Why Gravit Designer is a great Adobe Illustrator alternative

If you work in some visual field like illustration, UI design, print design or even web development, it is almost sure that you use or already used Adobe Illustrator at some point. However, the monthly fee and the extensive learning curve can be quite intimidating.

Guess who comes in as an alternative? Well, Gravit Designer, of course!

Both Gravit Designer and Adobe Illustrator are full-featured vector design apps, and on this article we are going to take a closer look at Gravit Designer’s and Illustrator’s similarities, differences, and why you can see Gravit as your main graphic design tool.

Preset file sizes

As you open Gravit Designer, you’re presented with a great deal of preset file options as Print, Social Medias and Mobile, much like Illustrator’s opening screen. From the Welcome Screen you can also create an Infinite sized canvas, find pre-made templates on “New From Template” and access your Gravit Cloud files.

Gravit Designer’s Welcome Screen.

User Interface

Just as Illustrator, Gravit Designer has a clean user interface, with the main tools positioned on the top bar and other features like colors, layers and page settings on the panels on the right and left. The canvas area is located in the middle.

UI with the dark theme.

Gravit has context-sensitive panels that aid you when it comes to avoid making your work-space crammed, and offers both a dark and a light theme. Plus, it’s a hella intuitive interface! The tools and menus are all displayed very clearly, and even though Gravit also has its hidden gems, learning how to use it all takes little effort.

Light theme option.

Also, of course, universal shortcuts (here’s a cheat-sheet, by the way).

Drawing Tools

The tools used to create paths in Gravit Designer are located on the toolbar. They are the Pen Tool, the Bezigon and the Freehand Tool.

The Pen Tool is what you might know already: create anchor-points, drag to create a curve, alter the anchor points and close the path to create a new shape. You can check our Pen Tool tutorial on Gravit’s You Tube channel if you like.

The Pen Tool in action.

The Bezigon is similar to the Pen Tool, but with this one you can create geometrically perfect curves by pressing Alt while drawing the highest point of the curve.

Using the Bezigon to create perfect curves.

And the Freehand Tool allows you to draw freeform paths, as the name indicates. As you click and drag the mouse pointer as if it were a pen on a paper, the anchor points are created automatically and you can edit each one with the Subselect Tool, same as with paths created with the Pen and Bezigon.

Using the Freehand Tool to create freeform lines.

We also have a tutorial for the Bezigon and Freehand tools available on our You Tube channel.

Layers

On Gravit Designer, each object added to the canvas is represented as an item on the Layers panel. This panel is positioned on the left, making it very easy to visualise and organise all objects on your file. On the Layers panel you can change the stacking order of layers, delete, add, lock, hide elements, create new layer groups and much more! Even a clipping mask can be created through the Layers panel.

The Layers panel.

Preset Shapes

Gravit Designer has a set of shapes ready to be used to kickstart your work: Line, Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, Triangle and Star shapes. Each shape has its hidden powers and opens its own options on the Inspector Panel (that’ the name of the panel on the right) when selected.

Gravit’s preset shapes.

The Polygon, Triangle, and Star shape have extra-special options on the Inspector Panel to add more points, create roundness and many more possibilities of shape building.

The advanced controls for the Star shape on the Inspector panel.

Boolean operations

Boolean operations are one of the many ways (and one of the most effective) to build new shapes. Two or more shapes will interact to produce a new one, which is called a Compound Shape. Gravit Designer has four operations: Union, Subtract, Intersection and Difference.

Boolean Operations in action.

The resulting shape is non-destructive, which means it is fully editable and can be reversed to the original shapes at any time. You can check the tutorial on this one too.

Import and Export of multiple file formats

Gravit Designer supports a number of vector and raster file formats. Vectors can be brought as SVG files (.svg), EPS files (.eps), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), PDF files (.pdf) and Sketch files until version 49 (.sketch). Raster images can be imported as PNG files (.png) and JPEG files (.jpeg). Gravit files are saved on your computer as it’s own format (.gvdesign).

When you’re ready to share your work, all files can be exported as SVG (.svg), PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png) and JPEG (.jpeg). Gravit Designer Pro has an Advanced Export dialog with a number of great options.

The Advanced Export dialog.

…and much more!

The similarities don’t end here, of course. Gravit Designer still has many classic features in common with AI (and with other vector applications) like thorough text editing, symbols, shared styles, blending modes, text on path, path operations, swatches and so many more great features.

Some advantages

No, we don’t really mean to brag here, but Gravit does have some advantages to Illustrator.

First and foremost, you can use it for free. Gravit Designer does have a Pro version too (which is annual and not monthly, by the way) but there’s also the Free version, which is still very complete and can cover all your needs to design.

Gravit is also a very lightweight application to be installed, but can also be used exclusively on the browser if you prefer. It is a truly multi-platform app available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and ChromeOS. Gravit Designer also has it’s own Cloud storage, and it counts with multiple Fills and multiple Effects being applied to the same element.

Still need some convincing?

I have followed the step-by-step taught in this tutorial created by Nathaniel from Tutvid, except that his tutorial was created with Illustrator. I recreated the same art, adapting to the tools from Gravit Designer.

The result? Check the video for yourself!

Even though not all tools and features are the same, it is possible to adapt and achieve the exact same result with no difficulties.

I hope this article was helpful on your decision. We know that one app can’t substitute the other, but hopefully with this article you can see Gravit Designer as a perfect option to use for your creations. Why not give it a try?

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Claudia Driemeyer

Claudia Driemeyer

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