As a freelance designer, finding the right tools to deliver quality work for your clients is key. Adobe Illustrator has long been a favourite amongst designers, but it’s not the only app in town. For solo entrepreneurs especially, the cost of Adobe’s subscription plans can be a hurdle. Fortunately, there are several robust and cost-effective alternatives that provide comparable functionality and flexibility.

Adobe Illustrator Alternatives

Let’s dive into five popular Adobe Illustrator replacements well-suited for freelance designers, especially those based in the UK.

1. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer, developed by UK-based company Serif, is a powerful vector graphic design tool that rivals Adobe Illustrator in functionality. It’s particularly favoured by freelancers due to its one-time purchase model, which offers a welcome break from ongoing subscription fees. Affinity Designer supports both vector and raster design, making it versatile for different project needs – be it logos or website elements. Its real-time pixel preview is a standout feature, offering a seamless design experience.

2. Sketch

Sketch is another top-notch vector graphics editor with a legion of loyal followers, particularly in the field of UX/UI design. Although it’s a Mac-only application, Sketch’s intuitive interface, and features like Symbols and Shared Styles make it an excellent tool for consistent and reusable designs. It also allows for easy exportation of different file types, a crucial need when delivering final logo designs to clients.

3. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW, a long-standing competitor in the graphic design arena, offers a comprehensive suite of tools for vector illustration, page layout, photo editing, and typography. Its compatibility with a range of file formats, along with an extensive library of templates and clipart, make CorelDRAW a versatile tool for freelance designers.

4. Inkscape

Inkscape is a free, open-source vector graphics editor that stands out for its generous features and zero cost. It supports SVG as its primary format but also accommodates many other standard formats. Although Inkscape may have a steeper learning curve compared to Illustrator, its powerful tools for object creation and manipulation make it an excellent choice for professional designers on a budget.

5. Figma

Last but not least, Figma has taken the design world by storm, with its cloud-based platform enabling real-time collaboration. For a freelance designer in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, or anywhere else in the UK, Figma’s browser-based interface allows for easy access from any device, anywhere. Even if you primarily work solo, Figma’s collaboration capabilities can come in handy when you need to share or review designs with clients.


While all these tools offer excellent alternatives to Adobe Illustrator, the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs, the nature of your projects, and your personal preferences. As an independent designer, your workflow might begin with hand-drawn sketches, followed by digital rendering using a graphics tablet or a mouse. Your choice of software should support your preferred working style while delivering the best results for your clients.

Remember, the most important factor in design isn’t the tools you use, but the creativity and dedication you bring to your work. So, whether you opt for Sketch, Figma, Affinity Designer, CorelDRAW, Inkscape, or any other tool, continue to hone your skills, explore new functionalities, and create designs that communicate, resonate, and inspire.

Freelance Web Designer Harrogate - marapr6479 2

Post written by: Andrew Backhouse

Andrew Backhouse from Harrogate crafts distinctive websites and logos for Harrogate Businesses and individuals. Check his diverse portfolio and read client praises. Enjoyed the post? Leave a comment or contact Andrew to collaborate.

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