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General Discussion

Affinity Designer Vector Graphic Design App

I just learned about a new graphic design app today. Curious if anyone has experience with it, has heard about, or any thoughts on it.

From the looks, I'd say this might be a pretty good app. It's called Affinity Designer. It was released in the Mac app store today.

Chris Shaw
Chris Shaw
26,650 Points

I used it during it's BETA and it's a very easy tool to work with if you have no experience with vector based grahpics, I also know one of the guys on the team who built it and it's safe to say they made sure to build a quality product as it's been a long time in the making.

I had that feeling. Looks great, I think. It was also interesting that it was over 100MB in file size. Thanks for the information!

7 Answers

For anyone interested, here's the full feature list. I've been trying it for about 20 minutes now. Very impressed with how easy it is to use. One fun fact: it has a crop tool. Amazing, right? Also, it has raster image editing capability.

Marcus H
Marcus H
4,267 Points

Is it anything like Sketch, is it something that can be used to design Web UI's?

Oh, for sure. I've used Sketch and for my taste I didn't enjoy using it. I think it was the interface maybe. Affinity Designer looks and acts like Illustrator, except it's so much easier to use. And by the way, I'm not receiving credit for saying any of this, nor do I feel biased about what I'm saying here. I just happened to see a tweet from someone today, kept it in the back of my mind and finally got around to checking it out. Another fun fact about this software: 8,000 History steps!. It's also very fast on my machine.

Retina @2x Output for Web, UI and Game Design

  • Automatically output standard and retina sizes in one go
  • Retina versions are automatically given an @2x file name
  • Create complete icon or sprite sets within one document
  • Prototype whole web pages or create individual web graphics

Live Pixel and Wireframe Views

  • See how your design will look at standard and retina qualities in Pixel view—while still editing
  • See your designs wireframe Outline view for a clear look at all your shapes and line art
  • Split your screen to show Regular and Pixel or Outline views together, live

Multiple Views of Your Document

  • Open additional views of the active document with a different pan, zoom, or view mode
  • Work on objects close up while seeing the change, simultaneously, in the parent design
  • Mock-up websites, UI, or locations to see how elements appear as part of a whole

Newer used sketch but as I read this post , and I look how the new program Affinity works, it looks nice .

So as to buy, what would you guys recommend for iOS apps to buy? at the moment I can buy now so im asking what you think guys to buy first and learn?

Aurelian, are you asking about iOS or OS X?

iOS , Objective-c programming . Im interested about things like flappy birds and weather thing , like you have the weather bar on your phone with nice animation and all that nice stuff and games like temple run or flappy birds like that.

It's a bit off-topic from this post, but iOS has never allowed for much customization of their OS without jailbreaking. Although, it seems they are getting better at allowing more customization.

So i mean, would you recommend to buy this? or sketch at first and go with treehouse? Im trying to make graphics like temple run or flappy bird at first but not sure what to use and you know, if i buy something it costs and its a it for me at the moment.

If you want less of a learning curve, and are maybe more familiar with Illustrator, I'd get Affinity Designer. However, I don't think Sketch is going anywhere. There's a lot of people who still prefer Sketch. It's a more mature app, and maybe even somewhat in a different category — geared more specifically towards UI design. I purchased AD because of the interface and ease of use. Plus I wanted a little more with something similar to AI for creating logos and such. Sketch probably has the most tutorials right now, but one of the biggest selling points for myself personally, is the interface, design, and overall feel of an app.

Okay , thank you very much. I will check them . I like the affinity design too as i looked how it works and i don't like sketch from look too. Thank you for your information. I hope i pick the right product for my self.

Here's a detailed comparison of AI, Sketch, and AD.

Thank you for the post . Ill go with Affinity Designer for now. Inside of it looks nice as well.

andrew thompson
PLUS
andrew thompson
Courses Plus Student 2,252 Points

Based on the above posts I decided to check this out & had a chance to play with it last night. I honestly have to say that I was really impressed with Affinity Designer. Almost all of the keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys you familiar with from Adobe translate, the UI is fast & responsive. I love the Split View & toggle between resolutions. The ability to use Layer Effects & adjustment layers & seamlessly go between vector/rastor is probably the best thing ever.

Its not quite an illustrator/photoshop killer yet, but it is well on its way to being a real contender. For the $$ this is infinitely more affordable than Adobe CC. This is WAYYYY better than Sketch, my time with Sketch was a bit frustrating & it was way to rooted in GUI design, however Affinity could benefit from a few of these features mainly around artboards & exporting.

Few things lacking in Affinity; Wacom Support (its there, it works but its not great, brushes work better in vector than raster), Hide Tools hot key (TAB in Adobe) this is a simple feature but Affinity requires that I go through a menu which defeats the purpose of a quick hide. Color/Style Sampler (eye dropper in Ai) I just can't seem to figure out.

I am going to get real nit picky here, but the ability to Live Link/embed/nest documents within other Affinity Designer files would be amazing. You can place files but they act more like Smart Objects in Photoshop & only exist independently from the original source. SYMBOLS!? Again maybe this is there & I havent found it, but this needs symbols. In our workflows these things are crucial when collaborating with other designers & sharing files.

Over all most of the tools are intuitive & in many ways out perform Ai/PSD where there is a 1 to 1. Adobe is still a more in depth & robust application but for the casual/new user this is really a great intro tool. I certainly plan on using it for illustrations & just playing. Its not replacing Ai for me yet, but I am really excited to see how this evolves over time. Such a strong debut!

Hey Andrew, good thoughts here. I agree about Sketch — the interface was what threw me off, too.

For symbols on Affinity Designer, were you maybe looking for more of them? Here's where symbols are. The little triangle in the bottom right corner means there's more if you hold the button down. I was a little impressed by symbols because they seem more modern and useful, but I'm sure you can find more.

Symbols on Affinity Designer

andrew thompson
PLUS
andrew thompson
Courses Plus Student 2,252 Points

Hey Dustin, Thanks! Yeah Sketch has a lot of well thought out features around the production process but the tools were so clunky & unintuitive that I just couldnt hang with it, my biggest gripe with it also was that it doesnt handle collaboration well. Most of these applications approach the work flow in creating a design from a single designer handing off files (almost waterfall like process) when in reality you have multiple people creating in parallel, UX wireframeing, multiple designers all working. Really Ai is the only app I have found that handles this well, by creating a live link to nested Ai docs + dropbox you can work fluidly & consistanly. -Rant over! :)

Actually I do love all the different object shapes that AD offers! Still needs to be a bit more dynamic IMO. Exa: Star tool using the Up & Down arrow keys add & remove points, same for the polygon tool. Thats nit picky though.

The symbols I am referring to in Ai allow you to create say an Icon > Create Symbol. Everywhere you place that symbol it is only an instance of the original. If you modify the original, you modify all occurrences within the doc that the instance exists. It also has a lot of great options like 9slice (perfect for things like Buttons). I actually just seen on the AD future roadmap, symbols & 9slicing + a lot of other great features.

Will certainly keep posting the more I dig into this.

Glad you like it. I'm mostly proficient in PS, but I've been exploring AI a bit. I must say, though, it's quite a different program, but I've learned a few things with it. However, when I first opened AD, I was able to easily figure out things, and that's what I liked. The program sort of reminds me of Pixelmator in a way, but with more vector capabilities. Anyhow, thanks for the comments. Apparently, this app has done so well, it's being featured on top of the app store.

andrew thompson
andrew thompson
Courses Plus Student 2,252 Points

oh wow thats fantastic to hear that they are getting features. They certainly deserve it. Their work clearly shows. I had the same experience & loved that I could just dive right in & feel comfortable. I noodled with Pixelmator a little as well a while back, but it felt like a really light weigh PS. I actually recommended it to my GF for her photo editing.

Yeah PS & Ai are totally different mindsets I feel. PS is layer based where Ai doesnt rely on layers as heavily for its organization. I find that Ai is more tactile, being object based it makes a lot of sense to me. As long as you are good about your grouping you can get away with minimal layers in Ai. Ai is without a doubt my weapon of choice & been using it for almost 2 decades now, so if you have any questions hit me up, I am sure I can help you out.

Thanks for the offer. Really funny what you said about Pixelmator. I actually installed the app on my fiancé's MacBook for her to use... I just couldn't get used to it over PS. But even Pixelmator appears to make continual improvements. I like companies that listen to users and who are maybe even designers. They seem to make better products that way. Thanks again for the comments! I've been telling myself I need to master AI, so I could maybe eventually move to something like AD for most design work.

Thiago de Bastos
Thiago de Bastos
14,556 Points

I'd like to thank you guys for this great overview. I have been looking for a good review of both apps (Sketch and Affinity) and you guys helped me make my decision. I am going to go with Affinity Designer. I have downloaded their magazine from the website and am really impressed with their devotion and passion. I thought I would add this to the features, a great dev team!

andrew thompson
andrew thompson
Courses Plus Student 2,252 Points

No problem at all Thiago! Best of luck with Affinity Designer. Every time I get a chance to play in it I really enjoy it, really can't wait for their next major release. I work with a lot of folks who use Sketch & really what makes Sketch interesting is their Dev Community, there are a lot of 3rd party plug-ins, that being said it still feels clunky to me personally & at the end of the day Ai still reigns supreme.

Thiago de Bastos
Thiago de Bastos
14,556 Points

Hi! Just an update, I have ended up going into Sketch. I have found Affinity to be a bit of a struggle, one of the main issues is how small all the fonts are on a 4K screen, even with the beta update that allows the larger font sizes. For UI design and Wireframing I have been finding Sketch really quick and easy to use because it has so many features geared for it (grids, symbols and artboards being the ones that stand out most). Anyways whenever I come across something new I usually swing back and forth until I find something I am completely comfortable with. By the way I am very new at these apps, I mainly sketch my UI designs and have just begun using these apps for what they can do. I just made this last night with sketch, using a few free mac vectors I found (I basically just added the shadows, table, background, simplified the iPhone vector and made clipping masks for the images on the screens):

Responsive Showcase

Thiago, you could maybe provide suggestions on the Affinity Forum, or let them know on Twitter @MacAffinity. I think they are good at listening to feedback.

Greg Warner
Greg Warner
5,003 Points

Interesting discussion here. I've been using Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for about 6+ years, and so far haven't found a layout tool that is both speedy and optimized for web design (capable of vector/raster). I learned about Affinity Designer a few weeks ago, and just picked it up to use as a companion program as I see how the roadmap unfolds. So far I used it for a vector illustration project and totally loved it. I would like to see some things refined and added (eyedropper, lack of some shortcuts, easier layer exporting, Pantone swatches for print, etc.), but so far I think it's looking stellar, and in time I'm hoping it'll be my go-to app. For me, Illustrator was never that because it lacked raster capability. I haven't used Sketch, but it seems some tools geared toward UI design end up inhibiting creativity because of certain assumptions being made (or at least they require you to switch to Photoshop for certain tasks).

So far I've really liked their interface design choices. Be sure to check out Affinity Photo. It's free right now.

Greg Warner
Greg Warner
5,003 Points

I love the UI as well. Only complaint is a few much-used functions are currently hidden in panels. I'm actually using Affinity Photo Beta for a digital painting client project right now, and I don't want to go back to Photoshop. It's working beautifully, with some excellent results. I think the Wacom support is better in Photo so far.