Top 5 Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator

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Top 5 Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best vector-based software in the market. But there are plenty of other alternatives available in the market. This Techspirited article lists the best 5 alternatives to this capable software.

Did You Know?

Due to the high licensing fee of major software, most design studios use their own in-house graphics software developed on similar lines as the big guns.

Adobe Illustrator is a graphics software that most illustrators and graphic designers would swear by. It has some advanced tools which let users create some stunning illustrations. The versatility of the software is such that it is used not just by graphic designers but by designers of various engineering fields as well. Vectors created using Illustrator are great, both for the print and web media. Though, all these functions come with quite a price tag. Also, the software can seem rather complex to first-time users. Fortunately, though, help is at hand.

Plenty of worthy alternatives to Illustrator are available online. These provide features that are at par or even better than the ones on Adobe’s premium vector-based software. More importantly, these are more reasonably priced with some being offered for free, without a steep learning curve attached. Here’s a look at the top 5 alternatives to Adobe Illustrator.

CorelDRAW X6

This is, by far, one of the most popular software after Illustrator. CorelDRAW offers some rather easy to use and intuitive tools to create your graphics. Apart from the standard set of editing tools, it also has some unique vector shaping tools like Twirl, Smear, Attract, and Repel, which gives the user even more flexibility with the shapes. Another key feature of CorelDRAW is the built-in support for application scripting. The software supports a lot of file formats, including Microsoft Publisher files and advanced Open Type. The software is part of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 that includes other useful graphic tools like Corel Photo-Paint X6, Corel PowerTrace X6, etc.

Supported Systems: Windows


Inkscape is a freeware which boasts of some really nice vector tools and features. It has a feature set that matches that of Illustrator and other major software. The software uses the popular SVG format. It also offers certain advanced features like gradients, arbitrary transformations, and opacity. The software offers a special window, wherein you can make changes to the vector and see the effects in real time. It also supports exported files in formats like OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS, etc.

Supported Systems: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

DrawPlus X6

This is one of the most comprehensive graphic creation and editing software in the market today. DrawPlus features some real cool features like Instant 3D, the option to include images to your drawings, a wide assortment of brushes (watercolor, pastel, charcoal, etc.) and easy keyframe and stopframe animation creation. It brings in some handy drawing tools like Arc, Spiral, and Triangle, which help to cut down on time in designing. The Palette Creator that automatically picks the color palette from an image is another fine touch. Files are exported in most standard formats, including the latest professional file standard―PDF/X-3.

Supported Systems: Windows and Mac OS


Sketch is one of the most preferred Mac software for creating web graphics. It has a huge arsenal of tools to create vector images without breaking much of a sweat. It has some real useful features like an infinite canvas, support for multiple gradients, borders and shadows, background blur, reflections, and the ability to switch between full vector zoom and the pixel grid. A standout feature of Sketch is the unmatched quality while rendering text. The software supports a large number of formats, including PDF, EPS, and SVG.

Supported Systems: Mac OS

Xara Xtreme

Xara Xtreme has become rather popular in recent years. It is an extremely lite software with tools that make it a favorite amongst designers, especially those into product designing. Its UI is very minimalistic and easy to navigate through. It has a lot of floating menus, dialogs, and palettes that make it a delight to use. One of the biggest strengths of Xara Xtreme is the large library of learning materials and tutorials it offers. Files are saved in the software’s native format, and imports are restricted to JPEG, GIF, and PNG formats. Its advanced tool set, like setting the kerning and tracking of text, make it a very powerful tool for creating text-based graphics.

Supported Systems: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

These software, in the hands of the right graphic designer, can create magic. What’s more is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. So, give your creativity wings and let the artist in you come to the fore. Cheers.

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