The Best Alternative to Illustrator

Hey guys and gals,

I’ve recently been researching Illustrator like softwares to replace my Illustrator CS5, and I’ve been deciding between these 3 softwares :

Affinity Designer
Sketch
Autodesk Graphic

I’ll mainly be using the software to make app logos, icons, etc. and some art as a hobby. Am also using a MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina Display 2013 if that helps.

So my questions are :

  1. Do you use any of these software and if you do would you recommend it?
  2. Would it be better to stick to Illustrator?
  3. Are there any alternatives to Illustrator(not listed above) that you would highly recommend?

Thanks for reading :slightly_smiling:

Highly recommend Affinity Designer. I dropped Illustrator last year and haven’t looked back.

The way Affinity works is close enough to Illustrator that it isn’t too hard to figure out what to do. For those things I wasn’t able to figure out I found a couple of people on Twitter to ask!

Not sure if you’ve seen this post, but it just came out and may be helpful:

I know @vwenderlich uses Illustrator for almost everything and loves it, but I don’t think she’s spent much time evaluating the other tools you mentioned.

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Hi, just saw that post, really helpful :+1:

That’s my dilemma, too. I used AI for many years for illustration projects. Coming to the Mac, I found that unless I buy AI for the Mac as well, there are barely any apps that measure up to it. Let’s not forget that AI has been around for 20 or so years. It has features and tools that the new, fresh apps just simply cannot match and don’t have. For simple stuff (such as basic logos) any of the above mentioned app will do.

Unfortunately, I think the problem is that most vector apps rely on the basic tool and feature set that the standard Mac library offers. Basic line and shape manipulation, basic coloring, basic booleans, etc. In other words, basic this, basic that, basic other, etc. They wrap a different UI around it and call it a day.

I guess Affinity Designer is kinda ok (personally I am not a fan of it at all). It has quite a few bugs, and lot’s of annoying, unfinished features. They advertise it as “5 years in the making”, but if you worked with any number of years using illustrator on a more serious level, you will find that it translates to more like “4 years of brainstorming and 1 year of coding”.

Sketch is great, but it’s really not for “illustration” illustration. Although you can get by doing basic logos and such. It’s great for UI and layout design, etc.

Autodesk Graphic is not Autodesk at all. They just bought the app not long ago and they only changed the “logo” on it. I think it’s still quite basic compared to other apps.

For me one of the biggest problem with all the available vector programs for the Mac, is that they all offer more-less unique features on their own, but not in a single package. As in, one app offers a unique feature, but not the other. But the other app offers a unique feature that the third one doesn’t have, and so on.

Eventually, depending on what your needs are and how important certain features are to you, I don’t think there’s an “illustrator killer” - as they say - for the Mac at this point. There are “wannabes” out there, but in all seriousness none of them match the power and might of an app that had 20 years to mature.

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Very insightful @pentool! Thank you.

I like the two Affinity products, but honestly, what I was most excited about for them was their improvement pace, and advertisement of taking advantage of a bunch of OS X-specific tech, which could theoretically allow them to let Apple do a lot of the work for them. Now that the suite is coming to Windows, I’m still going to use it, because Illustrator is expensive and not worth it to me at present, but I’m not excited about the prospect.