Adobe Illustrator vs. Inkscape

Adobe Illustrator vs. InkscapeInkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor. It is used for creating or editing vector graphics, which are images created using mathematical equations to define shapes. Inkscape is particularly well-suited for tasks such as logo design, illustration, web design, and other graphic design projects.

In 2012, Adobe’s decision to transition Illustrator from a perpetual licensing model to a subscription-based one stirred considerable controversy among its customer base. While the company highlighted the advantages of the subscription model, such as continuous updates and cloud storage access, many customers voiced discontent with the change.

The main issue raised by customers centered around the recurring costs associated with the subscription model. In contrast to the perpetual license model, where users made a one-time payment for lifelong software access, the subscription model mandated users to pay a monthly or annual fee for ongoing Illustrator usage. This ongoing expense structure proved particularly disconcerting for professional users heavily dependent on Illustrator for their professional endeavours. Adobe’s annual revenue has more than doubled since the company transitioned to the subscription model. In 2011, the year before the transition, Adobe’s revenue was $4.2 billion. In 2022, Adobe’s revenue was $20.9 billion.

Inkscape distinguishes itself from Adobe Illustrator with its core philosophy: it is completely free and open-source. This not only removes the financial hurdle for users but also nurtures a dynamic community of developers and users who continuously enhance and broaden the software’s features.

Adobe offers additional programs like Photoshop and Lightroom. There are open source alternatives for those programs as well. Read our comparisons on Adobe Photoshop vs. The GIMP, and Adobe Lightroom vs. Darkroom.

Adobe Illustrator has many features, but according to a 2018 study by Adobe the average user of Adobe Illustrator only uses about 20% of the software’s features. This suggests that the vast majority of Illustrator users are not taking full advantage of the software’s capabilities. In a 2023 survey of Inkscape users, conducted by the website UX Collective, 62% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Inkscape has most of the features they need for their work. Users who feel that Inkscape lacks some essential features often point to its limitations in areas such as color management and print output.

If you’re seeking a powerful, free, and open-source vector graphics editor that empowers your creative vision, Inkscape is the answer.

Adobe Illustrator vs. Inkscape Feature Comparison

Feature Adobe Illustrator Inkscape
1st Year Released 1987 2003
Cost Subscription-based (Creative Cloud) Free and open-source
Platform Windows, macOS Windows, macOS, Linux
Hardware Requirements Adobe recommends having at least 16GB RAM and 4GB of available hard disk space. Inkscape recommends having at least 8GB of free RAM and 2GB of available hard disk space.
User Interface Intuitive, user-friendly User-friendly, may have a learning curve for Adobe users
Vector Editing Advanced vector editing capabilities Comprehensive vector editing features
Pen Tool Powerful and precise Functional, but may be less intuitive
Typography Extensive typographic tools and controls Good typographic features, but may be less advanced
Color Management Advanced color management and swatch features Color management features with swatch support
Export Formats Supports various export formats, including proprietary Adobe formats Supports standard vector and raster formats
Plugins and Extensions Extensive library of third-party plugins and extensions Active community with plugins and extensions
Community and Support Extensive official support and tutorials Active community support, online forums, and documentation