Free Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator for Mac

Struggling with whether or not to pay for Adobe Creative Cloud? In this article, you will find a few free Mac alternative design software and editing tools to Adobe Illustrator. Yes! FREE!  

As a graphic designer myself, I totally understand how expensive these Adobe programs can get. I had to pay a couple of hundred dollars each year for Adobe Illustrator for school projects and work. 

Well, Adobe Illustrator does offer a 7-day free trial, but after that, sadly, you’d better get your wallet ready. But don’t worry, after hours of researching and testing, I have found 5 free editing tools (for Mac users) that you can use without paying a ton. 

Want to save money? Keep reading to find out more! 

Free Illustrator Alternatives for Mac 

Design, it’s all about your good ideas! If you are looking to create some simple design, the following Mac user-friendly editing tools are easy to use and practical for basic creative work. Actually, you can create your art even faster using some of these alternatives.  

1. Inkscape

Inkscape is my favorite free alternative to Adobe Illustrator because it has similar features and I can do most basic work with it. It’s free open-source design software that provides most of the basic drawing tools that Illustrator has. Such as shapes, gradients, paths, groups, text, and much more.  

Just like Illustrator, Inkscape is great for creating vectors and it’s compatible with SVG. So, you can resize the vector without blurring it. You can save your design in different formats like SVG, EPS, PostScript, JPG, PNG, BMP, or others. 

Yup, sounds like it’s almost perfect for designer pros. But some users complain that it works slowly and often crashes when you are working on larger files.      

2. Figma

Figma is an online design tool that offers essential tools for graphic design. You can quickly make shapes, add text, and it has plugins that you can use for different purposes. For example, you can add customized vectors, which is convenient for non-designers.

The interface is very clean and straightforward, but it is a little bit confusing to get started. It’s a layer-based program, so when want to select something, make sure to select the layer first. Otherwise, you might be moving the elements randomly.

3. Vecteezy 

You probably have heard of Vecteezy? Many people find stock vectors on it. But you know what? You can actually create your own design or re-work the existing vectors as well. 

It might be hard for a graphic designer to create something from scratch. No worries. Vecteezy has many ready-to-use vectors and different type-faces that can give you some good ideas to start with. 

With essential tools for graphic design such as pen tools, shapes, lines, and color-picker, you’ll get the vector you want in just a matter of practice and patience. Nothing complicated. Design is all about colors and shapes. 

Although it’s a free graphic design program, you do need an account to save your work. Another thing about these kinds of web tools is that it can be a pain when you work on larger files. It might get really slow or even freeze the browser. 

4. Vectr

Vectr is another free alternative browser vector design tool to Adobe Illustrator. It has all the basic tools you need to create a vector, including pen tools, lines, shapes, colors, text, and you can also import images and work on them on your Vectr artboard. 

If you seriously have zero ideas about design or don’t know where to start, don’t worry. You can learn the basics quickly from the free tutorials on its website. Easy! 

Just a reminder, Vectr is a very simple design tool, so it doesn’t have many advanced features that Adobe Illustrator offers. It’s recommended for newbies or anyone who wants to create a simple vector design. Another thing is that you will need to create an account to save your work.

5. Canva

Canva is an amazing online editing tool for creating posters, logos, infographics, and many other designs. It’s so easy and convenient to use. Because it offers so many ready-to-use templates, vectors, and fonts. You can create artwork in less than 30 mins easily. 

Another feature I find very impressive is the auto color-picker tool. When you upload an image or select a template, it shows the color tones and suggested colors in the color window. This tool really saves your time and your work when you have no idea what colors to use. 

One of the downsides of the free version is that you cannot save the image in high quality. If you use it for digital content, go ahead. However, printing in large sizes, it’s quite tricky.  

Final Words

Adobe Illustrator is still the most popular graphic design program that professional designers use despite its cost. But if you are a newbie, or only need a couple of nice posters for work or a simple vector logo, the free alternatives to AI I mentioned above should be more than enough. 

Have fun creating! 

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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  • Arlene Havrot

    Hi June
    I’m writing because I’m sure you’re aware of Adobe’s plan to make all Type 1 fonts obsolete in 2023. I have a huge bank of Type 1 fonts and I’d like to continue using them. Would one of the free vector alternatives be a solution for working with these fonts before outlining and placing in Illustrator? If so, which would you recommend?

    • June Escalada

      Hi Arlene, I saw that news as well. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to your question at this moment, but I’ll definitely look into that and get back to you once I find out the solution. Sounds good?

  • Anonymous

    Gravit is not free anymore