appearance of other layers has kept me from using it full time.

      0 points
      • Erik ShawErik Shaw, 7 years ago

        You can copy the appearance by pressing cmd+c and paste it to any layer by pressing shift+cmd+c. The color picker is a definitely a pain at the moment, but I think Affinity is working on it.

        1 point
  • Tristam GochTristam Goch, 7 years ago

    I've been using Affinity Designer for around 90% of work for the last few months. Most stuff is great, but it is missing a couple of handy things from Illustrator (OMG can we please have custom guides)

    2 points
  • Dav ▩Dav ▩, 7 years ago

    (FontLab/TypeTool) + Affinity Designer for everything vector. (Aaand: Loving it. Well, it easily replaced Illustrator for me. And I was a FreeHand‘er anyway. ;)

    *Still impatiently awaiting Affinity Publisher, or any serious InDesign contender other than Quark.

    1 point
  • Peiran TanPeiran Tan, 7 years ago

    If I weren’t bound in InDesign and Adobe CC plan, I’d love to work with Affinity.

    1 point
  • Nick Hiley, 7 years ago

    Awesome opinions guys, thank you! I think I'm gonna give it a shot. I'm trying to move away from Adobe as much as I can because I don't want too many subscriptions #cheapskate

    1 point
  • Kevin ChisakiKevin Chisaki, 7 years ago

    If affinity made something like Adobe InDesign I would totally abandon adobe for go with Sketch, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Designer.

    0 points
  • Hendrik Runte, 7 years ago

    I haven't ran any Adobe products for half a year now using Sketch and Affinity products. Alas, there are some special features which are not available yet as far as I now (correct me if I'm wrong), such as OTF variants and circular text or text along a curve.

    0 points
    • David França, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      I believe you have both!

      Using a font with open type properties, SHIFT+CMD+T will bring up the Typography menu, and it will show you the alternates. For text on a path, just use the Artistic Text Tool and select the edge of the shape.

      1 point
  • Riomar MccartneyRiomar Mccartney, 7 years ago

    Affinity designer all the way!

    0 points
  • Dennis Schmidt, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    I use Affinity for most things now because Illustrator just gets worse (= more unstable and less performant) with each update, it seems. It all started with the grids and guides not snapping in CS6 and when I tried to build an icon in Illustrator today in CC2015, all hell broke loose (https://twitter.com/desch296/status/710853422728278016).

    The 'problem' with Affinity is that it is still in a very early stage and you can definitely tell that by the UI and the workflow in general. It doesn't feel as smooth and intuitive as Illustrator...used to. But I'm pretty sure that if you give them some time, they'll get there.

    0 points
  • Weston VierreggerWeston Vierregger, 7 years ago

    I'm an AD shill, having transitioned mainly out of curiosity and ended up loving it. Actually, AD has replaced both Photoshop and Illustrator for my design needs.

    0 points