VERDICT: Affinity Designer is vector graphic design software developed for professional artists, designers, etc., for creating icons, illustrations, interface designs, print projects, mockups, web graphics, concept arts, typography and pattern designs.
This program belongs to the UK company Serif specializing in Windows software. They have been creating programs for about 20 years and know that software featuring a heavy load of legacy code is bloated and slow. Therefore, they decided to develop a program that will have little bloat and work fast.
Initially, in 2014 Affinity Designer was developed by the UK Serif Labs as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Thanks to its low price ($49.99), Affinity Designer may be mistakenly called an amateur graphic designer program. But it was developed solely for professionals working with Mac operating systems.
This software successfully edits and creates pixel layers and may be called a decent Ps alternative. However, it is still doubtful whether Affinity Designer is suitable for the designers working in both software.
Today, an Affinity suite includes three applications ‒ Designer, Photo and Publisher. Designer and Photo are compatible with Mac and Windows, as well as iPad applications. Serif Affinity Designer offers a great number of wonderful options combining pixel and vector tools. It is one of the best graphic design software on the market, attracting users with its cheap price and efficient functions.
Affinity Designer managed to significantly change the world of graphic design. Developers have been improving it for 5 years and finally created a powerful program that successfully enhances your designs and implements the most creative ideas. Go on reading and you will learn more about this software and its features.
It is a modern and intuitive tool that is really easy to navigate. Therefore, professionals, as well as amateur designers, will find the necessary tools without any difficulties.
Beginners will be pleased to have all the tools clearly organized. They are easily accessible and greatly simplify the working process.
In Affinity Designer, complex vector and pixel-based artwork is completed using the standard pen and shape tools. There is also a Persona toolbar dividing vector, pixel and export tools into three separate sets. That’s why users may easily change the toolsets without interrupting the working process.
Affinity Designer may boast of an extremely useful feature ‒ Persona Set. It is loved by many users because it greatly simplifies the working progress and saves much time. Working in Designer, you may use three various personas ‒ Designer Persona, Pixel Persona and Export Persona. The most appealing thing is that you can switch between Persona sets with one mouse click and without interrupting the working process. It seems like this software combined the best features of Illustrator and Photoshop.
Designer Persona is a default tool bar to work with vector graphics. This set offers tools to draw shapes and curves, vector brushes, options to fill and stroke, transparency controls, place and crop tools for pictures. It is very similar to Illustrator. Both Personas have a Pixel Preview button. Click on it and you will see how a vector graphic will look as a raster one.
Pixel Persona offers tools similar to those of Photoshop features. For example, various shape marquee tools, artistic pixel brushes, an eraser, a freehand selection tool, a tool setting solitary pixels on the canvas. Moreover, you may apply photo manipulation tools, such as dodge, burn, smudge, blur and sharpen. Speaking about the brush tool, it offers many artistic options. Thanks to this feature, digital painters and artists choose Affinity Designer for their workflow.
Export Persona is a toolbar where you can choose particular areas on the canvas and export them as new graphics.
Graphics design necessarily involves sharing files (for example, with colleagues) so compatibility is a matter of great concern for experts in this area. However, not many designer programs achieved significant convenience concerning this issue. Unlike other non-Adobe software that can convert PSD or EPS files and open them in a format that can’t be edited, Affinity Designer easily copes with editing of PSD, AI and EPS files. You may easily and quickly update logos in an original AI file. However, you can’t save it back to AI. Although Affinity is a vector editor, it exports to PSD. It is very easy to export ready files since an export dialog saves to EPS, PDF, PNG, JPG, GIF and TIFF formats.
Affinity Design is decent software with a great number of useful features, supporting many vector shapes and easily loading Ps brushes (.abr files). However, it can’t import libraries of Photoshop patterns (.pat) and custom shapes (.csh). It is not convenient for specialists who have large libraries for these design elements.
Affinity is being constantly updated and now it features PANTONE color swatches and the ability to activate artboards. As we see, Serif developers are trying to satisfy the needs of their users.
Affinity Designer features a pen tool, a library of brushes, and the ability to create custom brushes and set stroke options that will help achieve the desired results.
Although this software is loved by design professionals, it still has some drawbacks. For instance, it does not have an image tracing feature that will automatically turn a raster image into an editable one. You can do it manually, but this operation requires much time.
This program is more of a vector tool rather than a pixel one. However, it features the Pixel Persona ‒ a toolbar enabling you to work with pixel brushes and some other pixel tools.
In such a way, you may perform digital painting and slight photo touch-up in this vector software without the necessity to open photo editing programs.
Affinity offers six photo filters. Moreover, it has 17 basic pre-made templates. It also features content-aware scaling, masking tools and perspective-based editing. However, if you are interested in advanced photo editing tools, it’s better to use Affinity Photo by Serif. If you have never used it before, watch this simple but effective Affinity Photo Workflow Video Course.
When your designs are complete, it’s time to apply the printing setup that will help you understand whether your creations are exactly like you want them to be. The software informs you if something might be weakly printed.
Moreover, you may also add the printer’s marks to simplify the process of cutting your projects. The only difficulty is to find the setup functions since they are hidden in the Document Setup tab.
If you visit Affinity Designer’s user forum, you will see that it is really active and the Affinity team cooperates with the clients solving various issues. You may ask questions and get the answers from Affinity users or developers.
Moreover, you may email the company and ask for help. Finally, there are plenty of video tutorials on the net, so you may watch them to learn useful tips on Affinity Designer.
Developers did a pretty good job and created an app fully adapted to work on tablets.
Therefore, if you are searching for a drawing app for iPad, Affinity Designer is a great variant. It will become an irreplaceable helper on the go.
It offers basic tools allowing you to work no matter where you are now ‒ in an office or on a train. It costs only $19.99 without any further subscription charges. So, it is an affordable app for designers of various levels ‒ professionals, amateurs and first-time users.
Although it is a tablet version, the Affinity Designer app for iPad is full of all the necessary tools for professional graphic design. That’s why you may easily create beautiful illustrations, branding, icons, UI/UX designs, concept art, print projects, etc. It is a convenient tool that does not confine you to the desktop computer.
If you already have a desktop Affinity version, you still have to buy an iPad one separately. When you install both programs and log in, they will synchronize and communicate with each other so all the projects you are working on will be updated.
Affinity Designer for iPad may boast of a great variety of tools to create vector graphics. Using this app, you may successfully create and edit shapes, draw curves, edit brushes, add gradients, etc.
The pen tool is really a convenient one. There is also a pressure editor enabling to control line widths. If you like freehand vector drawing, the brush and pencil tools feature advanced stabilization to get desired results.
The user interface is also a convenient tool and provides intuitive touches. For example, if you start drawing over a part of the canvas, the toolbars will automatically hide. It is very handy when you work on a gadget with a small screen.
Moreover, the application offers many options that may be customized according to your needs. Designers appreciate a symbol asset manager that simplifies the process of creating reusable elements.
iPad version of Affinity Designer is improved with various touch options that will boost your productivity and save much time. For example, hold one or two fingers on the screen and you will get modifiers for such keys as Shift and Alt.
Developers claim that the Affinity app for iPad took all that was good from the Apple Pencil’s drawing features so it may boast similar precision, pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality. However, there are also some weaknesses, like the fact that you can’t customize touch gestures to fit your particular needs and requirements.
Affinity Designer for iPad offers many typography features. You may add text to paths, fine-tune the kerning and tracking and import your fonts. Moreover, if you want to, you may add guidelines to create lettering or convert fonts to outlines.
Serif offers one Affinity Designer plan for all users. You may get a Mac or Windows version for $49.99. No subscription fees are required.