How to Choose the Best Adobe Illustrator Alternative?
Before exploring the various options, consider the following crucial aspects to guide your decision-making process:
Understand Your Design Needs
Before settling on a design tool, ask yourself a few critical questions: What kind of design are you creating? Is your project basic or advanced? What’s the expected outcome? Carefully evaluating your requirements will provide a more comprehensive understanding of your design needs.
Consider Collaboration Capabilities
If multiple designers are collaborating on the same project, it’s advisable to use a single design tool to avoid confusion. Therefore, assess your collaboration requirements and choose a tool that accommodates the necessary number of users on a single design platform. This decision will streamline work and file-sharing processes.
Assess Price and Value
Investing in an expensive tool is not a prerequisite for achieving desired results. Review and compare the price and features of several tools, and select the one that offers the best value for your needs.
Evaluate the Learning Curve
Before committing, research tutorial videos and access tool support on their websites and YouTube. Opt for an application that’s easy and quick to grasp. Pre-testing, where possible, is always a beneficial step before making a financial commitment, especially for paid tools.
Top 6 Free Adobe Illustrator Alternatives
Inkscape is a free vector drawing application that provides potent capabilities. It stands as the best free alternative to Adobe Illustrator for professional and semi-professional illustrators, graphic designers, and web designers.
Beyond standard drawing and shape tools, Inkscape boasts a unique spiral tool, a pattern and clone arrangement creator, advanced object manipulation options, numerous filters (including bevels, textures, overlays, and more), and various fill settings. In essence, there’s hardly anything Inkscape can’t do, making it a robust contender to Adobe’s software.
Being an open-source application, Inkscape is not only free to use, but those with technical prowess can even modify and integrate it with other software. New features are continuously added; the latest version introduces innovative functions.
Thanks to the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format, work saved in Inkscape can be opened using other graphic tools. Furthermore, Inkscape is freely available across multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
BoxySVG operates as a free scalable vector graphics file creation extension for Google Chrome. This tool is equipped with an array of essential features such as pens, curves, text, basic shapes, stroke and fill, layers, transformations, and more.
What makes BoxySVG stand out is its ultra-simplified user interface. Its intuitive and minimalist design eliminates clutter, enabling users to focus exclusively on crafting vector graphics. Its primary functionalities are tailored towards what SVG excels in, making the tool faster and more user-friendly than Illustrator. Additionally, the files it generates are neat and efficient.
BoxySVG supports import and export of files in SVG and SVGZ formats. Plus, it can handle JPEGs and PNGs.
3) Gravit Designer
Gravit Designer is a web-based illustration tool that offers an expansive library of shapes, illustrations, images, and more, allowing the export of infinitely scalable vector graphics.
While the free version of Gravit Designer comes with an abundance of features, there are some limitations compared to its paid counterpart.
Gravit Designer is compatible with Mac OS, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS, and can function both online and offline. It provides various grids, layouts, advanced vector editing tools, and a potent alignment system.
Gravit Designer grants you the flexibility to select your desired output format, including JPG, PNG, or SVG. The tool also possesses the ability to save your work online for future use. Despite some limitations compared to Adobe Illustrator, Gravit’s features are highly comparable and notable.
For users’ convenience, Gravit Designer offers video tutorials for each tool to ease the learning process.
Vectornator boasts millions of downloads, making it one of the highest-rated illustrators on the App Store. It incorporates an auto-tracing feature that enables you to trace images within seconds, saving a significant amount of time compared to other solutions.
This application, with its unlimited artboards and advanced text editing tools, has become a preferred tool for many designers. Other notable features include Boolean operations, grouping, pencil, anchor and hide tools, etc. The tool is constantly evolving and is expected to offer real-time collaboration soon.
Vectornator is compatible with iPadOS 13 and iOS 13 and later, as well as macOS Big Sur or later (with native M1 support). This tool is an excellent alternative, especially for those working with typography but lacking the patience for hours of practice.
5) Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer is globally recognized among designers. It offers unique features like pan and zoom at 60fps with real-time previews of blend modes. You can also apply gradients and live effects to your designs. It even lets you preview transformations and curve adjustments live, enhancing the overall design experience. This tool is optimized for handling documents of any complexity and is compatible with Mac, Windows, and iPad.
Affinity Designer produces immaculate vector images and provides flexible layer management and a plethora of tools for perfecting your image. It also features a PSD import system and supports Ai, PDF, and EPS formats.
While Affinity Designer does offer a free beta version, the full array of features comes at a cost.
CorelDRAW is reputed as the fastest illustration tool available. This comprehensive design and layout illustrator is compatible with Windows, iOS, Mac, iPad, and even works on your smartphone. Features like multi-page view and multi-asset export simplify the designing process. CorelDRAW’s next-gen collaboration function allows for feedback and comments directly within the design file, making it a highly capable alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Not only does CorelDRAW deliver excellent performance, but it also provides an intuitive interface. This makes it a viable option for design beginners. Despite its easy learning curve, CorelDRAW does not compromise on features. It is packed with unique functionalities.
CorelDRAW provides a 15-day free trial, after which the software is paid and relatively expensive.
Adobe Illustrator: An Overview
Adobe Illustrator is a software application that facilitates the creation of drawings, illustrations, and graphics on Windows or macOS devices. First launched in 1987, Illustrator continually receives updates and is currently a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. Globally utilized by graphic designers, web designers, visual artists, and professional illustrators, Illustrator equips users to produce high-quality work. This software contains numerous advanced drawing tools, significantly reducing the time required to generate a variety of graphics.
Key Features of Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is a powerful application with a vast array of features and tools tailored for graphic designers. The primary features of Illustrator include:
- The capacity to draw freehand using diverse brushes, pencils, and digital pens.
- Advanced color options that enable the creation of color palettes, filling shapes, utilizing gradient color schemes, and blending different color effects.
- A “Layers” feature, which facilitates the distribution of your design’s components across multiple layers. This feature ensures easy editing of a single layer without influencing others.
- A grid feature equipped with anchor points and snap capabilities, making it effortless to align shapes and lines precisely.
- Cloud libraries for storing all your project’s design resources such as colors, brushes, graphics, text, and character styles, ensuring easy retrieval during the project.
- A font library equipped with a search function, helping you identify the perfect font types for your various projects.
- Tools for quickly creating geometric shapes, adjusting curves, and manipulating lines.
Understanding Vector Images
There are two primary file types for graphics designed on a computer: vector images and raster images. Adobe Illustrator produces scalable vector graphics. Unlike raster-based file types like gif, jpeg, and tiff, vector images aren’t composed of a pixel grid. Rather, they’re created by paths, featuring a start point and an end point, along with a blend of shapes, angles, and lines.
All vector images can be simplified into a set of lines and geometric shapes (vectors) deliberately placed relative to each other. The paths, connected by mathematical formulas, can be scaled and resized infinitely. Being resolution independent, vector graphics can be enlarged to any size without sacrificing detail or quality. Thus, creating vector graphics results in sharp, stunning artworks that can be endlessly scaled without quality loss.
Free Software Alternative to Illustrator
Inkscape is a free vector drawing software that serves as an alternative to Illustrator. It’s compatible with AI files and offers an extensive set of drawing and editing tools.
Obtaining Illustrator for Free
Adobe provides a free trial version of Illustrator CC, accessible on the official Adobe website. The trial period lasts for 7 days. After downloading and installing the trial version, users must create an Adobe account and sign in with their Adobe credentials.
Comparing Illustrator and Photoshop
Photoshop is an image processing software that modifies existing photos, whereas Illustrator is a vector graphics software, allowing image creation from simple geometric shapes.
Cost of Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator is a vector drawing software marketed by Adobe Systems and a component of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. However, free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator are available.