Adobe Express vs Illustrator: What Software to Choose

By Eva Williams 15 days ago, Software Reviews

If you want to discern which program is better in the Adobe Express vs Illustrator battle, you should consider your project specifics in the first place. Both software were created by Adobe and they have several similar tools.

However, Illustrator is aimed at the creation of professional branding materials and illustrations, while Adobe Express will cater to the needs of people, who want to improve and make images for social networks.

Adobe Express is a go-to program for novices thanks to a huge collection of ready-to-use templates. The program is free if you choose web or mobile versions. For the Premium version, you need to pay $9.99/month.

Adobe Illustrator is powerful graphic design software for creating logos, packaging design, web graphics, and more. It works flawlessly on computers and iPads. The price is $20.99/month.

What Is Adobe Express

adobe express logo

Adobe Express is a cloud-based platform for making designs. You can access it via a web browser, as well as download it from App Store, Google Play, and the Microsoft Store. The most praiseworthy characteristic of the software is an extensive collection of photos, illustrations, and fonts.

While comparing Adobe Express vs Illustrator, I was absolutely fascinated by how intuitive this program is despite its expansive toolset. In fact, it has the most advanced tools available in Photoshop and Illustrator but makes the process of using them extremely understandable. Besides, it offers quick sharing, the possibility to create engaging posts for social networks and promotional flyers.

Undoubtedly, the biggest advantage of the program is its usability. Just choose a suitable template, make customizations, and show your project to others.

  • adobe express interface
  • interface adobe express

    Adobe Express: Strengths and Weaknesses

    Fantastic templates. Before you start making a design, you can select a suitable layout. Based on your choice, the program will suggest suitable templates, e.g., Instagram, YouTube, etc. The catalog includes over 66K templates.

    Scheduling tools. Comparing Adobe Express vs Snappa, I noticed that they have similar features. The Scheduler available in the Adobe software can be connected to your social media accounts for more efficient posting. It is possible to choose the needed publish time, add captions, upload as many images as you need, and even pepper your posts with emojis.   

    Quick Actions. Enhancing photos, videos, and documents is very easy in this program. Just apply Quick Actions and enjoy the result. Among included actions are those for resizing content, converting files, adding effects, and more.

    Access to Adobe Stock photos. Every user opting for this software in the Adobe Express vs Illustrator competition is rewarded with access to 160 million royalty-free photos from Adobe Stock in the Premium plan and over 1 million images from the free collection in the Free plan.

    More than 20,000 licensed fonts. If you tend to complement your images with text, you will definitely appreciate the possibility to use sleek fonts (serif, sans-serif, slab serif, script, mono, handwriting). Graphic designers especially like such fonts as Proxima Nova, Museo Sans, and Renata.

    Seamless switching between devices. If you want to work on your materials from different devices, you just need to log into your account on all machines. Thus, you can start a project on your phone during commuting and then continue editing on a computer in an office. The timely synchronization of changes is amazing.

    Some important features are missing in a free version. To remove the background in Adobe Express as accurately as possible, you can’t do without premium instruments. To resize your project, you also have to pay for the subscription.

    Fewer features than Illustrator offers. While Illustrator is replete with advanced tools, Adobe Express is aimed at beginners, so most cutting-edge features are missing. For example, there is no 3D assets support, which is the highlight of Illustrator and some other alternatives to Adobe Express.

    What Is Adobe Illustrator

    adobe illustrator logo

    Adobe Illustrator is a modern software for working with vector graphics. Illustrator helps create eye-catching logos, colorful icons, images and, typography.

    Users can make original website banners and Google ads, add unique graphics, logo designs, and custom lettering to attract potential clients. Similar to Adobe Express, Illustrator provides access to Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock assets.

    With the help of Pathfinder and Shapebuilder tools, you can create a one-of-a-kind logo that will display your brand identity. You can design in Pantone or CMYK, so there will be no color distortions regardless of the device people use to view visuals.

    • adobe illustrator interface
    • adobe illustrator interface

      Adobe Illustrator: Strengths and Weaknesses

      Multi-functional. Adobe Illustrator CC allows you not only to create pictures based on various primitive images, but also to edit them. It also works with bitmap elements such as images drawn from pixels and photographs. A user can even take a sample of a vector symbol and save it as a bitmap. Later, this object can be used in any new file, which reduces file size and improves manipulation (no need to create a new element every time).

      Handy drawing tools. Since Illustrator is a vector graphics software, it has many pro-level instruments for this task. Among them, the most notable are Pixel Perfect, which allows producing accurate web graphics with pixels placed precisely on a grid, and the Puppet Warp tool for performing advanced editing of complex shapes. In addition to purpose-built tools, you can also use regular ones, such as pen, ellipse, rectangle, etc.

      Efficient slicing function. Adobe Illustrator CC has slicing and cutting tools that are indispensable if you want to have better control over shapes and lines. There is also the Navigator tab, which contains tools for combining, merging, intersecting, and splitting. I highly recommend testing each feature to understand what results they may bring.

      Integration with other Adobe products. If you are a devoted Adobe fan and frequently use Lightroom, Photoshop, or InDesign, then you can make your work even more productive with the help of Illustrator.

      Small file size. Unlike Adobe Illustrator alternatives, this program creates relatively small AI files (on average it is 5-15MB, instead of 100MB). It also supports such formats as JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, EPS, INX, and PDF.

      Top-tier plug-ins. Adobe Illustrator download is absolutely justified given the powerful features it offers, which can be further extended by various plug-ins. There are built-in plug-ins and custom ones. The net is full of numerous brushes, icons, and other awesome effects, which are meant to make your workflow quicker and more pleasant.

      Doesn’t work on all OS. Illustrator works only on Windows and Mac. This isn’t relevant for its competitor in the Adobe Express vs Illustrator battle, which works on tablets and phones.

      Not for beginners. Illustrator is quite a complicated program, and its rich functionality is excessive for creating simple images. Besides, it significantly consumes computer resources, which leads to slow operation on weak devices.

      Adobe Express vs Illustrator: Price

      adobe express vs illustrator price

      You can use Adobe Express for free without time limitations. Keep in mind that there is the Premium version of the program, which you can use within 30 days without paying for it.

      • Free — all the core features
      • Premium — premium templates and digital assets, a collection of 20,000 Adobe Fonts, grids and font pairs, 100 GB of storage — $9.99 per month or $99.99/yr

      If you’ve decided to buy Adobe Illustrator, pay attention to the plans offered by the developer:

      • Adobe Illustrator Single App Plan — 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark — $20.99/month
      • All Apps Plan — 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps including Illustrator and InDesign — $54.99/month

      If you aren’t sure whether the program is worth spending $20.99 per month on, you can use the Adobe Illustrator free trial for a week. It is also a good idea to take advantage of available Adobe discounts to download the program at a reduced cost.

      Adobe Express vs Illustrator – Who Wins?

      Adobe Express is a go-to program for novice graphic designers and entrepreneurs, who want to make high-quality graphics without mastering complicated tools like those in Illustrator. It stands out with simplicity, great branding and scheduling options, and access to multiple creative assets.

      Adobe Illustrator is an excellent multifunctional program for working with vector graphics. Typically, Illustrator is used by polygraphers, designers, and graphic designers, who need to illustrate some images or text.


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