Affinity Designer: Creativity On the Go

Affinity Designer

It baffles me how Serif’s suite of software isn’t as famous as Adobe’s. Don’t get me wrong, though. Adobe is a master at what they do. It’s just that you can’t discount those who are doing an equally brilliant job as well—and Adobe’s rival right now is killing it with its dynamic Affinity apps on the iPad. 

Case in point: Affinity Designer, Serif’s latest adventure into the portable land of iOS. The company involved some of the best designers in the world and based the app on Apple’s Design Award-winning technology to bring you an app that delivers beyond its promises. 

The result: one of the most ambitious and robust apps for designers you could get your hands on. If creativity nags you all day long, Affinity Designer is your mind’s printer. 

Affinity Designer on iPad most importantly mimics the power and precision of its desktop version, so it’s the perfect alternative to other vector-based apps and especially Illustrator that demands a monthly ransom to use its features.  

Why Designer, not Illustrator?

Sure, Illustrator Draw is a great app for drawing vector objects. But, does that warrant a monthly tax to continue using its features? Wouldn’t it be better to pay outright for the app and continue using it without worrying about the bills? You’re not renting a place, for heaven’s sake. 

Adobe does that to you. Serif doesn’t. 

This alone makes a case for Affinity Designer, since you pay a small fee (currently at a discounted price: $13.99) and then own the product (your copy only, of course) outright. Even if you talk about Affinity Designer vs. Procreate, the former wins on most fronts, but that’s a discussion for a later article. 

However, the price alone isn’t a great factor in helping one decide what makes a worthy purchase. As a graphic designer, you need solid reasons to do that, and these mostly include features, precision of tools, the workflow, etc. 

Affinity Designer on iPad Pro (or the 2018 iPad) does all that, and much more. 

What can you do on Affinity Designer?

Great question. If you’re even slightly confused about Designer’s application, you need to understand that it’s a vector graphic design software. Anything related to graphic design, the app has you covered. 

You can create logos, UIs, original concept art, paintings, digital characters, or anything creative that oozes from your brain. You get the idea, right?

Let’s talk features

So, you can do a lot on Affinity Designer. But so claim many other vector based apps. Hence, I’m about to single out the features that make Designer a dream for graphic artists. And even if you’re a beginner, getting a grip on the app is easy. So if you don’t know how to curve a text in Affinity Designer, go to their tutorials page, and you’ll see why it’s easy.

First of all, Serif has created the app specifically for the iPad. It’s not a port from the desktop client. It was reworked from the ground up and made to engineer well with your iPad. In my test, I have found it to be flawless on iOS 11. However, performance on iOS 12 is marginally better. The drag-and-drop feature works like a charm. Also, by harnessing Apple’s Metal technology, the vector editor by Affinity blows competition as it delivers the best experience when used with Apple Pencil.

Then come the vector tools. Not many app deliver on the “pinpoint precision” promise. Affinity Designer on the iPad does. Heck, it can easily replicate what the more powerful desktop version does. You can use Booleans to divide and combine shapes, manipulate nodes, and perform vector-wise all the necessary magic needed to get the smallest precision in your art. 

There’s a huge library of brushes (100+) that allow you to go traditional and paint your way instead of creating every corner with a vector tool. This allows your creativity to flow smoothly and fast.

With Affinity Designer, you have complete control over your artwork’s colors and layers. Color picker and ICC color management may seem like basic features, but when done right, they can have a significant impact on the final outcome. Similarly, you have all the major color formats to play with alongside 16-bit per channel editing. As far as layers are concerned, you’d think there’d be a limit since it’s a portable version of the app, but nope. You can work with multiples of hundred layers on a single project. And, we’re talking about iPad, not Mac, mind you. 

You can create amazing UI designs too. Who’d have thought that you could design your next big UI change right on your iPad? But Affinity Designer does not hold back on that as well. You have live pixel preview, slice exporting, icon creation, and symbol editing to ensure great flexibility in creating UI design of your dreams. 

The list can go on, but these are some of the most in-demand features of a vector-based app, and Affinity Designer has a no-compromise attitude on all of them. 

Supported file formats

Most graphic designers and illustrators care about the file format they can import or export in. Affinity Designer disappoints here, but only its competitors, thanks to one of the most advanced file export system on iOS. You can export your creations in:

  • PSD 
  • SVG
  • PDF
  • EPS
  • GIF
  • TIFF
  • JPG
  • PNG

Affinity Designer iPad compatibility

Designer is made for iPad, so before you ask, no, it’s not available on iPhone. It wouldn’t even make much sense on the smaller screen iOS device, since illustrations require a lot of real estate. 

If you have an iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad 2018, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Pro 10.5-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch, Affinity Designer will work flawlessly on your devices. Basically, any iPad using A9 chip from 2017 or onwards is compatible with Serif’s vector app! 

Should I pay for this product?

Affinity Designer has a price tag of $19.99. While that’s the full price of the app and even that’s a bargain, it currently has an introductory price that slashes 30% off the full price. If you’ve been paying for Adobe Illustrator, you’d know best what you’re getting here: a bargain you can’t refuse. Heck, I would gladly pay more for Affinity Designer. It’s been that valuable to us. 

If you’re designer, illustrator, logo creator, or just outright a creative with an urge to bring ideas to life, Affinity Designer is worth every penny, and more. 

While these are our thoughts, if you have the app and would like to share your experience in the comments below, we’re all ears (and eyes). 


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