Review: Affinity Designer

Review: Chris Language is a long time vector artist and a huge vector art fanboy. Join him for some insights into his daily life with that new kid on the block: Affinity Designer.

Product: Affinity Designer
Publisher: Serif
Price: $49.99

Design & User Experience 5/5

Affinity Designer has an inherently dark grey interface. However, you do have control over the overall darkness level, so don’t worry… you’ll be able to find that perfect tint of grey. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, its designers created a familiar interface, which is well-known and established among industry professionals. It’s also fully customizable.

If you’re coming from the world of Adobe, you’ll have no trouble jumping into the driver’s seat. Affinity Designer is like a growling racing car — fitted only with the essentials — built to do one thing exceptionally well: Vector Graphics.

With its fullscreen support, every pixel on my 5k retina display gets fully utilized. It never feels sluggish — even with its insane level of precision, and near infinite depth of zoom. It’s highly unlikely that a complex enough design exists that can bring this bad-boy to its knees.

Available Features 3/5

When compared to Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer is still in its infancy, which means it’s not as well-rounded or feature rich. But that’s not a bad thing! In this case, less “features” means less bloat. Sure, you may stumble across a missing feature from time-to-time, but don’t curl up into a ball and cry along with Airplay on repeat. Instead, hop onto the discussion forums! Chances are, a workaround already exists. -[:)]

So what are some of the features included with Affinity Designer? Let’s take a look:

  • Personas.

    These are different modes in which Affinity Designer can operate. The Drawing Persona is where you’ll spend most of the time creating vector designs. The Pixel Persona is a unique, realtime rasterized view of your design. You can still edit your vector designs in this mode, which means you’ll be able to get that pixel-perfect result. The Export Persona allows you to specify multiple resolution export scenarios for individual layers and elements. Meaning, you can export your complex designs into a deconstructed pixel-perfect work of art.

  • Smart Shapes.

    A comprehensive collection of shapes, which includes Stars, Speech-bubbles, and Gears. What sets these apart from normal shapes is they come with their own set of adjustable control points, allowing them to be fully customizable.

  • Effects & Post-Processing Adjustments.

    There’s a long list of special effects from which to choose, this includes basic effects like Shadow-Drop, Outer-Glow, and Blur. There’s also a handful of non-destructive, post-processing adjustments, which allow you to twist and tweak that final product.

  • Layers & Masks.

    Basic support for layers is a given. Blending Vector Layers with Pixel Layers is pure joy. You can even use a layer as a Mask.

  • Brushes.

    While in the Drawing Persona, you’ll be able to use texture brushes to shape and style your vector lines. Switch over to the Pixel Persona, and you’ll be able to paint onto a pixel layer, over your vector art, with a wide selection of digital brushes.

  • Compatibility.

    Affinity Designer plays nice with others. You can import and export in a wide spectrum of common industry standard formats. It even understands those old Freehand formats!

  • And More.

    The list doesn’t stop there. Take a look at their very impressive demo reel to discover more.

Price 5/5

This is where Affinity Designer stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. It’s not dirt-cheap, but it’s not going to break the bank either. Hats off to Serif for standing proudly against the painfully popular trend of subscription based software. There’s just something about the idea of renting your software that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

You can buy Affinity Designer for only $49.99*, which gives you an industrial-strength powerhouse with a comprehensive set of features, free updates, and a whole lot of bang for your buck. You can even share it with your mom (Hi, mom!), because it’s Family Sharing enabled!

*Price on February 06, 2017.

Final Score

Affinity Designer

This Apple Design Award winning application is an absolute must for the indies out there. Making quality vector designs has never been this easy and affordable. Affinity Designer’s journey started on Mac OS X, it’s now available on macOS and Windows; I simply cannot wait for the iPad Pro version, reportedly coming out later this year!

Affinity Designer deserves a full-hearted thumbs-up!

Buy Affinity Designer on the App Store.

Also, check out this fantastic Affinity Designer Work Book on Amazon.

Chris Language

Co-Founder at Day Of The Indie
A long time ago, Chris fell in love. She wasn't the prettiest, but Chris loved her anyway. He was mesmerized. She taught him the true meaning of love. But, sadly, like most love stories, this one came to an end. One day, Chris simply walked out the door. He just left her there... waiting, wanting, and missing him. To this day, Chris regrets his foolishness, but he will never forget his beloved Commodore 64.

Member of the Apple Game Frameworks Team @

Author of 3D Apple Games by Tutorials.

Forever Coder, Artist, Musician, Gamer, Dreamer Indie!