Adobe Illustrator Alternatives for Logo Designers

Many logo designers were surprised to hear about the move Adobe has made recently, when they've decided to bet hard on the Creative Cloud versus the traditional software distribution model. The idea behind is that you no longer own the software but you rent it to do your job. This shift has its ups and downs. However, the purpose of this article is not to debate on whether Adobe's move is a good or a bad one. It rather is to sieze the opportunity to explore the other available options out there in terms of vector illustration.

It is not my first time when I was interested in finding an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. This quest started quite a while back, right after Adobe acquired the beloved Macromedia and along with it the beloved Macromedia Freehand. I was quite sure Freehand will not live much longer and I had to switch to Illustrator. I was quite frustrated by the lack of multiple pages and the odd way of doing things in Illustrator. However, there was not much choice in terms of vector illustration software back then.

It seems that lately there is a bit of action in this area. On the Mac, at least, Pixelmator can be considered a worthy alternative to Photoshop for basic and even more advanced tasks and there are quite a few nice vector illustratio software in the making.

Here is a short list of Adobe Illustrator alternatives - feel free to leave a reply if you want other software added to the list. 

1) Corel Draw - Windows Only

Corel Draw has been around for a long time, even on the Mac since a few years ago. It does offer a solid set of tools and as a former user of Corel Draw I have to admit that if I would still use Windows I would give Corel a good new consideration. I wish they would have a Mac version as well.

2) Sketch - Mac Only

Sketch is a superb Mac app for illustration - I've tried it a couple of times, even bought a license and I still use it from time to time. While it's not a full Illustrator replacement, one can create some pretty amazing things with this little app. It's speedy, stable and has a few nice features. The work with lines is superior to Illustrator - take that Adobe. :)

3) Artboard - Mac Only

Artboard is a truly complex vector illustration software - you can do a limited amount of operations on raster images as well but the main purpose for this app is to enable you to create vector illustrations. It's versatile, fast and a pleasure to work with. 

4) Xara Designer Pro X - Windows Only

Xara has a long history of being in the illustration software market - they do not have a huge market share but the people who use their software swear by it. While it's not as powerful as Corel, it does have a powerful set of vector drawing tools that can help you create great logos.

5) Inkscape - Windows, Linux, Mac (somehow)

Inkscape is an open source (aka free) vector illustration software that has a powerful list of features. While it works great on Windows and Linux, it is quite slow on a Mac - the tools are great and I've seen some great examples of illustrations / logos created with Inkscape.

Other tools worth mentioning are:

Xara Extreme - It's based on an older version of Xara - open source, Windows only.

Stencil - Open source software - lots of Linux flavors & Mac (somehow).

Alchemy - Open source - Linux, Win, OSX - limited functionality though.

EazyDraw - Mac only - it seems the software was not updated lately - they have a working demo.

SK1 - Linux only - it looks like it has lots of features and it will rebrand itself in the future into PrintDesign - their aim is to offer Windows and OSX versions of the software as well.