Making digital art can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. My name is Nick, and for a few years now I’ve been learning the art of digital design on a tight budget. After aggressively avoiding Adobe products due to their high prices, I’ve discovered a collection of different programs that are good stand-ins for Adobe’s expensive line-up. 

AI(Adobe Illustrator) is a powerful tool when making logos, web graphics, icons, and other designs. While this program is packed with useful features, paying for the monthly subscription is always a nightmare. Of the programs I’ve used I’ve found two that are perfect for users avoiding high prices. While neither are a perfect clone of Adobe Illustrator, both are super affordable and amazingly easy to use. 



Inkscape is a personal favorite, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in working with vector graphics software. 

On the surface it may not appear as polished as Adobe Illustrator, but its vast toolset more than makes up for its appearance. A large portion of that toolset includes features that can also be found in AI. For example, the clone tool, shape tool, and alpha blending are only a few of the powerful features Inkscape brings to the table.

Another notable feature is Inkscapes default file format. Normally programs have unique file types that will only work with that specific program. Inkscape on the other hand works natively in SVG, and makes opening your designs with other applications easy. 

Inkscape is also open source, meaning that anyone can create extensions or modifications for the program. The online community for Inkscape is constantly creating new and exciting ways to improve the program.

Not to mention the best part of all– it’s free!


Affinity Designer

Serif’s Affinity Designer is another program many of my peers recommend. The program runs incredibly smooth, and has an impressive amount of features.

Like Inkscape it has features included with AI, but it also comes loaded with several special features not found in Illustrator. For example, Affinity Designer has a raster mode in addition to its standard vector mode. Several brushes, paint tools, and blending tools can be used by switching modes with a simple click. 

With Illustrator you’ll need to have Photoshop to access similar features. 

Affinity Designer also has scores of pre-made shapes users can take advantage of to speed up their design process. Nearly all these pre-made shapes have unique ways to be resized and reshaped, making their customizability endless.Users can also create their own shapes, and save them as presets for future designs.

While the program may not be free, its $50 dollar payment only occurs once. After you’ve purchased Affinity Designer, all future updates are free forever!  This is practically a steal compared to Illustrator’s $29.99/a month. 

At the moment, Affinity Designer has a free 90-day trial and a 50% coupon for those interested in keeping the program.

There are other pieces of software that could be used alternatively to Adobe Illustrator and the programs I mentioned above. However, I strongly feel that for someone trying not to break the bank, these two programs are perfect. While they have limitations, a creative mind can always find a way around them. A big part of art is taking what you have and using it in a new and creative way. Art isn’t made by tools; it’s made by artists.

About Author
Nick Schnitzer

Nick Schnitzer is a Membership Clerk at Do Space