Serif releases free alternative to Adobe Illustrator

Affinity Designer screenshot

Affinity Designer is a vector-drawing tool at a low price (and currently free in beta)

Over the last 25 years, Serif's range of software has long been highly regarded within the design community as providing a decent cut-price alternative to Adobe's.

While none of its tools have previously been quite as good as the likes of Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 , for light users they've done a pretty decent job at a significantly cheaper price - albeit only if you're working on a PC.

But now things are changing. Serif has started again from scratch, built a new product for OS X, on an entirely new codebase. It's aimed squarely at professional designer, and is called Affinity Designer.

First for Mac

A vector drawing application, Affinity Designer is the first in a new range of professional creative software for the Mac. With those who baulk at the price of Adobe Illustrator firmly in its sights, Serif's tool is currently in beta and is currently available to download for free from

Affinity Designer screenshot

Serif is hoping to tempt designers away from Adobe's pricier options

The tool takes full advantage of native OS X technologies such as OpenGL, Grand Central Dispatch, Core Graphics and Serif says it's fully optimized for 64-bit and multi-core processors for faster performance.

Another major focus has been on compatibility with other pro tools, with a PSD import engine and with full support for AI, PDF and EPS.

Full suite to come

Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher will complete the new Serif suite over the next 12 months – and Tony Brightman, head of the Affinity development team, claims that there will be "complete integration" between the new apps, allowing for "seamless switching".

Affinity Designer screenshot

Serif promises "seamless switching" between the forthcoming suite

"[This] opens up a truly mixed-discipline creative suite with no boundaries between vector, raster, text, or page layout tasks to offer complete freedom to graphic designers," he adds.

Serif is targeting Creative Cloud users then – but it won't be emulating Adobe's subscription model. When the full product launches in October, Affinity Designer will be available exclusively on the Mac App store for £34.99/$49.99.

Affinity Designer screenshot

Serif is not following Adobe's subscription model

Have you used Serif's software? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.