Cancel Adobe? Best Alternatives for Designers

Thinking about canceling your Adobe subscription to save money and protect your privacy? You’re not the only one! Here you’ll find the best design software similar to Adobe.

Luckily, whether you’re a professional designer or a keen hobbyist, it’s possible to move on from Adobe’s design tools and save some cash while you’re at it. We’ll cover the six best Adobe alternatives in this post.

We also have this article in video format over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

And if you need professional design assets for your projects, don’t forget to check out Envato’s library, where you’ll find a wide selection of graphics, fonts, add-ons and more, all in one place!

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Professional Alternatives to Adobe

For a professional-level substitute for Adobe, there’s no better option than the Affinity suite of design tools. All single apps have a perpetual license for US$70 at full price, but they regularly go on sale for half off.

And better yet, you can get the whole Affinity suite for just US$83 while it’s on sale. That’s one payment, no subscription.

The lowest single-app Adobe subscription is US$264 per year or US$22.99 per month. That goes as high as US$660 per year on the Creative Cloud All App plan. And while that gives you more tools, they may not even be tools you want. Let’s look at the alternatives. 


Full Affinity Suite Full Adobe Suite Single Adobe App

One-time payment: US$165

Monthly fee: US$59.99 Monthly fee: US$22.99

On sale price: US$83

Yearly fee: US$659.88 Yearly fee: US$263.88

Adobe Photoshop Alternative: Affinity Photo 

Affinity Photo is easily one of the best alternatives to Photoshop on the market. Affinity Photo has everything you need for image editing, including one-to-one layer modes with Photoshop.

Layers, groups, and clipping masks all work as you’d expect. All the filters and layer effects you’ve come to know and use are there as well, along with a few new ones.

There’s an incredibly powerful brush engine that far surpasses Photoshop thanks to being able to add multiple sources and color to the brush. This is why it’s one of the strongest alternatives to Photoshop.

Adjustment layers and masks all work the same, with a few extra bonuses like being able to move masks as independent layers.

What about collaboration? Affinity thought of that and made it possible to open and export PSD files in Affinity Photo. The only downside is that Photoshop is still the industry standard, and while Affinity Photo bridges a lot of the gaps, its PSD to Affinity Photo file conversion is not always perfect.  

But Affinity Photo is a solid Photoshop alternative for the vast majority of people. Here’s a complete Affinity Photo for Beginners course you can follow to learn more about this great replacement for Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator Alternative: Affinity Designer

Now, is there a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Affinity Designer isn’t free, but it’s the go-to vector program alternative for those who want to move on from Illustrator. Affinity Designer is known to be incredibly fast and less resource-hungry than Illustrator.

This Adobe Illustrator alternative features an interface that will look familiar, if not more streamlined, and it’ll be easy for even a long-time Illustrator user to switch to. You also get a few extra perks like similar keyboard shortcuts and the ability to customize the interface to match and recreate the Illustrator UI even more closely.

Your go-to tools, like nodes and vector lines, work similarly in each program. And sophisticated typography options allow you to flow text along any path, create custom typography, and add ligatures, artistic text, and paragraph styles.

I especially love how this Adobe Illustrator alternative is a fully featured vector and raster workspace, so you no longer have to do your vector work in one program and then export to a raster program to add grain, use raster brushes, or adjust colors.

If you’re looking to get started, Envato Tuts+ has a free Affinity Designer for Beginners course you can follow.

Adobe InDesign Alternative: Affinity Publisher

Finally, we have Affinity Publisher, your alternative to InDesign. Publisher has everything you need for professional page layout design.

Like all Affinity products, Publisher’s UI and shortcuts are similar to its Adobe counterpart, but more streamlined and intuitive. With a similar UI comes a similar toolset, giving you complete control of flowing text along paths, ink styles, drop caps, and other typography staples.

You can pull in both vector and raster assets. Publisher also plays well with PSD, AI, and Affinity files, making collaboration a breeze.

Envato Tuts+ also has a free Affinity Publisher for Beginners course that’s perfect for those looking to try it out. 

Free Programs Similar to Adobe

Looking for more apps like Adobe? You can save up to US$720 every year by going with these free substitutes for Adobe. 

Free Photoshop Alternative: PhotoPea

PhotoPea is an Adobe Photoshop free alternative. It lets you use all the basics for free right in your browser. But basic means more than just cropping and resizing.

PhotoPea has filters, layer modes, and layer styles, along with a fully featured Brush tool and layer masks. It even offers nesting Smart Objects that work the same way as in Photoshop. In fact, PhotoPea can open PSD files, making it one of the best free Photoshop alternatives online. 

PhotoPea is ultra-convenient and pretty powerful for being web based, so it’s definitely an online Photoshop alternative you should consider.

Free Adobe Illustrator Alternative: Inkscape

So is there a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Yes! Inkscape is a free and open-source program for vector illustrations and logo creation. It’s been around for decades and has a passionate fan base. This means there are plenty of tutorials out there to help you make the switch.

It’s fast and snappy, being much less resource-hungry than Illustrator. Editing nodes and manipulating vector paths is far more efficient as it’s done with just one tool.

The switch from learning one app and jumping to the other is easy, no matter which program you’re coming from and going to. And given its price tag, there’s no harm in trying out this free Adobe Illustrator alternative.

Free Equivalent to InDesign: Scribus

Do you need to do a quick layout design on a budget? Scribus is a great free equivalent to InDesign and Affinity Designer.

Scribus has a range of advanced professional publishing features tucked beneath its modern, user-friendly interface. These include support for color separations, CMYK and spot colors, ICC color management, and the ability to create versatile and dynamic PDF documents. 

This Adobe InDesign alternative is a simple and light program that gets the job done at the best price: free.

That’s It! These Are the Top Apps Like Adobe

If you’ve been feeling frustrated by Adobe lately, I think a lot of us can relate. But don’t feel trapped: there are replacements for Adobe out there that are just as capable and powerful and are perfect for both professional and hobbyist workflows.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles to find out more about Affinity and other design tools which may help replace that Adobe habit you have:

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