10 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives (Free & Paid)

10 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives (Free & Paid)

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If you’re looking for an Adobe Illustrator alternative, you’ve come to the right place.

Adobe is undoubtedly the industry standard for graphic design and Adobe Illustrator stands as one of the most popular and widely used tools from the Adobe Creative Cloud however it does come at a high price point.

Though it provides impressive output, Illustrator does have its glitches and teething problems along with almost each of its version updates. Moreover, the high price that the designers have to pay for its monthly subscription often bruises their budget.

Hence, we decided to explore a few Adobe Illustrator alternatives that not only promise quality results but also offer a modest deal.

You may also be interested in our guide on how to download Photoshop and the full Adobe software list, as well as the best Adobe Photoshop alternatives and the best monitors for photo editing. If you’re a student check out our guide on how to get Adobe student discount and our Adobe Creative Cloud pricing guide.

The 10 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives (Free & Paid) – Overview

Considering the prohibitive price tags and a few quirks that it comes with, Adobe Illustrator might not be the best tool for students who have just started learning graphic design or for professionals who are not willing to invest a lump sum into buying an expensive tool but do check out the 65% discount below

So, here’s our list of 10 Adobe Illustrator alternatives – both free and paid.

  1. CorelDRAW ($34.59 per month for the all-in-one graphics suite) – Most powerful 
  2. Affinity Designer ($29.63) – Best value
  3. Vectornator (Free – One of the highest rated in the App Store) – Best free Illustrator alternative
  4. Figma ($12 per month- Cloud-based collaborative design powerhouse) – Best for teams
  5. Sketch ($9 per month – An award-winning app made for MacOs) – Best for Mac
  6. Inkscape (Free) – Best for beginners
  7. Gravit Designer (Free – Basic web-based illustrator tool) – Best web-based
  8. BoxySVG ($9.99 per year – Perfect for SVG files) – Best for SVG
  9. Vecteezy — (Free – Browser-based, no app needed) – Most Simple
  10. GIMP (Free) – Best Open Source

Or if you’ve decided you do want Adobe Illustrator, get 65% off here.

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Adobe Illustrator Discount or Free 7-Day Trial

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Did you know that Adobe offers free trials & discounts on their most popular creative software including Adobe Illustrator?

Students and teachers are also eligible for a discount on Adobe products.

If you are a current student or teacher you are eligible for up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud on their Students & Teachers plan.

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If you’re not a student or teacher, you can easily become a student and then save up to 65% off on Adobe’s most popular annual plan, CC All Apps. See the instructions here.

How to choose the best Adobe Illustrator alternative

Before we compare different options, consider the following points to make the right decision:

  • Design needs

Ask a few questions to yourself before picking your tool. What kind of designs are you working on? How basic or advanced is your project? What is your desired output? Evaluate and analyze all your requirements, jot them down as this will help you have a clearer picture of your design needs. Look for a suitable tool as per your need.

  • Collaboration

If you have a group of designers working on the same project, using a single designing tool is recommended otherwise things get confusing. So, you must analyze your collaboration needs beforehand and choose a tool that enables you to get the required number of people together on a single designing platform. This will make work and sharing files easy.

  • Price and value

You don’t need to invest in an expensive tool to get the required output. Compare and examine the price and features of a few selected tools and pick the best one. Determine it based on the value and factors it offers against the price for your needs.

  • Learning Curve

Look for tutorial videos and support for the tools on its website and Youtube before investing. Pick one that is easy and quick to learn. Going for trials in advance if available is always a good idea before making a financial commitment.


The 10 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives (Free & Paid)

1. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW. Image credit: Corel

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The most powerful Adobe Illustrator alternative

CorelDRAW is popular as the fastest illustrator tool in the market. The all-in-one design and layout illustrator is compatible with Windows, iOS, Mac, iPad and works even on your mobile phones. It offers a multipage view and multi-asset export making designing a lot easier. The next-generation collaboration feature on CorelDRAW enables collaborators to share their feedback and leave comments in the design file itself. In terms of graphic design capabilities, CorelDRAW is the most powerful Adobe Illustrator alternative.

Price: $424.75 for annual subscription ($35/month), $1,017.24 for lifetime access and 30 days money-back guarantee. CorelDRAW offers a 15-day free trial.


➕ Files can be shared and exported in multiple formats including PSD, DXF, EPS, TIFF among others.

➕ The training videos are elaborate and very helpful.


➖ It is not completely offline as it requires an active internet connection to run some of the included software components and features.

➖ Users find the freehand brush difficult to use


2. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer. Image credit: Affinity

The best value Adobe Illustrator alternative

The award-winning illustration tool is a popular choice of designers across the globe. It boasts amazing features like pan and zoom at 60fps with real-time blend mode previews. You can also add live gradients and effects to your designs with Affinity Designer. Moreover, it enables you to LIVE preview all the transformation and curve edits you make in the design. This tool has been optimized for documents of any complexity and is compatible with Mac, Windows, and iPad.

Price: Mac and Windows – $29.63, iPad – $12.11.


➕ Comes with a free trial

➕ Affinity Designer is a one-time pay tool. A monthly subscription is not required.

➕ As there’s no legacy code bloat in the software, it is light to use and works at a superfast speed

➕ The learning curve is not steep


➖ It doesn’t offer a natural perspective grid, apparently, a staple for some designers.

➖ It doesn’t allow you to export files in AI format.

➖ Vector eraser is missing so editing small vector errors is a task.


3. Vectornator

Vectornator. Image credit: Vectornator

The best free Adobe Illustrator alternative

With millions of downloads, Vectornator is one of the highest-rated illustrators on the App Store. It features auto-trace technology that enables you to trace images in seconds. The unique gesture controls enable you to change node type with a single tap.

With unlimited artboards and advanced text editing tools, Vectornator has become a go-to tool for millions of designers. Some other features of the illustrator include Kerning, Tracking, Line Height, custom tool, path guides, and so on. It is compatible with iPadOS 13 & iOS 13 and later or macOS Big Sur or later (Native M1 support).

Price: Free


➕ Free to use

➕ The contextual quick action menus and quick action tab makes designing easy and quick

➕ Figma designs can be imported into the app

➕ >Files can be exported in AI*, PDF*, SVG, PNG, JPG formats as well as in individual layers.


➖ It doesn’t have tooltips for its quick action buttons

➖ It works slowly as compared to its counterparts.


4. Figma

Figma. Image credit: Figma

The best Adobe Illustrator alternative for teams

Figma is a collaborative illustrator app available to use free of cost. With its auto-layout feature, Figma lessens the manual resizing and alignment. It also enables you to add plugins. It is a cloud-based design tool that helps you access your files from anywhere through the internet. It is compatible with both iOs and Windows.

Price: Free for starters, $12 per editor/month (Professional Level), $45 per editor/month (Organization Level)


➕ Contains all the tools needed for website designing, users don’t need to invest in multiple tools.

➕Several members can work simultaneously on the same project using Figma.

➕ Contains all the tools used for creating a prototype design.

➕ Access files anywhere as it’s cloud-based.


➖ Runs slow on heavy prototypes hence require a Graphics Card and good RAM.

➖ Requires an internet connection, doesn’t work offline.

➖ Global colors are absent in Figma’s module.


5. Sketch

Sketch. Image credit: Sketch

The best Mac Adobe Illustrator alternative

Sketch is a macOS-based illustrator that comes with a 30-day trial. Some of the amazing features that it offers include vector editing, Boolean operations, math operations, and Variable and OpenType fonts among others. Being a collaborative app, Sketch enables users to not only work simultaneously on the same project but also create libraries with symbols, text and layer styles, and color variables and share them with collaborators.

Price: $9 per editor, monthly for individual users. It offers a 30-day free trial.


➕ Files can be exported in multiple formats and sizes.

➕ Vector artwork can be created and edited quickly.

➕ Provides options for individual and team accounts with different prices allotted for both.


➖ As it is a heavy tool, it runs efficiently only on a Mac desktop

➖ It doesn’t offer a repeat grid

➖ A plugin is required if you need responsive design tools


6. Inkscape

Inkscape. Image credit: Inkscape

The best value Adobe Illustrator alternative for beginners

A free-of-cost illustrator that helps you create stunning designs with its pencil, text, and shape tool equipped with embedded bitmaps and clones. Apart from offering grids, object manipulation tools, and fill and stroke tools, Inkscape also helps you in node editing, boolean, and path operations.

Price: Free


➕ Files can be exported in PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS, and PostScript formats.

➕ SVG files can be edited

➕ Free of cost.


➖ Not compatible with AI and EPS files.

➖ Lacks premium vector graphic options.


7. Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer
Gravit Designer. Image credit: Gravit Designer

The best web-based Adobe Illustrator alternative

Gravity Designer is a web-based illustration tool. Some of its noteworthy features include SVG editing tool, live Boolean operations tool, cloud integration, and autosave. It is compatible with Mac OS, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS. It can work both online and offline. It offers numerous grids, layouts, advance-vector editing tools, a powerful aligning and distributing system among other features.

Price: While Gravity designer is free to use, you can buy Gravity Designer Pro at $48.94.


➕ Supports multiple formats export and import of files.

➕ Offers flawless navigation through the dashboard.

➕ Offers quick and useful keyboard shortcuts.


➖ No real-time collaboration

➖ Runs slow while working on complex designs

➖ The free version doesn’t include many basic features


8. BoxySVG

BoxySVG. Image credit: Boxy SVG

The best SVG editor

Boxy SVG Editor is one of the best tools to edit SVG files both at the beginner and professional levels. The versatile editor works on any device and operating system. It provides an intuitive user interface to keep your dialogs, palettes, and toolbars organized. It works both as an online and offline tool.

Price: Buy the standard version at 9.99 USD / year and the premium version at 99.99 USD / year


➕ SVG files can be exported in PDF format.

➕ Files can be saved both to your disk and in the cloud.


➖ It does not offer a free trial.

➖ The software has a laggy zoom.


9. Vecteezy

Vecteezy. Image credit: Vecteezy

Browser-based, no app needed

Vecteezy is a browser-based illustration tool that doesn’t require any app download. It offers a friendly interface, numerous features like keyboard shortcuts, advanced transformation, and online collaboration that enable members to interact and work together on a project simultaneously.

Price: Free for the editor. The standard and pro versions can be subscribed at $19 and $29 per month respectively. It offers both vector images and videos.


➕ It offers numerous vector images and videos for download and use.

➕ The designing software is free to use; you only have to pay for vector images and videos.


➖ Minor glitches are seen in designed images when zoomed in.


10. GIMP

GIMP. Image credit: GIMP

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is free software that allows you to create high-quality images using a wide variety of tools and graphic design elements. It is compatible with GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows, and other operating systems. Moreover, the customization options it offers help you to include 3rd party plugins to enhance your productivity.

Price: Free


➕ Though it offers numerous tools, GIMP has a small learning curve.

➕ It can be used to create GIF files using multiple layers.

➕ Supports files in various formats.


➖ Tools like Crop, Selection, etc are difficult to use

➖ Being open-source software, GIMP lacks customer support.

➖ Has fewer features when compared to its paid counterparts.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for iPad?

Affinity Designer, Vectornator, and Amadine are good alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for iPad. You can create stunning graphics smoothly using these affordable and high-end apps.

What are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Windows?

Sketch, CorelDRAW, Figma, and Inkscape are some of the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Windows OS. These are lightweight options with advanced features to get your graphic design journey underway.

What are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Android?

Sketchbook, Adobe Illustrator Draw, Canva, and Infinite Design are great alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for Android devices. With an intuitive interface and a complete set of graphic design features, these are sure to deliver a delightful editing experience.

What are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Linux?

Inkspcape, Vectr, and Gravit are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Linux OS. With an extensive range of editing tools and features, these vector graphics software are a perfect way to get the job done well.

What are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for free?

Inkscape, GIMP, Pixlr, Affinity Designer, and SVG-Edit are the best free Adobe Illustrator, are the best free Adobe Illustrator alternatives and are ideal for both beginners and professionals.. The easy-to-navigate interface, and guides available for popular software, make them good free options.

What are the best free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for Mac?

Affinity Designer, DesinEvo, Gravit, and GIMP are the best free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for Mac OS. Some offer a wide range of features in their free version, and you can really harness the power of these editing tools for graphic designing ventures.

What are the best alternatives to Adobe Illustrator?

CorelDRAW, Affinity Designer, Vectornator, and Sketch are the best alternatives to Adobe Illustrator. The learning curve of these tools is short, and with a feature-rich library, the software offers value for your money.

Is there a free version of Adobe Illustrator?

Yes, there is a free version of Adobe Illustrator available for a 7-day free trial. After the trial period, you can choose to purchase the subscription or cancel your account.


The 10 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives (Free & Paid)

There are several top-notch alternatives for Adobe Illustrator in the digital market. We tried to pick some of the best options to make the choice easier for you. We hope this detailed list helps you pick the right Adobe Illustrator alternative based on your design needs.

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