Alternatives for Adobe

For those who are looking for an alternative for the subscription system from Adobe there is a new addition at the Affinity programs.

They already had an illustrator and a Photoshop replacement. Today they released a replacement for InDesign.

Affinity Publisher is still in the Beta, but it is a fully working Beta;

My first impressions after a quick glance:

Quite nice

I need to adapt to the organisation of things

They prefer a RGB workflow instead of CMYK

Still playing around with the possibilities

You must create an account to be able to download the Beta.

I know what I am going to do this weekend.

Go for it.


Interesting! Thanks Carlo.

Let us know how it goes. If it’s a good alternative we can add it to our list over here:

Thanks Carlo :slight_smile:

Gawd, they had to call it “Publisher”???
Did Microsoft lose their trademark?

Those were my first thoughts too. Since the name is already associated with a Microsoft product that is widely derided by designers, it seems like a poor choice.

I haven’t checked, but I doubt the word “Publisher,” by itself, could be trademarked since it’s such a generic term.

I have high hopes for Affinity’s products, though. If they can break the Adobe monopoly and their subscription extortion scheme, I’m all for it.

There. Is. No replacement. For InDesign.

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Was awake at three this night, couldb’t sleep anymore… So what do you do?

Jump into Affinity Publisher.


Panels are everywhere. At te lefthand side, the righthand side and at the top.

Some panels are at a strange place like the Transform panel.

I haven’t found a way to reorganise them or to personalise.

Panels are in a special submenu called studio".

There is an asset panel with some prefab icons, most of them are screen/website oriented.

In the tools panel there are normal tools like in InDesign + some extra

Crop tool, transparency tool, artistic text tool (like point text in Illustrator) and a bunch of prefab shapes like in CorelDraw

Prefab often is the idea, text styles are included (Paragraph and Character)


Some strange things like the shift key works differently depending what you have selected.

If you select a picture and you want to scale it. If you a corner handle it will nog constrain, if you select an intermediate handle it will constrain. Taken a corner point without the shift it will constrain

If you select an object the shift key constrains whatever handle you choose. Strange

When you create a document you must say yhe PPI of the dodument.

So when you place an image it will resize the incoming picture to the maximum dimensions (Like CorelDraw)

Kerning and tracking are set to % instead of ems

Auto leading is set to the same value as the point size

And hell what did they do, you can create a faux bold even if the font has no bold!!

They also took the idea of CorelDraw concerning shapes. When you Draw a shape and you want to edit the anchor points you must first “convert to curves”.

In general not a bad thing,

But I get the feeling that I am using ideas from three programs (InDesign, CorelDraw and Illustrator).


Sounds like they’ve taken some of the worse features from all those programs.
Nothing messes up in print faster than an unsupported font attribute. Quark was notorious for that.

It sounds like we have reached a point in the development of design software where there is no one with enough design experience out there to help write the code needed for proper output. Sad.

So is it RGB like its namesake? Or does it handle CMYK and contain spot color libraries?

CMYK support is there, and the implementation is a bit roundabout, but spot color support and Pantone libraries are present.

Carlo did a good job discovering many of the weirdnesses, some of which are mostly weird because they’re unaccustomed. While I’d surely agree with anyone saying this falls pretty well short of being an InDesign killer, it’s the deepest effort toward that I’ve seen anywhere.

What I find encouraging about Affinity is that they seem to be deliberately setting out to take on Adobe’s stranglehold on drawing, photo and layout apps.

Quark XPress is already a viable replacement for InDesign. But few designers will abandon InDesign while still subscribing to the Creative Cloud to get Photoshop, Illustrator and whatever else. Making a significant dent in the Adobe monopoly will require integrated replacements for the big three apps of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Affinity seems to understand that.

Why Adobe hasn’t tried to buy this company for some outrageous amount, salvage the parts and shut it down, like they did with Macromedia, I don’t know. Who knows, maybe they have tried.

They (Adobe) are busy with other things. I think the takeover of macromedia learnt them a lesson. It takes a lot of time to incorparate two different ways of looking at the work. They bought Macromedia for Flash ad some stuff in Freehand, but the two groups of engineers had a completely different approach. Result Flash is dead and Freehand died silently.

Affinity stripped the code of Illustrator and Photoshop and made their engineers program just next to the original code. That worked quite good for those programs.

I think a takeover wouldn’t result in a plus for Adobe, Affinity programs rely on a “back to the basics” idea. Faster (on a Mac), more fluent and so on, but not an evolution. They offer another payment system, that’s it…

I don’t think it would be a plus for them in terms of new technology, like with the Macromedia merger or the more recent Omniture and Magento acquisitions. What I’m seeing as possibly beneficial to Adobe is for them to buy out Affinity (Serif), then slamming the brakes on any further development that might threaten their core graphics products.

I say this every chance I get, but I think federal regulators should consider Adobe a monopoly then move to break up the company into smaller, independent and competitive entities.

Adobe was great up 'till the time when we had to pay for something we don’t own …GRRR!

Maybe for you. For me, Adobe was great until they began forcing us to continually pay them fees for lackluster upgrades we didn’t need or want, then combining it with the threat of holding our work hostage and making it unusable when we let our subscriptions lapse.

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Found something weird… again

In the font list all fonts are listed alphabetically, no problem so far but

They list all your fonts also the screen fonts that you need to see websites in different languages.

So you get the possibility to chose font that isn’t a print font.

Shame on you Affinity

And even if you add a bleed, which you can’t do in the document setup you don’t see any guides


What do you think when you se the command “Place”?

Normally you would say: The picture will nog be in your document, but it will be linked to the bigger picture.

Not in Publisher, here they embed the picture. What?

Maybe I can change that… Yes you can in the resource manager.

Changedit to Linked and saved it under a different name.

Normally the file size should be less.

Not in Publisher. The size remains the same.

I had two pictures and a little bit of text… Filesize was 123 MB and had only one page

Used the same pictures and text in InDesign… Filesize 1,6 MB

This is nice.

You can open een multiple page PDF in Publisher and edit all the content.

Ah… come… on. Did you even take a look at the first BETA ? Everything changes.

In my opinion even the beta is already setup much more logically then indesign. And it isn’t released yet.

Sometimes you just need to adapt new things (no offense) :wink:

I’m using affinity designer
not even close to illustrator in terms of functionality and speed (especially with astute plugins)
it’s eating up more system power than illustrator
there isn’t even a perspective tool, blend, skew, distort… seriously, you have to do it manually or switch to inkscape to do the necessary changes. i also miss the distortion brushes (liquify, zigzag etc)
shape builder - most wanted tool in illustrator - at least for me. impossible in affinity but there is a workaround that takes like 10x more time.
the worst thing is you can’t copy to inkscape, you either have to save it as .eps or re-do it in inkscape, because if you copy it, you get a raster image rather than a vector.

just because of everything i mentioned i had to switch to the traditional way - drawing
redrawing, tracing… again… etc
but if you compare 50$ with 239$ every year…

Damn, I wouldn’t have expected that.

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