Free alternatives to Illustrator

Similar to my post on free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, this time around, I am bringing some useful FREE alternatives to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is another vital design program especially for designers in the graphic industry, but with all Adobe software packages they come with a high price tag. So the below are just a few of the freebies out there for those wishing to get their hands dirty with vector files.

Creative Docs .NET is a vector-based graphic design tool with support for rich text, ideal to quickly write short documents, manuals, posters, illustrations, schemas, plans, flow charts, and much more.

The interface is tailored for high productivity: it does never get in your way. Creative Docs .NET tools are simple, yet powerful. All styles and attributes can be modified interactively with a minimum number of mouse clicks. A color gradient, for instance, can be modified directly by dragging its handles in the document window.

Note: This software is being actively developed.

Creative Docs .NET 2.x is available for free as a full-featured version. It comes with no warranty whatsoever.

Inkscape allows you to import Illustrator-format .ai files. You can then edit the diagram in Inkscape and output a new .png or .emf for the manual. An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

Inkscape is the most popular free alternative out there to Adobe Illustrator, as it supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.

Download Inkscape from their official website here.

A bit of a wildcard this next one, but it’s worth a mention as it’s browser based so something different.

Raven created by Avian is a free online vector design tool that works completely within the browser. It’s got a very good-looking interface, use Raven to create fully scalable vector art appropriate for logos or tee shirt designs. You won’t find a similar tool on the web.

Because some of the functionality is happening on the server side, you will have to put up with a little delay uploading and downloading files to and from the server. But for a browser app, though, it’s a pretty amazing piece of coding and design work, and again it’s free, so you can’t really complain.

Check out Raven here.



Josh is a multidsicplinary designer who has a love for creativity and design. He enjoys learning and experimenting in all areas of design. Please feel free to follow Josh on Twitter