11 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives for Designers in 2023

By Ann Young 14 days ago, Software Reviews

Using one of the following Illustrator alternatives, you can save time as you won’t need to spend months mastering advanced tools. Besides, such programs are more affordable and contain a variety of features that allow you to create illustrations, graphics, and other elements. While Adobe Illustrator is a perfect option for experienced users, people with little to no experience can master other programs that have comparable functionality and more intuitive tools.

If you are on a budget, it might be impossible for you to pay $20.99 per month for a Creative Cloud subscription. Besides, Illustrator has a convoluted interface with a variety of tools that you might not know how to use. This is why it might be a smart idea to start looking for a suitable Adobe Illustrator alternative that will help you cope with basic design tasks.

Top 11 Adobe Illustrator Alternatives to Work with Vector Graphics

  1. Affinity Designer - $54.99 - Best program overall
  2. CorelDRAW - $730 - Perfect for professionals
  3. Sketch - Full license for $99 - Intuitive interface
  4. Gravit Designer - $49.99 - For budget-conscious users
  5. Vecteezy - $14/month - Supports SVG format
  6. Boxy SVG - $9.99/year - 100+ keyboard shortcuts
  7. Pixelmator Pro - $19.99 - Neural Network support
  8. Inkscape - Free - Open-source program
  9. GIMP - Free - Customizable functionality
  10. Krita - Free - For creating sketches
  11. Vectr - Free - Web-based service

You can purchase some of the programs listed below by paying a one-time fee, while others are available only via a paid subscription. However, I decided to add some free programs as well. In this article, I will briefly review each of the alternatives and help you select software that you can master quickly.

1. Affinity Designer - Our Choice

Many professional tools for designers
  • Easy to master
  • There is no need to pay for a monthly subscription
  • 2D tools and drag-and-drop functionality
  • Supports a variety of formats
  • The free version has a limited set of options

Verdict: Just like Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer allows you to preview your files in Blend mode in real time, perform panning and scale your assets at 60 fps. It quickly reacts to your commands and allows you to edit thousands of objects without any delays. You can purchase a version for macOS or Windows for $54.99. The program has a 14-day trial. In case you decide that a program doesn’t fully suit your needs, you can get a full refund.

The developers created a convenient user interface with a set of effective tools. You can quickly create selections and edit your images. Besides, you can customize your workspace and save the changes as a preset.

The program integrates with other software and supports PSD, PDF, ESP, SVG, AI and other formats. It enables users to quickly switch between different projects without using a file converter.

What makes it the best Illustrator alternative is that the most recent version boasts speedy performance and a wide choice of pro-level features. It supports GPU acceleration and HDR effects. You can also use it to manage the stored files.

affinity designer adobe illustrator alternative interface

2. CorelDRAW

Perfect for professional use
  • Customizable UI
  • Detailed tutorials
  • Handy vectorization options
  • Useful shaping docker
  • The freehand brush might be challenging to master
  • Navigation board is hidden

Verdict: CorelDRAW is a widely used professional software that can replace Illustrator to a certain extent. It supports a multi-page view and allows you to export several assets without wasting much time. Thanks to its advanced collaboration tools, your team members can quickly share their feedback and comment on your files. It’s the most advanced Adobe Illustrator alternative on this list.

This cross-platform software runs under Windows, iOS, and macOS. You can use it both from mobile and desktop devices. To try out its tools, you can use a 15-day trial. Then, you can either pay $31 for a monthly subscription or make a one-time purchase for $730.

What makes CorelDRAW better than Illustrator is that it has a more streamlined interface, which makes it easier for you to optimize your workflow. In case you have never worked with such software, you can make your decision after using its trial version.

I was also impressed by the recently introduced tools that make it easier to work with a perspective, view several pages, export many assets, comment on shared projects, and quickly access a project dashboard.

coreldraw illustrator alternative interface

3. Sketch

Easy-to-navigate UI
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Plugin support
  • Allows editing Illustrator files
  • Convenient collaboration tools
  • Only for macOS
  • A limited choice of professional tools
  • Requires powerful hardware

Verdict: While this graphic design software doesn’t come with a set of advanced features, it can still serve as a replacement for Illustrator if you need to perform basic tasks. You will easily figure out how to find its tools and navigate through its interface. If you aren’t sure whether you need a paid version, Sketch has a trial that you can use for 30 days. Then, you can either purchase it for individual use by making a one-time payment ($99) or subscribe for $9 per month or $99 per year. The latter option makes it perfect for team use.

The development team made Sketch very flexible. It supports infinite scaling and vector shapes that are ideal for a variety of projects. You can create a new drawing from primitive shapes or add another drawing with the Vector tool or Pencil using this Adobe Illustrator alternative.

Adjust the paint brushes using advanced settings, such as color, size, transparency and more. If you are working with an old laptop, you might notice some lags.

What I like the most about it is the newest feature that was introduced in the Sketch 82 version. Thanks to Components Web View, you can quickly preview Symbols, Color Variables, Layer Styles, and Text Styles. It will help you streamline your workflow and quickly search through the files and in-built libraries. You will see detailed information about these components on the menu on the left.

sketch adobe illustrator alternative interface

4. Gravit Designer

A web-based and desktop versions
  • An impressive collection of vector assets
  • Streamlined UI and optimized workflow
  • Synchronization with the Сloud
  • Advanced tools for working with vector paths
  • No collaboration tools
  • Relatively limited functionality
  • Some bugs
gravit designer adobe illustrator alternative logo
Gravit Designer

Verdict: Similarly to Illustrator, this vector program for Mac and Windows has a complete set of tools for editing vector graphics. It supports layers, curves, geometric shapes, various tools for selection and transformation, texts and many other functions for working with objects.

Gravit Designer was originally designed as an online editor for creating icons, banners, logos and other graphic elements. However, the developers introduced new features. As the result, this Illustrator alternative became a powerful graphics tool compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux platforms. You can use the basic version of Gravity Designer without paying a dime. To get access to a more extended set of features, you need to purchase Gravity Designer Pro for $49.99.

Gravit Designer’s vector resource library contains icons, shapes, emoticons and illustrations that you can combine to your liking. By the way, it can be used as a raster graphics editor, since there are such functions as cropping, masking, blending, resizing and adding filters. Results can be saved in PNG, JPG or SVG formats.

When you take a look at the newest updates, pay attention to such features as Version History. The program automatically created backups of your files and saves them to the cloud. Thanks to it, you can undo up to 20 recent edits. Due to the automatic synchronization with the desktop version, the program compares files stored on your PC to the files stored in the Cloud and asks which version you need to save.

gravit designer adobe illustrator alternative interface

5. Vecteezy

To work with SVG
  • Thousands of free images and templates
  • Easy-to-license resources
  • Helpful online community
  • Easy to master
  • Occasional glitches
  • Registration required
  • Not suitable for professional tasks
vecteezy adobe illustrator alternative logo

Verdict: Vecteezy supports SVG files, thus allowing you to get rid of the basics and existing components in a picture. Just like Illustrator, it lets you can resize and darken them, add some elements, figures and more. You can either install a free version or purchase Vecteezy Pro by paying $14/month.

Users can import and edit SVG files or create their own projects here. There is a wide choice of shapes and ready-made cliparts, as well as a huge set of fonts for text designs. However, if in the case of Krita, you will have plenty of tools, Vecteezy won’t be so useful if you need to add progressively complex components to your SVG record.

This alternative to Illustrator is one of the most widely used Mac programs that allows you to work with vector graphics. There is no need to master advanced software to create pro-level images since this program has everything a beginner may need. Even if you don’t have any prior experience, you will quickly figure out how to create simple shapes without spending a lot of time and effort mastering more advanced tools.

The most recent version allows you to use handy keyboard shortcuts and perform complex transformations. You will be pleased to learn that the product gets regularly updated as the developers constantly introduce new features.

vecteezy adobe illustrator alternative interface

6. Boxy SVG

100+ keyboard commands
  • Intuitive tools
  • Users can save SVG files in PDF format
  • Export files to a disk and the cloud
  • Handy extension for a browser
  • Only a paid version
  • Standard version doesn’t have extended functionality
  • Not suitable for professional tasks
boxy svg adobe illustrator alternative logo
Boxy SVG

Verdict: Boxy SVG is a program for creating illustrations and designs. When creating it, the developers were focused on the usability of the software. If you read any Boxy SVG vs Illustrator comparison, you will realize that the former has a more minimalist and intuitive interface, which allows users to focus only on the design.

The program doesn’t have a free version, but you can use a free 15-day trial to test out its features. Then, you will need to pay from $9.99/year.

You can work on your project on a canvas and use the sidebar to quickly access the tools. When it comes to the UI, Boxy-SVG is similar to Illustrator. With the help of customizable key combinations, you can make edits more quickly.

This Illustrator alternative has a good set of basic tools, including pens, Bezier curves, text, basic shapes, strokes, fills, and layers. You can add types, groups, transformations and contours. If you are just starting to master Boxy-SVG, you can watch a variety of videos that explain how you can use this software.

boxy svg adobe illustrator alternative interface

7. Pixelmator Pro

Neural Network support
  • Intuitive UI
  • Supports widely used formats
  • Speedy performance
  • Many tutorials
  • It might be difficult to work with layers
  • Some issues with adding text
  • Only for macOS

Verdict: Pixelmator Pro is a powerful and easy-to-use graphic editor created for Mac users. Just like Illustrator, it offers a wide range of professional tools for creating beautiful drawings, text files, and illustrations.

Thanks to its intuitive easy-to-master interface, Pixelmator Pro can be used both by seasoned professionals and by inexperienced users who are just learning the basics of image editing. In case you are looking for affordable programs like Illustrator, pay attention to this option. If you aren’t ready to commit yourself to a purchase, you can download a 15-day trial. To get a licensed version, you need to pay $19.99.

The key advantage of this software is that it allows you to select and highlight any area that was highlighted before. Color selection is also quite convenient. Thanks to a large selection of more than 100 filters, Pixelmator Pro will come in handy not only for novices but also for experienced users.

The newest release includes a set of advanced features. In this version, you can automatically fix composition issues, fill in your selection with any color, and use updated drawing tools.

New Pixelmator Pro release adds a number of powerful new features, including the ability to improve the composition of photos using machine learning, a way to quickly fill any layer with a color using the magic of drag and drop, and improved painting tools.

pixelmator pro adobe illustrator alternative interface

8. Inkscape

Open-source software
  • Free of charge
  • Excellent format support
  • Frequent updates
  • Compatible with Linux
  • Not for professional use
  • Slow performance
  • Overloaded interface
inkscape adobe illustrator alternative logo

Verdict: If you take a closer look at the Inkscape vs Illustrator comparison, you will notice that the former is mostly suitable for novice users who are interested in creating simple images and vector designs. The latter was created for professionals who won’t find it difficult to use its wide choice of tools for solving complex tasks.

Along with the standard drawing tools and forms, Inkscape has a special spiral tool aimed at creating templates and clone arrangements, advanced options for manipulating objects, several filters (including skews, textures, overlays, etc.). What’s more, you can use this great program without paying a dime. There is no need to buy a licensed version or pay for a costly subscription.

Inkscape often gets various kinds of updates with new features, capabilities and tools. The latest update of this Adobe Illustrator alternative brought mesh gradients, improved support for SVG2 and CSS3, and new party path effects.

inkscape adobe illustrator alternative interface


Customizable functionality
  • Open-source software
  • A variety of handy tools
  • Supports different formats
  • Developer support
  • Can’t be considered a complete replacement for Illustrator
  • Occasionally freezes
  • Steep learning curve

Verdict: If you analyze Illustrator and GIMP, you will see that the latter is more suitable for performing various manipulations with pictures. However, you can hardly use it for working on complex vector projects. When using GIMP, you can adjust its interface using a variety of plugins. You can use this open-source service for free. Being one of the most popular Adobe Illustrator competitors, it is perfect for users who are looking for advanced design features and don’t want to pay for overpriced solutions. It’s perfectly suitable for desktop use.

The creators of GIMP take into account user wishes and regularly update this program with handy tools. You can save and export your images in different formats. All the images you are currently working on are saved in XCF format.

You can find a lot of brushes here, as well as healing, painting, point, and selection tools. GIMP is not suitable for professional artists, but its functionality will satisfy amateurs.

As for its new features, it now allows users to select several layers. Users have been asking the developers to add this feature for years. Thanks to it, you can streamline your workflow when working with layers.

gimp adobe illustrator alternative interface

10. Krita

For creating sketches
  • Streamlined UI with a well-thought-out layout
  • Open-source program
  • A wide choice of brushes
  • Layer editing
  • Updates often cause lags
  • It might be difficult to work with text
  • For novice users

Verdict: If you compare Krita vs Adobe Illustrator, it will become obvious to you that both programs are suitable for projects that involve working with vector images. The former might be a better option for complete beginners who are looking for intuitive painting tools. The latter was created for experienced graphics designers and illustrators who need to create images, logos, banners, and other pics.

Pay attention to the brush tool among various features for creating design projects, layouts and banners. The software offers many additional settings, such as color, size, intensity, transparency, etc. Also, do not forget about other basic tools, for example, filters and effects that can improve your design in a matter of seconds.

Krita is one of the best free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for beginners and amateurs. However, the lack of some popular tools is a disadvantage for professionals. If drawing brings you money, Krita is not for you.

The latest version of this software includes a bundle manager and allows users to select resource locations. Until this version, the resource folder of Krita was hardcoded. However, now you can decide where to store cache files and the resource folder. For instance, you may optimize your disk space by saving the resource folder to an external storage drive.

krita adobe illustrator alternative interface

11. Vectr

  • Compatible with different OS and browsers
  • Easy-to-navigate UI
  • Convenient sharing tools
  • WordPress integration
  • Can’t be used offline
  • Not for professional use
  • Occasionally slows down
vectr adobe illustrator alternative logo

Verdict: Vectr is a relatively new and fully free software that is developing, adding and improving various functions. Unlike Adobe Illustrator, this platform is simple and intuitive to use. It allows you to perform standard vector operations, such as creating and editing geometric shapes, curves, etc.

It has several levels and pages that help users organize a project. Vectr is a simple, intuitive-to-use program. Although it lacks many of the advanced features of Adobe Illustrator, it has all the tools you need for basic vector editing.

Vectr allows you to import AI, EPS, SVG, PNG and JPEG files. It is often used for annotating, image correction, drawing layouts and diagrams. Moreover, it can be used to create logos, watermarks, user interface designs, website layouts, social network banners, icons, and 2D images.

vectr adobe illustrator alternative interface

Why Designers Stop Using Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the leading vector graphics software that helps you edit vector graphics, logos, icons, etc. However, Adobe’s purchase model can be a deterrent for many beginning designers.

The program is available only via the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. The price starts at $20.99 per month or $239.88 per year. There are no one-time purchases available, and if your subscription expires, you will not be able to use the software.

In addition, the program requires a lot of RAM. Adobe Illustrator might be challenging to master so you will have to spend much time leaning how to use it at a professional level.