Inkscape vs Illustrator (Inkscape Wins)

inkscape vs illustrator

There, I said it. The ultimate battle of Inkscape vs Illustrator ends here because of Inkscape’s overall open-source, no-cost, and restriction-free spirit. Well, I suppose they both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s dive in and dispute!

1. The Price

Inkscape: FREE

The most literal definition of free. You can go from this article to, download your own copy at only 33 megabytes, and be up and running within 5 minutes for no cost at all.

Adobe Illustrator: 239.88 USD/year

Yeah, Illustrator is a bit more expensive than Inkscape. You’ll have to select a payment plan (which also includes monthly options), create an account, purchase your software, and finally download about 1.3 gigabytes of stuff.

2. Inkscape is Open Source

If you don’t know what open source is, here it is in a nutshell: it means that you can grab a copy of Inkscape, look at the programming, change or improve that programming, and even redistribute it. Being able to alter your software however you want isn’t that much of a benefit over Illustrator for the average graphic designer that just wants a good vector program. What’s important, though, is how quickly Inkscape evolves.

“What’s important,
though, is how quickly
Inkscape evolves.”

Take a look at the official Inkscape bug page. Any user that experiences a bug can report it here to get universal help from the entire Inkscape community. For each individual bug report, you can also see the status, importance, milestone, and also which contributor is willing to take up the challenge of patching up the bug.

Instead of waiting for a somewhat annual Illustrator release (and paying for the update), you can download development versions of Inkscape that contain the latest features and bug fixes.

3. Professional Features

1. Competes with Illustrator

Not only is Inkscape totally sufficient graphics software for any designer, but it also goes head to head with almost all of Illustrator’s features. Even the long awaited “Gradient Mesh” is making an appearance in development versions of Inkscape. In all of this, Inkscape is still 100% free.

“it also goes
head to head with
almost all of
Illustrator’s features.”

2. Clones

For whatever reason, Inkscape has incomparable cloning features that Illustrator just doesn’t. First of all, it’s very easy to create, manage, link, and unlink clones, but then you get “Create Tiled Clones” and the ability to edit them right on the canvas.

create tiled clones

3. And I Like It!

I might be the odd one here, but hear me out. When I was learning graphic design years ago, everything was in Illustrator. My first vectors were in Illustrator, I had Illustrator on my home computer, and just about everybody in the business required the almighty AI file.

Well, one crashed computer later, I decided to dig up an old laptop and throw Linux on it so I could keep up on my work until I got my new system. While learning a little about Linux, I naturally came across Inkscape. I downloaded it and gave it a shot, but to my surprise, it was pretty darn good.

“For the price
of free,
I was sold.”

When my new Windows system was up and running, I figured out that my old version of Illustrator was missing some cool features, so I was looking to upgrade. Unfortunately, as we went over earlier… Illustrator means forking over the big bucks! Since I was getting pretty good at Inkscape, I decided to keep using it. To my surprise, Inkscape kept adding more features and kept doing them better than Illustrator. For the price of free, I was sold.

A Little More

While this article is mostly biased, Illustrator is still considered the industry standard for professionals. I’m more interested in spreading a little Inkscape joy and perhaps changing the industry standard one day. Why does there even have to be a standard? Just use what software works for you. But, all hail Inkscape. Just kidding.