Inkscape VS Illustrator

Inkscape VS Illustrator | Pros & Cons of Each

Inkscape VS Illustrator | Pros & Cons of Each 1024 576 Nick Saporito

A few years ago I uploaded a video to YouTube comparing the differences between Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator, but a lot has changed since then. Inkscape has grown by leaps and bounds and Illustrator continues to raise the bar while leading the charge on AI, so now seems like a fitting time for an updated comparison.

Inkscape & Adobe Illustrator Compared

In short, Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard tool for vector design, whereas Inkscape is a free and open source alternative.

Despite being free, Inkscape is an advanced design tool that has been around for over 20 years and is suitable for professional use. That said, Inkscape does have some downsides, such as stability issues (frequent crashing), occasional incompatibility with third-party vector templates, and lack of support for CMYK.

Basic Details…

Application Inkscape Adobe Illustrator
  Inkscape Adobe Illustrator app icon
Used for Vector design, logos and branding, illustrations, character drawing, technical drawings & more Vector design, logos and branding, illustrations, character drawing, technical drawings, print design & more
Supported operating systems WindowsMacLinux WindowsMaciOS
Minimum requirements 500 MB of disk space Multicore 64 bit processor 8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended) 2 GB of disk space 1080p resolution recommended 1 GB of GPU VRAM recommended
Price Free $22.99/mo USD
Mobile app? No Yes (iPad only)
Where to download Official website Official website
Inkscape VS Illustrator: Basic Details

Advantages Of Using Inkscape

Some of the benefits that come with using Inkscape rather than Adobe Illustrator include:

  • It’s completely free. Adobe Illustrator requires a paid subscription, whereas Inkscape is made by a team of passionate volunteers.
  • It’s available on all of the major operating systems, including Linux. Illustrator is only available on Windows, Mac and iPad.
  • It’s a lighter-weight application with fewer hardware requirements. Illustrator is more demanding and also requires their Creative Cloud launcher application to use it, which runs in the background and uses system resources at all times (even when you’re not using Illustrator.)
  • Inkscape doesn’t collect your data. Illustrator, on the other hand is owned by Adobe, and they do indeed collect data on your usage.
  • Bonus points: Inkscape is more customizable. You can make your own themes and change the style of the UI.

Advantages Of Using Illustrator

On the flip side, if you have the hardware and budget for Adobe Illustrator, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:

  • The most advanced features for vector design. Illustrator is the industry-standard and routinely innovates new features that leaves its rivals playing catch-up.
  • More support and educational materials. Illustrator has more users, which means more support, more tutorials, and quicker solutions to your problems.
  • More compatible with downloadable assets. Most vector templates from stock sites are made in Illustrator and often contain Illustrator-specific traits that Inkscape can’t interpret, which can render them useless.
  • Better stability. Although far from perfect, Illustrator is a more stable application that doesn’t crash nearly as much as Inkscape does.
  • Cross-platform compatibility with other Adobe apps. Vectors made in Illustrator are easy to integrate with Premiere Pro and After Effects workflows.
  • Illustrator has a mobile app for the iPad. It’s a watered-down version of Illustrator, but it’s more than what Inkscape has to offer tablet users, which is nothing.
  • Bonus points: Illustrator has been on the ball with artificial intelligence. Although Illustrator’s AI generator has a ways to go, it’s currently the only vector app that has incorporated AI of any kind.

Common Questions

Addressing some commonly-asked questions when comparing Inkscape with Adobe Illustrator:

Can Inkscape be used professionally?

Yes, Inkscape is a fully-featured vector design tool that can be used for professional design work. I’ve used it to design logos for my clients for many years.

What are the downsides of using Inkscape?

The greatest downside to using Inkscape is its lack of stability. Inkscape crashes often, so you’ll have to get in the habit of pressing Control + S quite often.

Another downside to using Inkscape is that lacks support for the CMYK color format. This makes Inkscape a less than ideal choice when preparing anything for print.

What is Inkscape best used for?

Inkscape works best for any kind of digital illustration that needs to retain its scalability. This includes logo and branding design, infographics, character illustrations, icons, user interface, graphics for websites, social media, mobile apps, and more.

Where To Learn More

If you’re new to Inkscape and want to get yourself acquainted with it, I put together a nearly hour-long introduction lesson that you can watch on the Logos By Nick YouTube channel. It’s a top-to-bottom walkthrough meant for first-time users.

If you’re an Illustrator user looking to switch over to Inkscape then be sure to watch this introductory video to help guide you through the changes. The cool thing about Inkscape is that you can program it with Illustrator’s keyboard shortcuts, making the transition that much easier.

Finally, if you want a more in-depth technical comparison then check out a previous article I wrote comparing Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator.

What Do You Think? 🤔

Is there something I missed that should’ve been addressed? Do you have any pointers of your own that you’d like to add? Leave a comment below with any questions or remarks you may have. As always, thanks for stopping by.

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Nick Saporito

Hi, I'm Nick— a Philadelphia-based graphic designer with over 10 years of experience. Each year millions of users learn how to use design software to express their creativity using my tutorials here and on YouTube.

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4 comments
  • Patrick

    Hey Nick,

    Greetings from Ireland, just a quick question is there a way of maybe transfering work from Inkscape into Gimp or other photo editor to make it more print compatible.

    Myself and my wife have both tried illustrator but to no avail ,she prefers to use photoshop and I prefer Gimp
    and Inkscape.
    Also watch all the videoes that you put up on utube,again thank you for another informative video.
    Patrick.

  • Roberto Locatelli

    I’m in Brazil. For us here, US$278.00 per year is very expensive. That’s why I use InkScape and, occasionally, Affinty Design which, at the time, cost me $25.00 for life. If I need to change the color scheme to CMYK, Affinty does that, as does Scribus (which is open source and free).

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