Inkscape Vs Illustrator: Which Is Best?

Inkscape Vs Illustrator – which design software should you use?


As open source has grown in popularity and professional features, many have wondered what the best application is for vector graphics.


With the rise of Inkscape, many artists who use Illustrator are now looking at taking their designs to applications like Inkscape because of its open source, free features.


Let’s compare Inkscape and Illustrator, to see which is best for your requirements.


llustrator Vs Inkscape


inkscape vs illustrator


Most designers have used Illustrator for years, but when it comes to Illustrator vs Inkscape discussions, designers have to also consider the standard for creating vector designs. New tools have their advantages as well.


There will always be certain functions that only Illustrator can do or process correctly. This guide goes through all of those features and whether you should switch to Inkscape.


What Is Inkscape?


what is inkscape


Inkscape has risen in popularity in the past year because of its new features and free cost. It is an open source vector graphics design application just like Illustrator.


It works on all major operating systems. Since 2012, Inkscape has been growing and adding features thanks to open source popularity.


Main Features of Inkscape


  • All drawing tools from pencil to calligraphy
  • All shape tools
  • Embedded bitmaps
  • Text tools
  • All transformation tools
  • All z-order operations
  • Edit directly in SVG source code
  • Set keys to move, rotate, & scale by screen pixels
  • Tiled clone & edit clone on a canvas
  • Edit nodes using only a keyboard
  • Edit gradients with handles on the canvas
  • One-click paint fills
  • Color painting over objects
  • Alpha transparent support for display & PNG export

You can view all Inkscape features on their website.


Inkscape Pros & Cons


To many designers, Inkscape is able to do anything that other software programs can do, but is that the case?


Let’s consider some of the Inkscape pros and cons.


Pros of Inkscape:

  • Free, absolutely zero cost
  • Less strain on your CPU, lightweight
  • Versatility as it works on all platforms
  • Volunteer community that looks at new suggestions and implements features

Cons of Inkscape:

  • No CMYK support, so it’s difficult for print illustrations
  • Some bugs and glitches
  • Formats can be tricky since Adobe’s formats are so widely used throughout the industry
  • Not used in most agencies or design outfits, so you won’t get any chops for being an Inkscape master


Who Is Inkscape Good For?


Whether you are a starving artist or an aspiring freelance designer with no funds, Inkscape’s main advantage is that you can learn to create vector graphics and design with the same tools as Illustrator but without any cost.


Since many of the features are the same as Illustrator, you can use Inkscape to start designing your own logos, graphics, vectors, t-shirt design, and more.


If you work in digital design, it’s important to use more than one illustration program as well. How will you know what the latest tools and features are if you aren’t comparing to other applications?


In addition, if you have an older computer that doesn’t have the same power as a high-end design computer, you won’t be able to use Illustrator. However, Inkscape is more efficient on low-end computers.


How is Inkscape Different from Illustrator?


Inkscape and Illustrator both have the same features. However, Illustrator is still slightly more effective for true print applications, such as creating CMYK magazine graphics. With Illustrator, you’ll be able to create all of the vectors that you need for other applications, such as t-shirt screenprinting.


You can create logos, icons, typography, sketches, and complex illustrations within Inkscape just as you can within Illustrator. However, it’s always shocking to see how similar these applications are when Inkscape is absolutely free.


There are some things that you must do differently because of the file formats. For example, you’ll have to use an extension called Ghostscript to read .EPS files so that they can work with the open source program.


Since Inkscape is open source, you also don’t have the same 24/7 support as you get with Adobe products. However, for the price and amount of features, you don’t have to wait long to see the value.



Recommended Inkscape tutorials & courses:

  • Design And Create Vector Graphics With Inkscape here
  • Inkscape For Beginners here
  • Inkscape – Beginner to Pro here


Inkscape Vs Illustrator


Is Illustrator still the best vector graphics program?


Due to how the industry works, it is difficult for any open source program to have the same weight and professional style as Illustrator.


For a designer to get work in any professional role, they will have to know Illustrator, and unless you want to spend time converting files, it’s not likely that people will latch on to an open source program unless they truly have no budget for it.


Illustrator Pros & Cons


There are significant pros and cons to Illustrator as well.

Pros of Illustrator:

  • Abundant employment opportunities for designers
  • Extensive features such as automated and pre-programmed options
  • New features developed first
  • Proprietary formats
  • Cross platform usability

Cons of Illustrator:

  • There is a cost
  • Hardware requirements
  • No Linux support


When Illustrator Is Better Than Inkscape


You should use Illustrator if you are looking to work as a professional web designer, graphic designer, or other type of digital artist. If you are looking for work at an agency or studio, then you’ll have to know how to use this program.


If you are an aspiring artist in college, there may be some discounts available from Adobe, but you’ll still pay a monthly subscription that is between $19.99 and $39.99 a month (unless you can pick it up during an Adobe sale).


Adobe Illustrator

  • Best vector graphics editor for t shirt design
  • Frustration free - gain total control over your t shirt design process
  • Best features & tools for creating an endless variety of designs for t shirts
View Latest Price

Adobe Photoshop

  • Better for photo editing & working with images
  • Bring images over from Photoshop to Illustrator
  • Best photo editing software
View Latest Price

Adobe Creative Cloud

  • Depending on the plan you select, get access to all of Adobe's Apps
  • Plans for individuals or business
  • Store your designs in the cloud
View Latest Price

In other cases, you may want to look at InDesign for print as well. When it comes to InDesign vs Illustrator discussions, it’s typically only print designers that use this application.


Check out the other posts in this series:



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  1. Avatar for houniao houniao April 27, 2020

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