Best Vector Graphics Editors for MacOS 2022

MacKing Blog

Vector what?

Software Vector Graphics (SVG) apps generate images using mathematical statements or sequences of commands that place lines in two or three dimensional spaces. Or, to put it more simplistically, they're old fashioned join-the-dots drawings. As a result of this creation method, they're often called 'geometric files'.

Vector why?

All well and good, but why create files in this way?

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of SVG generated images is that they're scalable, including text and type. Think of, say, a company logo that you've designed on your Mac desktop. You may have designed a beautiful thing in Photoshop, but by the time it's 40 feet across on a billboard, it may resemble a warped 50 year old skin tattoo. Not good. Your image may well not scale properly.

As a result of the ability of SVG images to scale, they'll also work correctly across the multiplicity of device types and screen sizes that populate our world now (desktops, iPads, iPhones etc). Somewhat essential.

Creators of animated content often also use SVG images as they provide smoother and cleaner results. CAD (computer animated design) is also a heavy user, as it requires the mathematical precision that SVG offers for engineering, design and manufacturing applications.

Vector which?

There are a myriad of SVG apps out there, from free and open source through one-time-paid-for to the inevitable additions to your monthly subscription bills. I've limited this list to 5 apps - to be comprehensive, it would have been nearer 55. The apps here are trusted, and they work well - how well they work for you depends, as always, on the nature and frequency of your work.

We're all guilty of rolling our eyes at 'yet another subscription', but subs do have their advantages. If you're organised, they're straightforward to budget for, and if you're not making a lifetime commitment, you can turn them off at any time. Also, they're likely to be supported. Do you really want to come back to your lovely logo project after an OS update and have to wait an age for an app update? We've all been there.

Your choice of which app (and financial outlay) depends on how much and for how long you'll use it.

So on to my top 5.


Adobe Illustrator

Pricing - annual prepaid £238.42/ monthly £30.34/ annual paid monthly £19.97

It would be foolish not to begin with the all singing and dancing Adobe Illustrator. It's the industry standard and go-to for graphics professionals, designed for designers, photographers and businesses alike. With Illustrator you can create SVG designs for limitless real world and web applications, as well as combining text with objects for smooth transition between images. It comes with a huge library of royalty free stock and can be easily integrated with other Adobe apps such as After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop and Animate.

It may be the most costly offering here, but if design is your bread and butter, this subscription is a no-brainer.



Pricing - free

Inkscape is open source and completely free - not pretendy free (you know what I mean!).
This is a great SVG package, perfect for the sometime user but also highly capable of producing very professional results (naming no names, I know someone who designed a very well-known fast food logo with it a while back).

All software that is capable of real power entails a steep learning curve, but Inkscape offers a variety of features that can simplify the learning (and creative) process, so ideal for a newbie. It supports all expected SVG features in its macOS version - gradients, textures, transforms, alpha channel, paths, text, markers, clones and grouping. It also benefits from supporting Creative Commons metadata, node editing, layers, complex path operations and more.

Inkscape may not be the flashiest app around - it can be a bit clunky at times (especially in the text tool dept), but it's a lot of app for the asking price of nothing!


Affinity Designer

Pricing - MacOS £47.99/ iPad £17.99

Something of a (relatively) new kid on the block, Affinity Designer has positioned itself as a serious challenger to Illustrator - at a much cheaper, subscription free price. It's rock solid, optimised for the latest Mac tech and benefits from frequent updates.

In some areas one could argue that it's slightly 'stripped back' compared to Illustrator, but it more than makes up for that with its sheer useability. Since it's release, this app has gained a lot of traction with Pro users as highly featured workhorse.

Silky smooth to use, gimmick free, it's a top class and very well designed SVG app.



Pricing - free

Vectr is a different animal to the offerings so far. All singing and dancing it ain't, but it makes up for that with sheer ease of use. That's not to say that you can't produce very professional results - it has a wide range of functionality beneath its seemingly simple interface, and its cross platform 'live' features are very useful. The 'liveness', however, is exactly what it says -  this is an online editor, so no designing for you in a remote cabin in the Himalayas. That said, worth a try, and definitely a great place to start with SVG.



Pricing - free

Vectornator was designed for MacOS/ iOS - something that is very apparent from the app's appearance. You'll immediately be comfortable with the layout, and it really doesn't take very long to get the hang of Vectornator. As is apparent in their logo, much is made of the beautiful 'pen' tool (which on an iPad, would, of course, be your finger). Very expressive and lovely to use, the gesture controls are very well thought out.

Vectornator is also lightening fast , multi-platform and designed for collaboration. Well worth checking out.


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