Hey all, I’m a designer for a company that specializes in print media (magazines, newsletters, etc.), and we’ve been told to plan on switching over from Adobe Creative Suite to Affinity for cost savings in the next couple months. I primarily use InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat and Illustrator; I rarely use any of the other Adobe products. Thing is, I’ve never used Affinity and I’m old and not good at learning new things. Could anyone who has made the switch from InDesign to Affinity provide any reviews with emphasis on print media? How much different is it? What was the learning curve like for you? What things can you not do as easily in Affinity that you could in Adobe? I’d also like to maybe contact someone directly so my co-worker and I might be able to ask questions as we get prepared for this switchover. We’ve been so busy lately that I don’t see me having much time to experiment with Affinity before the switchover, and I’m getting a little nervous about how it may impact me, as I’ve used InDesign for so long that it’s second nature to me. Thanks for any feedback you can provide!
I use both Adobe and Affinity products. A year ago, I had a several-months-long set of projects for a company that specifically requested that I use the Affinity suite since that’s what they were using in-house.
There was a small learning curve, but I don’t remember it being difficult. Affinity software is intuitive and has the advantage of the user interfaces having been designed from scratch rather than patched together over many years, like the Adobe products. Affinity also benefits from being similar enough to Adobe’s software to make the switch reasonably easy. An interesting feature is what they call personas, which enables the use of some features of one Affinity program while using another. Serif, Affinity’s parent company, has also produced some good tutorial videos that help with the learning curve.
I like the Affinity products, but they lack the bells and whistles of the Adobe equivalents. In some ways, using the Affinity software is similar to heading back to Adobe’s CS5 software. All the basics are there, but not everything. For those missing features, I always found work-arounds. Then again, if there’s something you really love about the 2021 version of Creative Cloud that just isn’t in Affinity Photo or Designer or Publisher, it could be frustrating. Also worth mentioning is that after I got used to the Affinity software, there were a number of things I liked better about the Affinity products than Adobe’s.
My primary problem I had with the Affinity suite was that Publisher tended to bog down on large, graphics-intensive multi-page magazine files. When that happened, I’d need to scroll back a few pages, click on an object, then return to the page I was working on. For some reason, this seemed to free up whatever was bogging it down and allowed me to resume working.
Affinity doesn’t have an equivalent for Acrobat. You can still save to PDF, but working with PDFs beyond that still requires Acrobat. I didn’t run into any problems doing that, though.
The price difference between Adobe and Affinity is certainly attractive. I’m guessing this is what’s motivating the switch at your workplace. With that in mind, though, even after I got very comfortable with using the Affinity software, it still took a bit longer to accomplish the same set of tasks in Affinity than it would have in Adobe. Maybe this was just me, but from a company’s cost-benefit perspective, any loss in productivity might undercut the up-front cost savings.
Thank you very much for the response. I tend to do a lot of layers and Photoshop cutouts in InDesign, and since I’ve never felt comfortable with Illustrator (I taught myself these programs like 20 years ago but never spent much time in Illustrator), I tend to make my graphics and so forth in InDesign. I assume I’ll be able to do pretty much all the same stuff in Affinity? I really need to read up more on it and try the trial version to get acquainted with it, but the boss set a Dec. 30 deadline for transferring, so I just want to get others’ perspectives so I can anticipate what the downsides/upsides/learning curve will be. Thanks for the feedback!!
No knock on the Affinity products, but if Adobe CC is too expensive for an established media company, priorities are misaligned, or there are bigger problems brewing than the cost of software.
That’s a good point. $1200 per year per employee isn’t a huge cost, but it’s enough to grab the attention of a clueless MBA who doesn’t quite understand the complexity of what the switch involves. My guess is the loss in productivity during the transition will completely overwhelm any savings during the first year.
There’s also the hidden costs of abandoning an established industry standard, but in a closed, end-to-end system, like a publishing company, this might not be a major concern.
I beta tested Affinity Publisher - but I had to give up on it as it was nowhere near the standard of Adobe.
Long document features completely lacking - I believe Anchored Objects are an issue or were - it’s been a while since I switched back to Adobe.
It’s hardly like the days of swtiching from Quark to InDesign. Quark was a shit show, and InDesign was so far ahead of it it was unreal.
I think that’s the starting point for me switching - the software has to be better than what is there already.
Personally, I don’t think it is there.
But you don’t want my personal opinion. Someone has taken a decision to go in another direction.
I get this all the time - especially in comopany-wide software - sometimes I’ll get an email saying that support for this software is ending and everyone has to switch to something else.
Back in the day I’d be angry - but now I just shrug my shoulders and use whatever is put in front of me.
Is Affinity Publisher good - yes. From what I remember it was excellent - it wasn’t a huge curve to switch from InDesign - it was almost intuitive.
There are things that are done differently, but that’s normal for software.
And there might be not really that good long document features - but there’s always workarounds.
It would be good if Affinity did have their own PDF reader etc. but at the end of the day you’re probably better off sticking with Adobe as that is what professional printers will be using to read/open the pdfs anyway.
You can get a free months trial here
And do the courses
Thank you for the feedback!
Thanks for the feedback and link. Will be checking those out.