Tired of Adobe's subscription model? We introduce you to 5 free and paid Illustrator alternatives that you can use to create and edit vector graphics.
Affinity Designer: The affordable all-rounder
Affinity Designer is a comprehensive graphics program at an affordable price. Image: © Serif 2021
The British company Serif does not only take on the top dog Adobe in graphic design. The range also includes alternatives to Adobe Publisher and Photoshop. All products have in common the extensive range of functions, which can easily compete with Adobe products, and the attractive price. The Affinity Designer costs just under 55 euros once. You can then use the program for as long as you want – without an annual subscription. Conveniently, Adobe files can be easily imported and keyboard shortcuts can be configured manually. So it's ideal if you want to switch from Illustrator but don't feel like getting used to new shortcodes.
Platform : Windows, macOS
Price : 54.99 euros (one-time)
Inkscape: Free and Open Source
Inkscape offers professionals and beginners the opportunity to create vector graphics. Image: © Inkscape 2021
Editing and creating vector graphics with Inkscape is even cheaper – namely free of charge. The program is constantly being further developed by an open source project and offers anyone interested the chance to try out the world of graphics. Although it's free, it has a variety of features, such as layers and brush tools. Files from competitors from Adobe and CorelDRAW can also be opened without any problems and finished projects can be exported in all common file formats. This means that professional work with Inkscape is also possible.
Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Sketch: For digital design on the Mac
Sketch is a good alternative to Illustrator for Mac users. Image: © Sketch 2021
If you are looking for an Illustrator alternative that offers digital design of websites and apps, Sketch is the right choice for you. The software does not offer the full range of functions of the Adobe solution and is less suitable for the production of print graphics. But the user interface is tidier and more intuitive to use. Relearning shouldn't be so difficult for you with Sketch. The software costs at least 99 US dollars (around 83 euros). After a year you can reach into your pocket again or you can continue to use your existing license. In this case, however, you will have to forego future updates and new functions. Updates are only available to subscribers.
Price: 99 US dollars (around 83 euros, one-time or as a subscription)
CorelDRAW: No longer Windows-only
In the 1980s CorelDRAW started as "the Illustrator for Windows". The graphics and drawing program, like Adobe's software, is now available for both platforms. In terms of functionality, the two programs are in no way inferior. The differences are more to be found in the operation. For example, the user interface and tools are organized differently. You can't save with CorelDRAW. The one-time program costs just under 650 euros. And the Adobe-like subscription model is expensive at around 29 euros. An Illustrator alternative, therefore, more for users who are more likely to be annoyed by the Adobe user interface than by the pricing.
Platform: Windows, macOS
Price: 29.08 euros (monthly) or 649 euros (one-time)
Gravit Designer: Vector graphics in the browser
The Gravit Designer is available as a download and as a web app. Image: © Corel Corporation 2021
Graphics programs are usually extensive and accordingly take up a lot of memory on your own computer. Gravit Designer takes a different approach here. The software works as a web app completely in the browser and can therefore be used on any platform without any problems. The basic equipment of the program is available free of charge in a freemium model. However, if you want to use pro functions such as offline editing of files, you have to invest almost 99 euros per year. As with Adobe, Gravit Designer users are bound to a subscription if they want to use the full scope of the software.
Platform: Web app or as a download for Windows, macOS, Linux and ChromeOS
Price: Basic package free of charge (Freemium), Pro version for 99 euros per year