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Download Adobe Illustrator: How to try Illustrator for free or with Creative Cloud

Download Adobe Illustrator
(Image credit: Adobe)

If you want to download Adobe Illustrator CC but aren't sure how, you're not alone. The different options can be a little confusing, but fret not: we're here to guide you through what's actually quite a simple process.

In this post, we’ll explain all you need to know about both downloading Illustrator for free, and getting it as part of a subscription through the Adobe Creative Cloud. You’ll soon discover the best option for you, and what you action need to take next. 

And it’s worth taking the time, because Adobe’s drawing software is the industry standard, and widely used by artists, illustrators, designers, art directors and marketing professionals to create art, illustrations and scalable vector graphics. So read on, as we outline the best ways of getting Illustrator CC and download it to your Mac or PC.

If you want the whole Adobe suite, don't miss our round up of the best Adobe Creative Cloud discounts currently available.

Adobe Photography Plan | £9.98 | £8.32 per month
Save 16%: If you're also looking to download Photoshop, now's the time. This amazing Adobe Photography Plan deal cuts Photoshop, Adobe Spark and Lightroom CC down to just £8.32 a month. EMEA only. DEAL ENDS: 20 May 2020.
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Can I download Illustrator for free?

Yes, you can download a free version of Illustrator CC. Well, a free trial, at least. You’ll then have seven days to try out the full version of the drawing software and find out if it’s right for you. 

A free trial is the only legitimate way to download Illustrator CC for free. There are pirated versions to be found on the web of course, but that would mean breaking the law. You’d also be putting your devices and data at risk from viruses and malware, which could allow people to steal your identity, take money from your bank account, or worse. So we really wouldn’t recommend it.

To take out a free trial to Illustrator CC, you’ll first need an Adobe ID, if you don’t have one already. These are quick to set one up and totally free. Next, you’ll need to enter your credit card details. Don’t be scared: as long as you cancel your account in good time, you won’t get charged. If you decide to keep subscribing, though, payments will be deducted automatically.

Download a free trial of Illustrator for PC or Mac now
You can try the latest release of Illustrator for free – and get access to all the newest features and updates – with a seven-day trial from Adobe. There’s no obligation to buy the software afterwards, but if you like it you can convert to a paid Creative Cloud membership either during the trial or after it’s expired.

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How do I buy Illustrator CC?

There’s only one way to buy Illustrator: as part of a Creative Cloud membership, for which you pay monthly or annually. However, there are two broad options. The first, and cheapest, is to subscribe to Illustrator only. The second is take out an All Apps subscription. This will cost you more, but provide access to all of the Creative Cloud apps, along with a range of other benefits. (If you’re not sure which CC apps you might like to have, read our Adobe software list). 

If the cost of the latter seems too high, don’t despair: Adobe often runs promotions that cut the cost further. And beyond that, there are always discounts for students and teachers, as well as separate pricing for businesses, schools and universities. So it’s always worth having a look to see what deals are available at any given time.

Global: Buy Illustrator CC from $20.99 per month
Buy Illustrator CC from £19.97 per month
Buy Illustrator from AU$29.99 per month
Adobe’s industry-leading vector graphics editor enables you to create scalable graphics and illustrations for print and digital. You’ll need a Creative Cloud subscription to be able to download Illustrator to your PC or Mac, which starts from $20.99 / £19.97 per month. Click the link above or the View Deal button.
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What’s the price of Illustrator CC?

Stylised illustration of flowers

Illustration by Karan Singh (Image credit: Adobe/Karan Singh)

Your lowest cost option is to buy Illustrator CC through the Single App Illustrator plan, which at time of writing costs £19.97 / $20.99 / AU$29.99 per month on an annual plan, and includes a subscription to Adobe Illustrator CC, plus 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark. 

The alternative is to buy Illustrator CC through the Creative Cloud All Apps option, which gives you access to Illustrator as well as Adobe’s entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps. There's currently 40 per cent off this plan for Black Friday, and so it costs £30.34 / $29.99 / AU$43.99 per month on an annual plan.

Illustrator discounts for teachers and students

If you’re a student or teacher, you can buy Illustrator as part of a discounted All Apps plan at a much lower rate. So right now, you can get the entire Creative Cloud suite of apps, along with 100GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark, for just $15.99 / £13.15 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year, and then $29.99 / £25.28 / AU$43.99 the following year. 

How can I get started with Illustrator?

Six stylish letters against colourful backgrounds

Typography by Lidia Lukianova (Image credit: Adobe/Lidia Lukianova)

Once you've downloaded Illustrator, check out our roundup of the best Illustrator tutorials to get started with the software, and boost your skills and knowledge, whatever your current level of expertise. Whether you want to design a complex illustration, or just a simple icon, this great selection of tutorials will teach you new tricks and help you to become more productive and creative in using the software. 

Also, if you'd like to save yourself time and effort using Illustrator, you can check out our roundup of the best illustrator plugins. And finally, if you’re looking for Illustrator brushes, we've found the best ones the internet has to offer, both free and premium.

Illustrator CC: Key info you need to know

First released in 1987, Illustrator is a sophisticated drawing programme based on vector graphics, which are infinitely scalable. That means your work can scale down for mobile screens and up to billboard size, and everywhere in-between, without losing resolution.

IIllustrator CC is commonly used by professional illustrators, visual artists, graphic designers and web designers to create quality artwork. This includes simple shapes, backgrounds and icons; logos, emojis, social media graphics and infographics; cartoons, charts, diagrams, and graphs; and of course full-blown illustrations and digital art.

As part of your CC subscription plan, you receive all Illustrator updates free. The latest version is Adobe Illustrator 2020. The headline feature of this release was accelerated performance and stability: files now launch, save and render significantly faster than before. There have also been improvements to the Path Simplification feature and spellcheck has been added too. You can read more about the latest features here.

Adobe Illustrator: Android and iOS apps

Illustrator is currently only available for Mac and PC desktop computers, Adobe has announced that it will be available for iPad sometime in 2020. There are, however, currently no signs of an Android version of Illustrator in sight. Check out 6 cool things you'll be able to do with the iPad version, and watch the preview at Adobe Max in the video below.

Illustrator alternatives

In our view, the best Illustrator alternative is Affinity Designer, which was launched in 2014 by Serif, the makers of Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer and available for Mac, Windows and iPad. These three, low-cost apps are interoperable, in a similar way to the Creative Cloud apps, although there’s no equivalent to services such as Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock. Affinity Designer is available for a one-off fee and requires no subscription.

Our favourite Illustrator alternative for digital design, meanwhile, is Sketch, a vector editor which has become the industry go-to for UI and icon design since its release in 2010. Note that it is, however, only available for Mac.

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