The Best Illustrator Alternatives for Windows, Mac and Linux
Adobe Illustrator, now in it's 21st version with CC 2017, is the daddy when it comes to the creating and editing of Scalable Vector Graphics. First shipping for the Apple Macintosh way back in the January of 1987, Adobe Illustrator is as mature and feature packed as they come.
In the May of 2012 Adobe's monthly and yearly subscriptions went live as Adobe Creative Cloud, sold alongside Creative Suite 6, allowing choice amongst designers between a one-time expense or a cheaper, subscription-based model that allowed them to stretch out their finances better in the short term.
However a year later, Adobe announced that they were going subscription only across their entire portfolio of graphic design products. CS was dead, leaving Creative Cloud as the only option for a graphic design software for graphic designers to stick to their much-loved Adobe products and use their old file formats. Of course, they can go and subscribe to Illustrator CC at any time but maybe they want to save the money and switch to another vector graphics editor instead.
But all was not bad, Adobe has recently announced that they have smashed their sales and subscriptions projections more than a quarter earlier than expected and the customers are happy too, getting the same great Adobe software with a more constant stream of updates and added features, albeit at a larger cost long term.
However, we here at VectorGuru became very interested in the potential Illustrator alternatives, programs that could compete with Illustrator in both features and price and have decided to create this list of the Top Adobe Illustrator Alternatives some of them free and open source some of them are paid.
You will find a range of programs to suit any need you may have, covering whatever operating system that you are on, be it macOS, Windows or Linux, there is something here for everybody. Ranging from free alternative and from No Cost upwards, there is also something for the budget conscious or those just curious to see what else is out there.
Top Adobe Illustrator Alternatives!
Lets start with our list of software and services as an alternative to Illustrator.
Gravit (not free anymore)
Gravit is a web alternative for Illustrator that runs directly in your browser and which offers all of the main features you would expect from a vector editor. You can export your art in JPG, PNG or SVG. Additionally all of your raw files are backed up by Gravit into their Gravit-Cloud – its a really awesome tool.
The user interface is extremely easy to use with an easy learning curve for those who already have some experience in Vector Editing, however, it shouldn’t take long for the newcomer to master Gravit.
Gravit can also be added as an extension to the Chrome browser.
- Website: Gravit
- Price: Not Free Anymore
- Compatibility: Web App for all platforms
Vecteezy Editor is a fully featured yet easy to use browser-based Vector Editing tool. Pre-loaded with over 800 fonts and over 25,000 design elements, Vecteezy editor has an almost infinite about of customization options.
Built directly into their website, Vecteezy Editor allows you to not only customise Vectors you choose from Vecteezy themselves, but to also upload and edit your own before downloading in SVG, PNG or JPG formats. Its a great image editing tool and works on Windows Mac and everything running a Webbrowser.
Built with ease of use in mind, Vecteezy Editor is as simple as point and click for beginners but has more than sufficient tools to be used by any graphic professional looking for a free and easy way to modify their Vectors.
- Website: Vecteezy Editor
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: Web App for All Platforms
Gravit Designer 3.1
Gravit Designer finally has native apps with Gravit Designer 3.1. Available on multiple platforms including macOS, Windows 10 and Linux.
As a native app, Gravit Designer is is able to get around some of the limitations of the web app version, such as managing multiple pages in one document and accessing System Fonts. The user interface has also had a makeover, making it much more detailed and mature in comparison to the original Gravit and with both Light and Dark mode, working at night is no longer hard on your eyes and with new Gravit Cloud integration you can now use your files across all platforms and online!
Check out our standalone Gravit Designer 3.1 Review and find out all about this latest update!
- Website: Gravit Designer 3.1
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: macOS, Windows 10, Linux, Chrome OS. Web App for all Platforms
Vectr – good Online Illustrator Alternative
Vectr is in the same calibre as Gravit Designer, coming as a native app on Windows, macOS, Linux and as a web app and the functionality is equal to that of Gravit Designer. Its actually one of the best web based illustrator alternative.
However, Vectr does have an ace up its sleeve, it's plan, to be the google docs of vector editing, allowing teams to share the same instance and edit things together!
The Vectr web app is currently only running fully in the Chrome browser, however it has a plug in available that allows for offline functionality.
Each graphic in Vectr is given its own unique URL and these can then be embedded in existing designs that will then change according to any changes made to the source file. Vectr also supports multiple pages and works directly with the SVG format. It also let you do vector drawing and gives you the option to edit scalable vector files.
The user interface of Vectr has a very Adobe feel to it, making it a fairly smooth transition and they also offer a plug in that allows for direct editing of a vector in WordPress. You will also find that the creators of Vectr feel that documentation is of the highest importance and you will find video tutorials that explain most things, making it as easy for new comers to learn as it is for those coming from Adobe or one it's other competitors.
- Website: Vectr
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: macOS, Windows and Linux. Web App for all platforms
Inkscape – Best Free Illustrator Alternative
After over 2 years of development, Inkscape has recently released version 0.92 of its Vector Editor. But with the amount of innovation, the 2 years of development time is completely understandable.
Inkscape have made it a priority to be standard compliant and in order to stay within the rules of the CSS standard, the resolution has been changed from 90 to 96 dpi and the software itself provides multiple options for converting older Inkscape files to work with the newer standard. Mainly the developers have been focusing on displaying as many as SVG2 and CSS3 properties as possible, however not all of these properties can be changed via the user interface. Also, complex grid trajectories do not require any kind of tricks, plug ins or special settings, they work perfectly as a standard function.
As open source software, Inkscape is available free of charge across all the platforms its created for, including macOS, Windows and Linux.
Inkscape is the oldest piece of software on our list and its user interface reflects this, being more complex than others, however it plays in the front of the pack when it comes to features. We did not include the free graphic software Gimp here, because it is not very well working with vector file formats such as SVG or EPS.
- Website: Inkscape
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: macOS, Windows and Linux
Xara Photo & Graphic Design 365
Xara Photo and Design is an easy to use, quick to learn software similar to CorelDRAW and Inkscape in regards to its interface and with full compliance to industry standards, Xara is quite a capable tool for all the graphic designers out there.
With many great features including non-destructive photo handling, intelligent scaling and a built in bit map tracer, all built in to one easy to use package, Xara is definitely worth checking out.
- Website: Xara Photo & Graphics Designer
- Price: $69.99 with one year of updates.
- Compatibility: Windows
Let's Check Out Some More Known and Unknown Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator
BoxySVG is a free solution for the fast processing of SVG files. Visually the app follows a gamers approach, which gives it great ease of use however limits the features set.
Coming as a native app for macOS and as a Chrome Extension, you can also visit the website to get an overview of the functionality and learn the basics with tutorials, editable demo's with prefabricated SVG files for you to practice with.
In addition to SVG and SVGZ formats, which you can import and export with BoxySVG and the app also supports JPG and PNG formats too. Working purely on its value as an SVG editor, BoxySVG is definitely one to give a try!
- Website: BoxySVG
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: macOS, Web App for all Platforms
With no server side functionality, SVG-Edit requires you to download the tool from Github, however it will run locally in any semi-modern web browser. It's recommended that you have at least some basic knowledge of web development before tackling SVG-Edit.
Affinity Designer is a commercial alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Created by Serif, Affinity Designer started out as a macOS only app, however since November 2016 Affinity Designer has been cross platform, working on both macOS and Windows with exactly the same functionality.
In version 1.5, Affinity Designer expanded its target group to include interface and web designers. The software itself providing complete symbol and asset management, and features such as snapping or forcing defined alignments, making it that much easier for web designers to work with and with a user interface similar to Illustrator, Affinity Designer is very easy for those with previous knowledge to pick up and has it's own handy approaches to help you with whatever your task for the day is.
Affinity Designer works with what they call personas, such as the export persona, with which you can control the export of your work in a variety of formats and resolutions. Affinity designer will also take care of backing up and creating folders too.
Currently available in 8 languages, English (US and UK localisation), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Japanese and Chinese (Simplified), Affinity Designer will select the correct language at start up and you can also change it yourself through the apps preferences page.
- Website: Affinity Designer
- Price: 49.99 Euros
- Compatibility: macOS and Windows
CorelDRAW was much more widespread in earlier years than it is today, but with its richness in features and development maturity, it still has its loyal followers and has allowed CorelDRAW to keep its hard-earned place in the market.
Following Adobe's pricing structure, CorelDRAW allows you to purchase a license or subscribe to a monthly subscription service. However, CorelDRAW is sold as a suite of programs, including their Photoshop alternative Photo-Paint X8, a Font Manager, PowerTrace for vectorizing, Capture to create Screenshots, and a Website Creator for putting together websites. Also included are thousands of clipart, images, fonts, templates, fillings, frames, and patterns, making for a great value package.
- Website: CorelDRAW X8
- Price: 699 Euros or 19.95 Euros per month for their subscription package.
- Compatibility: Windows
If your designing on your Mac, there are really only 2 main commercial competitors to Adobe and Sketch is one of them.
Sketch works with an open API that allows anybody to develop plug ins. with this in place, Sketch has developed an extremely active community very quickly who share Templates, Tutorials, Plug ins and much more
- Website: Sketch
- Price: 114.84 Euros per year (If you want updates after the 12 months are over)
- Compatibility: macOS
Autodesk Graphic for Mac
Some older Mac users may recognise the name iDraw, a few years ago iDraw was purchased by Autodesk and rebranded to Autodesk Graphic.
Graphic allows for quick modifications of vector graphics in a low priced package, however the Mac version has not ben updated since October 2015 and are unaware of any being in the works.
Autodesk does however take good care of the iOS version, specifically for the iPad Pro, iPad and iPhone with iOS users and with iCloud support, you are able to edit your vectors in the office or on the go with your changes synchronised across all devices.
On the Mac, Graphic supports the importing and exporting of files in SVG, PDF and Photoshops proprietary PSD formats.
- Website: Autodesk Graphic
- Price: macOS 29.99 Euros, iOS 8.99 Euros
- Compatibility: macOS, iOS (Purchased Separately)
Final Thoughts on the Top Adobe Illustrator Alternative
So there you have it, that was our list of The top Adobe Illustrator Alternatives. And now that you've picked up some great software, why not have a look for some cheap, high-quality vector graphics to play with? You need vector graphics to give these babies a try? Our friends over at SignSilo have an amazing deal, the SignClub subscription:
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- Includes access to millions of stock photos, fonts, wrap artwork and more, at no added cost!
- All of the shapes can be easily resized with no loss in quality.
- All of the illustrations on offer can be used for commercial purposes, for yourself or on behalf of a client.
- They can also be used on their own or as part of a larger project.
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Thank you!!! Affinity opens .eps files with the vector layers!!!
Many thanks for this – I wanted to create a simple design for my logo and utilise google fonts etc I have photoshop but not illustrator etc and am not an expert in these things in any way – this review enabled me to find a suitable package rather than using the poor online services offered by some companies following your review i selected “inkspace” to download and learn the process and am really enjoying learning it
I am a 77 year old artist needing a simple program to scan , resize and send to print artwork in Black and white.
I did have an old version of Illustrator and Photoshop which was perfect but
I did an update on my 27″ Imac and the programs would no longer work.
Apple should have warned users of this situation prior to them updating.
However i am now stuck with No Program that will perform the tasks that I require. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I only use these programs as a hobby.
Thanks in anticipation !!
Hi George, sorry to hear that. Since you can use Adobe Illustrator quite well, I would suggest to check out https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/designer/ – Affinity is quite easy to use and also affordable.