Affinity Designer for iPad: Professional Creativity On the Go

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Affinity Designer

It baffles me how Serif’s suite of software isn’t as famous as Adobe’s.

Don’t get me wrong: Adobe is good with their software. It’s just that you can’t turn a blind eye to those who are doing an equally brilliant job as well—and Affinity right now is killing it with its dynamic creative software apps on the iPad. 

Case in point: Affinity Designer for iPad which takes on Adobe’s Illustrator and other vector based apps. The company involved some of the best designers in the world and based the app on Apple’s Design Award-winning technology to create an app that delivers beyond its promises. 

The result: one of the most ambitious and robust apps for designers you can get your hands on.

If graphical 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 for all 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 ($21.99) and then own the app (your copy only, of course) outright.

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 like features, precision of tools, the workflow, etc. 

Affinity Designer on iPad does all that, and much more. Let’s find out a little more in detail.

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 found it to be flawless on iOS 15 and it will only get better with more software upgrades. 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 M1 iPad Pro, Affinity Designer will work flawlessly on your devices. However, even the older iPads will fare well enough with the app, so you’re good as long as you don’t have an ancient iPad from 2016 or older. 

Should I pay for this product?

Affinity Designer has a price tag of $21.99. 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 a 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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