Gregory Wolanski


Sketch? I use it every week, but can’t pass indifferently by Affinity Designer

I wish I could write that the design tools don’t matter. Sometimes I think they don’t. Then I get on Sketch. Or Affinity Designer.

I use Sketch and Pixelmator.

When I heard about Affinity Designer, I thought, “Just another Acorn, a heavier Pixelmator with more features at best.” I was not interested.

My approach to Affinity Designer changed a bit when I saw a novice designer learning Sketch. I recalled how I was learning Sketch myself before it was popular. I recalled why I started to learn Sketch. I recalled how I negotiated an agreement under which I could work a few months using Sketch, without touching any Adobe tools.

Software requires time to evaluate. It takes time to appreciate. Especially if we’re talking about programs that we are going to use often, such as every week or even every day.

I bought an Affinity Designer license months ago. I spent some time with the application. I haven’t replaced Sketch with it — that would require convincing the two designers I work with of Affinity in a situation where I didn’t see anything good enough in Affinity to mention or recommend.

The thing that changed my relationship with Affinity Designer was the book “Affinity Designer Workbook”, released by the application developers themselves. Actually, I don’t know why I bought it. It was an impulsive purchase, but I’m glad that I did it. The book doesn’t allow you to just pass by Affinity Designer indifferently.

Three elements of Affinity Designer that draw attention to the Sketch user:

1. Text tools

If you feel like you’re lacking authority over text in Sketch, check out the text tools in Affinity Designer.

Baseline, tracking, leading override, advanced underline and strikethrough settings, shear, horizontal and vertical scale, standard ligatures, contextual alternatives, ordinals, fractions, superscript, subscript, all caps, small caps, indenting the first line of paragraphs, tab stops — you can manage all this from the panels in Affinity.

2. Unprecedented support for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files

If you want to use the .psd and .ai file formats without touching software from Adobe, try Affinity. I hadn’t ever seen such good support for the aforementioned file types outside of Adobe.

3. Resizing

Affinity Designer can resize objects using AutoLayout–style constraints with a panel resembling the one I remember in Apple Xcode from when I used to program apps for iOS.

I understand that this feature may not speak to you, but it spoke to me so strongly that I had to write about it.

Take 25 minutes to get to know Affinity Designer. If it is not bad, give it another 25 minutes. Who knows, you may want to invest 20 hours of learning in it to make it your primary tool of work.

Did I mention that Affinity Designer is also available on Windows?

It needs your attention. It’s a perfect addition to Sketch and Pixelmator.

Download free trial now & click 👏 .

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