Learning Paths

Affinity Designer vs Illustrator: Which is the best program for you?

On the designer’s menu today are the two delectable design programs, we will be comparing Affinity Designer vs Illustrator. (Cue mouth-watering). On this menu, we’ve been served two powerful vector-based programs featuring great tools and strong user interfaces; each for creating final professional designs and making the selection all the more challenging! But at the end of the day, when it comes to choosing Adobe or Affinity, it will come down to what your main design needs are – you can also save a ton of money if you switch to Affinity.

Developed by UK-based Serif Labs, the vector graphics editor of Affinity Designer may be the more cost-effective option, but it’s also been created specifically for professional designers who know and love the Mac environment. Affinity Designer is said to resemble a hybrid of Illustrator and Photoshop with its editing and pixel layer creation ability. Designers who work frequently in both programs could find this element very helpful. Even though Affinity is the new kid on the block, it is a stronger contender in the running to win the heart’s of designers.

affinity designer

While Adobe and Affinity each have their highlights; here we do a quick comparison:


If you’re a student, freelance graphic artist on a budget, hobbyist or professional in need of a vector-based programme, Affinity Designer is an impressive, low-budget alternative to Adobe Illustrator you should definitely consider. It’s suitably simple for beginners to use as a learning tool but sufficiently powerful for freelance graphic artists on a budget. Affinity Designer is more cost-effective with a similar final output. Both programs create fabulous final designs, have a wide audience and are user-friendly.


When we’re talking budget-friendly, Affinity Designer is the best value and will save you the most cash in the short and the long term – we kid you not!. While Adobe Illustrator is only offered in a subscription-based model (the lowest price being $20.99/month), Affinity Designer is available as a one-time purchase of $49.99 with no subscription fee and free updates for life PLUS an additional 50% student discount (students, can I get a whoop whoop?!).

Ease of Use

Affinity Designer still requires upfront learning, but it has a clean, intuitive, user interface and is less cluttered, allowing for ease of use and focusing on the essentials. While Affinity Designer doesn’t have as many features as Illustrator, it’s interface is less confusing, allowing you to remain more focused on the project creation at hand.

For ease of workflow, users can use the persona toolbar; that divides the vector, pixel and export tools into three separate sets—users can switch between tool sets without workflow interruption. While Designer lets the user design vector shapes and tools, the Pixel persona allows you to create raster shapes and tools, and Export gives you the perfect layout to export your final image. How about that for convenience!

Illustrator is best suited to professionals who require the most advanced program available, as it doesn’t guide you as much through the design process. While Illustrator does provide custom workspaces and very useful default ones, the number of buttons and options can be daunting. For designers who work in Photoshop and Illustrator simultaneously, using Affinity Designer will absolutely help you save time!

Learning Curve

Both Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer have resources to guide you through the world of vector graphics. For newbies and seasoned pros, Affinity Designer offers a modern user interface that allows you to transition almost seamlessly between it and Illustrator. Budding designers will find all the necessary tools clearly organized and accessible and the default toolbars and keyboard shortcuts will feel familiar to Adobe users. The learning curve is more like a gentle slope for designers experienced in Illustrator or Photoshop.

Compatibility: Can Affinity Designer openAI?

Both Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer are compatible with both Mac and Windows users. Both programs have limitations when trying to use their native files in other programs – BUT, Affinity Designer is able to open and edit PSD, AI and EPS with relative ease.

What are your needs as a designer? This is the question that will ultimately help you choose whether Affinity’s Designer or Illustrator is the best option for you. While both have everything you will need to create mind-blowing final designs; if you’re looking for a gentle learning curve, simple interface and a more cost-effective solution, Affinity is a great way to go.

If you want to accelerate yourself into the ease-of-use and money-saving joys of Affinity Designer, come and do our Affinity Designer Course!