Mac Professional Vector Graphics Software

Available for Windows, Mac and iPad, Affinity Designer is an award-winning vector graphics software setting the new industry standard in the world of design.

Free Graphic Programs For Mac

Illustrator is one of Adobe’s signature products; it’s up there with Photoshop in the realm of industry-standard software. It’s a powerful program with a long history, and is easily one of the best vector graphics software available—but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you.

Adobe’s recent decision to force monthly subscription payments instead of one-time purchases angered a lot of long-time users. It left many artists, designers, and illustrators looking for ways to ditch the Adobe ecosystem entirely.

If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into the Adobe world, you might be looking for more affordable options, especially if you’re beginning to explore the world of vector graphics. No matter who you are or what you need, we’ve got an Adobe Illustrator alternative that is perfect for you—free or paid, Mac or PC.

Paid Adobe Illustrator Alternatives

1. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2020

Available for Windows and Mac – $325 annual subscription, or $649 one-time purchase

CorelDRAW is one of the most feature-rich alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for professional users—after all, it’s been around for almost as long. It even includes some uniquely impressive features like the LiveSketch tool and collaborative work built right into the program.

Of course, CorelDRAW also provides all the vector drawing tools you’ll ever need, from the standard pen tool to more complex tracing features. There is some basic page layout functionality available, though this aspect doesn’t feel quite as well-developed as its vector illustration tools. Read our full review for more.

While both the subscription and purchase prices might be eye-popping at first, they’re fairly standard for a professional-level graphics program. To sweeten the deal, Corel includes several other programs for graphics professionals such as PHOTO-PAINT and AfterShot Pro.

Unfortunately for those of you on a tight budget, it’s impossible to buy CorelDRAW as a standalone; you have to purchase the whole bundle.

2. Affinity Designer

Available for Windows, macOS, and iPad – $69.99 one-time purchase

Serif has been making quite a name for itself with the ‘Affinity’ series of programs; Affinity Designer is the one that started it all. It was built from the ground up with modern computing power in mind. As one of Serif’s oldest programs, it’s had the longest time to mature.

One of my favorite things about Affinity Designer is the simplicity of its interface. Like the other Affinity programs, AD uses ‘Personas’ to separate feature areas, which helps keep down the clutter when you’re trying to get work done. AD includes a ‘Pixel’ persona, which allows you to instantly switch back and forth between a vector underlay and a pixel-based overlay for advanced texturing.

Procedural shape generation in Affinity Designer

Not only that, but the default styling for handles and anchor points is much easier to work with than Illustrator’s. You could take the time to customize an Illustrator layout that works the same way, but the default options in AD are much clearer.

If you’ve already got a ton of projects created with Illustrator that you don’t want to reprocess, Affinity Designer can open and save in Adobe Illustrator’s native AI file format.

3. Graphic

Available for macOS & iOS only – $29.99

If you’re looking for a program designed from the ground up for the Apple ecosystem, Graphic might be the best Illustrator alternative for you. It’s a fully-featured vector graphics program that also plays very nicely with graphics tablets for a more intuitive illustration workflow. It also allows you to work on both your iPad and iPhone, though I’m not sure how productive you’ll be working on a small phone screen.

Though it’s a vector program, Graphic focuses heavily on working with Photoshop files, which are typically (but not always) pixel-based. Unfortunately, this means the developers haven’t included support for Illustrator files. However, you may be able to save your old AI files as PSDs and then open them in Graphic.

4. Sketch

Available for macOS only – $99 one-time payment

One of the common uses for vector graphics programs is to rapidly develop digital prototypes for websites, apps, and other on-screen layouts. However, Adobe Illustrator focuses on (you guessed it!) illustration. That means other developers have seized the chance to focus on this expanding need.

Sketch was originally a vector graphics program. As its user base developed, Sketch focused more on interface layouts. It still has a core of vector graphics functionality, but the focus is less on illustration and more on design. I wish Sketch’s interface emphasized object creation more than object arrangement. However, the toolbars can be customized to your heart’s content.

Graphic Design Software For Mac

While it’s only available for macOS, it’s still a powerful and affordable prototyper no matter where your project will be deployed.

Free Adobe Illustrator Alternatives

5. Gravit Designer

Browser app, all major browsers supported – Free, or Pro plan for $50 per year. Downloadable app available for macOS, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS – Pro plans only

As high-speed, reliable internet connections become the norm, many developers are exploring the potential of browser-based apps. While many now allow you to do some types of design work online, Gravit brings a whole vector illustration program right to your browser. A desktop version is also available for Pro plan subscribers.

Gravit Designer running in Chrome, displaying a built-in template for Cafepress T-shirt printing

Gravit isn’t quite as full-featured as Illustrator or some of our paid alternatives above, but it does offer a solid set of tools for creating vector graphics.

It’s important to note that the Free version of Gravit Designer is restricted in several ways. Some of the drawing tools are only available in Pro mode, and you can only export your work at screen resolutions in the RGB color mode. If you need high-resolution exports or the CMYK colorspace for print-based work, you’ll need to pay for the Pro plan.

6. Inkscape

Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux – Free

Mac Professional Vector Graphics Software

Inkscape has been around since 2004, but they still haven’t managed to release version 1.0 yet—they seem to be stuck on v0.92. While it’s probably not going to be replacing Illustrator for professional workflows any time soon, Inkscape is still more than capable of creating excellent vector illustrations.

While the latest release is from 2019, it feels like the driving force behind an open-source vector graphics program has fizzled out. There are plans listed on the official website for the ‘upcoming’ version 1.0 release, but I would strongly advise you not to hold your breath. As of yet, I don’t know of any similar open-source efforts, but hopefully, a new and more vigorous project will launch soon.

7. Autodesk Sketchbook

Available for Windows and macOS – Free for individual use, Enterprise plan $89 per year

While it’s not a traditional vector drawing program, the excellent Autodesk Sketchbook made this list because it’s great for illustration. It allows you to create freeform illustrations with a mouse, graphics tablet, or touchscreen interface and export them as fully-layered Photoshop documents for final editing.

The Quick Tour of Autodesk Sketchbook

The user interface is beautiful, minimal, and extremely flexible, which makes it easy to perform quick tool customizations to get just the right effect. At least, it makes it easy once you’ve had a bit of time to get used to it!

A Final Word

These are some of the most popular Adobe Illustrator alternatives, but there are always new challengers arriving to capture a share of the market. If you’re looking to replace a professional-level workflow, Affinity Designer or CorelDRAW should be more than adequate for most uses. For more casual, small-scale work, an online illustrator like Gravit Designer may provide all the features you need.

Do you have a favorite vector graphics program that I didn’t include? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

Affinity Designer has truly changed the world of graphic design. Five years of intensive refinement since launch have been dedicated to our unwavering vision of a powerful, super-smooth app which improves your workflow and allows your creativity to shine. How to get rid of apps on mac launchpad.

Serious business

No bloat, no gimmicks, just all the tools you need, implemented how you always dreamed. Affinity Designer is a stripped back, pro-end workhorse that will always get your job done.

Fast and glorious

Affinity Designer was created to thrive on the electric pace of the latest computing hardware. Live, responsive and incredibly fluid, it’s simply a joy to use.

  • Pan and zoom at 60fps
  • Live gradients, effects and adjustments
  • Real time blend mode previews
  • All transforms and curve edits previewed live

As complex as you like

The engine behind Affinity Designer is built to handle huge documents so you can be confident in adding all those tiny details without any compromise to performance.

  • Optimised for documents of any complexity
  • Handle 1000s of objects with no lag
  • Organise with layer groups and colour tagging
  • Live outline view for accurate selections

Vector or raster, you decide

With a single click, switch between full featured vector and raster workspaces. Just think about what that means… add raster brush texture to your illustrations, edit single pixels on icons, mask and add grain to your crisp vectors, enclose and clip pixel layers. This is true creative freedom and the possibilities are endless.

Built for your workflow

Thousands of designers around the world told us how they need their graphic design app to behave. We put that knowledge at the core of Affinity Designer.

Unlimited artboards

Saveable history with alternate futures

Customisable keyboard shortcuts


Continuous slice export

CMYK, 16 & 32bit RGB, Pantone, ICC profiles

Advanced grids, snapping and alignment

Linked symbols and constraints

Any device, anywhere

Whether on Windows, Mac or iPad, the file format is exactly the same. This gives complete freedom to seamlessly work across your (or your team’s) different devices with the same file.

Colour control

Work in RGB or LAB colour spaces - even up to 32-bits per channel. Plus if you’re designing for print, pantone support, end-to-end CMYK and ICC colour management are built in as standard.

Rock solid vector tools

Affinity Designer is full of tools meticulously developed for achieving high productivity, while maintaining 100 percent accurate geometry.

  • Comprehensive vector toolset
  • The best pen & node tool available
  • Pencil and brush stabilisation
  • Non-destructive boolean operations

Advanced grids and guides

The options you have for setting up grids and guides is almost unlimited. Whether it’s a standard grid pattern, or full isometric with multiple planes, you have full control over spacing, sub-divisions, gutters, angles and more.

  • Column and page guides
  • Isometric grids and planes
  • Auto-alignment tools
  • Pixel snapping and alignment

One million+ percent zoom

This is what we mean by power. From the beginning we developed our engine to work to floating point accuracy. What does this mean? 1,000,000% zoom!

Unlimited artboards

Best Graphic Software For Mac

Layout all your screens, pages, menus and other items in a single project across any number of artboards. Export artboards, or any individual elements in your designs, with a single click.

  • Create artboards of any size
  • Choose from preset device sizes
  • Output full artboards or elements in any format
  • Export at 1x, 2x and 3x resolution in one operation

Linked symbols

Symbols allow you to include unlimited instances of the same base object across your project. Edit one, and the rest update instantly. It’s easy to create multiple versions of symbols with some attributes detached, or even have symbols within symbols to allow some really innovative ways to speed up your workflow.

Live pixel preview

Pixel perfect designs are assured by viewing your work in pixel preview mode. This allows you to view vectors in both standard and retina resolution, giving you a completely live view of how every element of your design will export.

Sophisticated typography

Whether working with artistic text for headlines, or frames of text for body copy, you can add advanced styling and ligatures with full control over leading, kerning, tracking and more. At any time convert your text to curves to take full control and produce your own exquisite, custom typography to add serious impact.

  • Comprehensive OpenType support
  • Artistic text and text frames
  • Character and paragraph styles
  • Flow text along any path

Professional output for print, screen or collaboration

Advanced file support is at the core of the back-end technology behind Affinity Designer. All the major image and vector file types are supported, including PDF/X4, EPS, SVG and PSD support.

Mac Professional Vector Graphics Software Free

Buy now €54.99 Affinity Designer (macOS) Free trial Affinity Designer (macOS)
Buy now €54.99 Affinity Designer (Windows) Free trial Affinity Designer (Windows)
This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more