Adobe Illustrator vs. Affinity Designer
Maximum PC|October 2021
Can the design newbie knock Adobe off its perch?
By Sam Lewis

Before we pit these two rivals against each other, let’s take a step back in time to where it all began. The year is 1987, Adobe has just released its first piece of software called Illustrator for the Apple Macintosh. It was, and still is, a vector art and design software that by today’s standards looks pretty darn basic. However, in the late 1980s, this piece of technology completely revolutionized the art of graphic design.

Before computerized work, creating a piece of design was a massive task and extremely time-consuming. Everything had to be done manually, including rulers and french curls, and typography was created letter by letter. One page of set type may even take a day or two to complete. Do you think making a mistake on a computer is a problem? Nowadays, you simply press CTRL-Z to undo the error, but back then, a mistake in traditional design work could often mean starting all over again.

Illustrator was designed to prevent this from happening while being more efficient and pushing the boundaries of what could be done. The concept of a computer being able to draw for you introduced a whole new way of thinking to industries such as graphic design, marketing, and publishing. Illustrator eventually replaced Adobe’s PostScript software, a page description language that was previously only usable by computer programmers. Illustrator was an application that made the process a whole lot smoother, allowing more accurate control over curves, shapes, and lines that you could see in front of you.

The pen tool was one of the first and most useful tools Illustrator had. It meant you could draw accurate curves, perfectly straight lines and also create infinite variations of shapes by drawing as many points as you wanted. These were the building blocks to every type of design you see today and that certainly gives Illustrator some brownie points.

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