Here’s a little know secret. I’m old. I trace my Mac roots back to near the beginning, and my computer use and command line interface experience to many years before that. My personal website is Bohemian Boomer. That’s a clue.
I’m sufficiently, uh,
old experienced that I remember MacDraw, one of the first vector-based drawing apps for the Mac, circa 1984. It was buggy as hell but it did what no other Mac app could do. Vector drawing. Today is different.
Expensive, Meet Free
The first MacDraw I used was a beta, which, back in the day actually meant beta, whereas today beta means version 1.0. Perhaps the most used and memorable vector-based drawing tool in the 21st century is Adobe’s Illustrator (though my Mac still has a usable version of Fireworks), which you pay for by the month. Forever.
What if you can’t afford monthly payments forever? Alternatives abound for Mac users, including a new favorite for me, Acorn, often billed as the Photoshop for the rest of us, but there are others. Even Photoshop has some vector tools.
Give a hearty welcome to Gravit Designer. It’s a cross-platform, vector-based design tool that may be all you need, and certainly is a better way to learn Mac design apps than sending your rent money to Adobe.
Does this look familiar?
Sure it looks familiar. It could be Photoshop or Illustrator or Affinity Designer or any one of a number of Mac or cross-platform vector-based design apps. Gravit Designer is free and packed with features that make it competitive with other solutions.
- Complete SVG editing tool that will blow your mind with unmatched precision, making it an excellent tool for UI design with non-destructive booleans, knife tool, and path graphs.
- Quick prototype using styles, symbols, anchors, pages and master pages.
- Mix vectors with multiple filters, stack and arrange them in the way you want. Gravit is the first vector tool that allows adding multiple indestructible effects and blending modes, applying it to an entire shape or just a part of it. Choose from more than 40 effects presets and 28 blending modes.
- Apply multiple fills and borders to any object, and create effects that you have never seen before with the screen, noise, and pattern-fill modes.
All the basics you need are a click away. Precise controls by pixel, cm, or mm. Pages and layers. Fills, borders, effects, and blends– together, no less. There’s even a text engine to put fonts on a path, use web fonts, change styles– pretty much all you’d expect.
Did I mention vector tools? Booleans, knife tool for cuts, path graphs, and all non-destructive. Professional level vector apps have grids, anchors, auto-layouts, and options for Sketch import, plenty of design templates and transformations, and, of course– exports. SVGs PDF, slices, and much more.
Mac users rejoice because you get a standalone version. Linux comes in a Snap Package. Gravit Designer is also available for Chrome OS, and there’s a browser version and an online version. What can you do with Gravit Designer for free?
For what it’s worth, there isn’t much to not like. It’s not Photoshop or Illustrator. It isn’t as feature complete as Affinity Designer, and not even as capable as Acorn, but it is a remarkable tool considering the easy user interface and the price tag. That makes it perfect for the budget-minded designer who needs an easy way to get into vector designs, but I worry about the business model.