Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape: Pros, Cons, Features, Pricing (2024)

Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape: Pros, Cons, Features, Pricing (2024)

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Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape. What is best for vector graphics program? We explore this below.

These are two of the most popular programs out there for vector graphics. Professionals use both apps depending on their needs. But if you want to decide which one is right for you, it can be difficult for you. However, our in-depth comparison will assist you with this.

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The main difference between these two apps is that Inkscape is available for free, while Adobe Illustrator in monthly subscriptions. Apart from that, Illustrator is immensely popular in the design field as a professional graphic design tool.

On the other hand, Inkscape is getting the attention of users because it is free. By using Inkscape, one can create nice-looking vector graphics. This is the reason why this software is considered an alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

Although both apps do similar tasks, they have their own pros and cons. Also, they have some uniqueness which makes them suitable for specific users. Otherwise, Inkscape would have been the best tool for vector illustrations over Adobe Illustrator because it is free.

Well, before you decide which software is ideal for your needs, you need to know about Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator in detail. This article is going to discuss the different aspects of Inkscape and Illustrator, including their features, user interfaces, compatibility, price, etc.

What is Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator?

Both Inkscape and Illustrator deal with vector graphics, and professional designers use both depending on their design needs. Also, both design programs have some unique qualities that make them stand out. So, let’s now understand both apps in depth.

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What is Adobe Illustrator?


Adobe Illustrator. Image credit: Adobe.
Adobe Illustrator is an industry-standard vector design app launched in 1987. It is a feature-rich design program that lets you create stunning illustrations, vector graphics, typography, posters, infographics, and other items.

Overall, Adobe Illustrator is a powerful app for creating anything for digital and print media. Many professional designers prefer Adobe Illustrator for graphic design and illustration work because of its features and tools.


What is Inkscape?

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Inkscape. Image credit: Inkscape.

Inkscape is a vector-based graphic design program that is free to use. It was launched in 2003, and currently, it has shape tools and drawing tools to let you create illustrations and icons easily.

This app performs similarly to Adobe Illustrator as a valuable alternative to Illustrator. With a simple interface and easy learning curve, Inkscape is perfect for beginner graphic designers who need a free app for illustrations.

One disadvantage of Inkscape is that it is not ideal for printing and publishing projects. It doesn’t have an option to select the color mode, which results in color differences in print results. However, you can use this free, open-source program for digital designs.


How Do Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator Differ?

The first difference is Inkscape is simple and free to use. But you need to choose a subscription plan in order to download Adobe Illustrator.

Inkscape is a primary graphic designing tool that uses node editing and is suitable for hobbyists. People who need a simple graphic design program can use Inkscape.

But Adobe Illustrator is a professional graphic design app that handles vector projects in a sophisticated way. It has more features and tools than Inkscape and is preferred for professional graphic design work.


Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape: A Deep Dive Comparison

Till now, we know the basics and unique qualities of Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. Let’s now compare these two programs in detail.

  • Ease Of Use

Inkscape comprises intuitive tools and a simple user interface that make it easier to use. It is a beginner-friendly program and allows new graphic designers to learn illustration in a few steps. You can simply download this app, take a tour through the app, and start your work.

On the other hand, Adobe Illustrator has more features and tools than Inkscape making the learning process longer. So, if you are a new user, you have to spend more time learning the app. However, you can find tutorials for Inkscape and Illustrator online.

  • Pricing

The pricing of these two apps is very simple. Inkscape is available for free and provides similar features to Illustrator. Hobbyists and people who simply need an app for their designs usually don’t want to pay for it. In this case, Inkscape is the best option to opt for.

But people who want to pursue a career in graphic design and need a professional design app for their use can consider Adobe Illustrator. It comes with a 7-day free trial, and during this period, you can determine if Illustrator is for you or not.

Illustrator is available in subscription plans, and you can choose one plan out of three options. For individuals, the subscription plan starts at $20.99 per month. Students and teachers can get Illustrator at $19.99 per month.

Apart from that, Illustrator is also available under the Creative Cloud All Apps plan which costs $54.99 per month. This plan gives access to 20+ desktop and mobile apps and is suitable for businesses.

  • User Interface

The user interface is essential to take into consideration because it determines how the workflow will be. If you can’t connect with the app, you will feel difficult to use it for your design needs.

When both apps have an easy-to-use interface, Inkscape’s interface is straightforward because it has all the necessary tools on the right-hand side of the main working area. It also lets you choose which panel you want to show.

Adobe Illustrator shows panels in an unorganized manner, so you need to organize them. But the good thing is that both Inkscape and Illustrator allow customizing what you want to see in the workspace. This allows you to keep the essential tools in the working area.

  • Features

Before you come to a decision on whether to use Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator, you need to compare the features of both programs. Although Inkscape is free, it includes many useful features and tools that help beginners make stunning designs. Here is an in-depth analysis of the features of these two programs.

Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape: Features, Compatibility, Community, Support

Inkscape Features

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Inkscape comes with many features and tools for designing vector graphics. First of all, it includes different object-creation tools such as Pen Tools, Pencil Tools, Text Tools, Calligraphy Tools, Clones, Embedded Bitmaps, and Shape Tools. Inkscape’s brush tools are highly realistic and pressure sensitive.

The app uses a node editing feature and supports SVG files for creation and editing. It has quite similar shape tools to Adobe Illustrator. But the text tool of Inkscape is not as powerful as Illustrator’s text tool because it doesn’t allow you to preview the text after changing its size.

Moreover, the image handling tool in Inkscape is not so convenient and flexible, so it requires more time to edit an image. There is no option to choose CMYK as document color mode in Inkscape, which makes the design unsuitable for print. It uses RGB color mode, which doesn’t provide better print quality.

Adobe Illustrator Features

As Adobe Illustrator is a sophisticated vector design program, it is filled with many tools and features. Talking about tools, it has multiple tools to help you in object creation. It also allows you to create a custom brush. By the way, this feature is also available in Inkscape.

It has a shape builder and pathfinder tools to help you create different shapes. Unlike the text tool of Inkscape, Illustrator’s text tool is more convenient. It allows you to see the preview of the font directly on the artboard as you hover over the font style. Then you only need to click it if you want to use it. The same thing you have to do manually in Inkscape.

You can integrate Photoshop with Illustrator and import images for editing. One advantage of Adobe is that it lets you work between Illustrator and Photoshop. It has a well-developed image trace tool with preset options to let you edit and recolor your work with ease. Overall, Adobe Illustrator comes with more advanced features and tools for editing vector graphics.

  • Compatibility And File Formats

Compatibility is an important factor to look at when you are deciding to use one app out of Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. Both design apps are compatible with windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. Further, Adobe Illustrator is a step ahead of Inkscape because it is available for iPad as well.

SVG is the common file format between Inkscape and Illustrator. These files can be edited and scaled without affecting the quality of the design. SVG is the default file format in Inkscape, but it also supports EPS, FXG, GPL, TIFF, PNG, JPG, and WEBP.

Inkscape allows you to open EPS, AI, SVG, PDF, SVGZ, VSD, and CDR file formats. However, you can’t get all features for AI files when opened in Inkscape. Like Inkscape, Illustrator supports all these file formats. In addition to this, Illustrator supports CorelDRAW, Photoshop, Pixar, and AutoCAD drawing file formats.

  • Community

Inkscape is an open-source design app, and it has a vast community of users and developers. They continuously improve the program to enhance user experience. There is an active user forum where users can ask questions and get answers from other users.

Inkscape also has a set of tutorials and other educational resources so that new users can easily learn about the program and use it effectively.

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Adobe Illustrator also offers many educational resources and tutorials on the website for learning. But it doesn’t have a strong community like Inkscape.

  • Customer Support

When using a design app, you may need support if you face some issues. As Inkscape has a vast community and active forums, users can get free support there. The community of Inkscape is a good option for finding answers to any question.

Adobe Illustrator is a step ahead of Inkscape as it lets you talk to a support representative and resolve your issue. On the website, there is a chat option that you can use to get answers to your questions.

Who Should Use Inkscape?

Because Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics program and is available for free, it is suitable for users who simply need an app for vector designs. People who don’t want to spend on premium apps like Illustrator can consider Illustrator can use Inkscape as an alternative.

Moreover, it doesn’t support CMYK color mode, so the designs made through this app won’t have good print quality. However, you can use those designs for digital purposes. People who don’t need any designs for printing can consider Inkscape. Professionals also use this tool sometimes, depending on their needs.

Who Should Use Adobe Illustrator?

People who need a sophisticated design program for business cards, brochures, and other print materials should use Adobe Illustrator. As it is an industry-standard design program, people who want to pursue a career in the graphic design field need to use this app.

It is also convenient for sharing your designs with other professionals who use Illustrator. Furthermore, it has advanced features and tools to help you create mind-blowing designs.



What is The Best Vector Graphics Program in 2024?

So who wins when it comes to Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape? It’s true, both Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape are excellent for vector graphics.

This is the reason why many people get confused and can’t decide which one to use. Inkscape is a free program, while Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard vector design program that comes with advanced features.

If you are willing to make professional graphic designs, you should consider Adobe Illustrator.

If you do graphic design once in a while, you can consider Inkscape because it is free.

You can even try both and decide which is ideal for your needs. Adobe Illustrator has a free trial, and Inkscape is completely free.

Happy designing!

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