Software Best Vector Graphics Software for Mac (Ranked and Reviewed)

Best Vector Graphics Software for Mac (Ranked and Reviewed)

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Top Choice

Illustrator

Runner Up

Corel Draw

Best Value

Inkscape Icon

Inkscape

Best Usage

Affinity Designer Icon

Affinity

Vector graphics software provides a different way to manipulate photos than traditional photo editing software. Instead of dragging, pulling, and resizing with sliders, however, they use mathematics and geometric vectors instead. 

It tends to be a bit more complicated than traditional photo editing software, but it does have quite a few benefits that make it worth learning. Some of the benefits include less distortion, better scaling, and smaller file sizes. 

Taking the time to learn about vector graphics software and pick one that works best for you allows for a lot more freedom in video editing. It takes some time to learn new software, but it’s beneficial to learn so you have a better way to improve your images. 

Check out this list of the Best Photo Editing Software for Mac.

What Is the Best Vector Graphics Software for Mac?

There are many positives to using vector graphics software instead of traditional image manipulation. It allows for better scalability and no loss of graphics. It also is easy to do and doesn’t take up a lot of space in terms of file size. 

Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to find the right software that does what you need it to. It’s also a little difficult to learn, meaning having the right software that is intuitive and easy to learn is very important. 

These are some of the top options for vector graphics software for Mac. If the top four that are discussed in this article aren’t quite what you’re looking for, some of the options on this list are good alternatives. 

1. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator has a wide range of uses. It is a great software for any drawing, illustrating, or making of artwork. It’s especially good for vector graphics. It’s a leading professional standard for many fields, including visual artists, illustrations, web designers, and graphic designers.

There are many features to Adobe Illustrator, but one of the best is vector graphics. However, it has other features that make it ideal for icons, logos, typography, drawings, and a variety of other complex illustrations.

The program has been around since 1987 has and undergone at least 17 versions and major updates since its creation. 

Check out this in-depth course to start learning Illustrator Today! – Link Here

Because it has been around for so long and is an industry-standard, there are hundreds of tutorials focused on the broad use of Adobe, as well as more niche purposes. If you can imagine it, there are likely some tutorials online that will help you figure out exactly what you need to do. 

Adobe Illustrator Key Features:

  • Enhancements for 3D designs
  • Wide range of tools to give you everything you need to design your artwork
  • A wide range of official and user tutorials to help you out
  • Plenty of libraries to access whatever you need

Adobe Illustrator User Experience:

For those unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator or other Adobe software, the initial use is a bit complex and overwhelming. There are a lot of features, and sometimes it’s a little difficult to use as you spend much more time trying to find the tool you’re looking for than actually working on the image or design. 

Once you start to get the hang of it, however, it’s not so bad. It allows you to make some complex designs without much of a problem and the interface is rather intuitive. It just needs some practice, and maybe a few tutorials, at the beginning. 

Adobe Illustrator Cost:

Anyone who’s worked with Adobe knows that Adobe no longer allows for single purchases of their products. Instead, users must buy a subscription, which they pay monthly. This is one of the bigger negatives with Adobe as a whole, as people aren’t super happy with the subscription-based service. 

There are two options for renting Adobe Illustrator. The first option is to just rent Adobe Illustrator. This starts at $21 a month and gives you Illustrator for the desktop and iPad, and 100GB of cloud storage. 

The other option involves renting all of the creative cloud apps. If you’re planning on using any Adobe software besides Illustrator, this is the better option as it only costs $55 a month to start and includes 100GB of storage and over 20 different software that work alongside Illustrator, such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Fresco

What We Like/Dislike About Adobe Illustrator:

Like:

  • You’re not limited to the ways you can manipulate photos
  • User-friendly interface
  • Industry-standard
  • Easy to transfer data
  • Can be used for all sorts of images and logos
  • Works perfectly with other Adobe products
  • A large number of online resources

Dislike:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Gets some bad bugs sometimes that make it difficult to use until the next update is released
  • Needs a powerful computer

Adobe Illustrator Scoring:

There are some setbacks that Adobe Illustrator could work on. For one, they’d benefit from testing out upgrades better before releasing them, as the bugs have a bad habit of slowing down work and sometimes resetting preferred settings.

However, as a whole, Adobe Illustrator is the gold standard when it comes to vector graphics. This is true for all operating systems, but especially Mac. For this reason, Adobe Illustrator gets a 9.8 rating

2. Corel Draw

It’s not easy to describe Corel Draw. It is a painting and drawing app first and foremost, but it has other features that make the product more unique. Some people describe it as being a mix of Adobe InDesign and Illustrator in the same program. However, it also has some characteristics of Photoshop. 

If you’re using the software for the first time, the program is quick to offer you help with a simple introduction and hover hints. Like Adobe, Corel Draw offers a wide library of templates and clip art. 

Despite being easier to use than Adobe Illustrator, the product isn’t lacking in features. Like Illustrator, if you can think up something you want to do, there are tools and features available to provide you with exactly what you need. 

Corel Draw Key Features:

  • Built-in collaboration features
  • Customizable brushes and lines
  • PostScript
  • QR code creation
  • PhotoCocktail lets you turn multiple photos into one design

Corel Draw User Experience:

Compared to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw is much easier to use. It also has a lot of features, but they’re much easier and more intuitive to use than even Adobe Illustrator. It does struggle a little with importing works from different programs and keeping the information accurate. 

Though it works perfectly for vector graphics, it shines for making templates. Because the software is so broad, you can do practically anything with it, including creating embroidery patterns, signs, buttons, lettering, certificates, logos, and manuals. If your team is looking at needing multiple programs to get work done, this might eliminate most of them. 

Corel Draw Cost:

There are a few options to purchase Corel Draw. Two this article will just skim over are the CorelDRAW Essentials 2021 and CorelDRAW Standard 2021. This is because, at the time of writing, these two buying options are only available on Windows. There’s no option for Mac. 

On the other hand, the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite works not only on Windows, but on the web, Mac, and even iPads. There are two ways to get access to the Graphics Suite.

The first is by subscription. The subscription costs $22.42 a month or $269 a year.

With the subscription, you get fully loaded software, instant access to updates, the option to stop paying whenever you want, ongoing support, and a variety of tools and learning software. This is also where you get access to the product on your iPad and cloud-based storage and collaboration. 

The other option is a one-time purchase. With this method, you only have to worry about one purchase. However, there are a lot of downsides. For one, you don’t get any updates.

You get the version you have, and nothing more, which means you’re likely missing out on some important features that come out down the line. You also don’t get access to the iPad app, cloud services, or a full list of features. The one-time purchase costs $549

What We Like/Dislike About Corel Draw:

Like:

  • No subscription needed
  • Auto-vectorizing feature
  • Easy to use
  • Has some vectors possible that aren’t possible in Adobe Illustrator
  • Flexible
  • Allows you to edit a document-like design

Dislike:

  • Requires some base layering knowledge
  • Not an industry standard
  • Somewhat expensive

Corel Draw Scoring:

Though this is a rather great product, there are some big downsides. The first is that this tool isn’t an industry standard. For those looking for their own personal software, this is great, but it won’t let you break into the industry.

For not being an industry standard, some people feel that the cost is a little high as well. For these reasons, we give this product a 9 out of 10

3. Inkscape

Inkscape Website

Inkscape is rather interesting. Despite being around since 2003, making it over 20 years old, the program technically isn’t released. It’s instead in pre-release mode. On Linux, version 1 is available and in Alpha, but for the rest of the users, it’s still not even that far. 

Check out this list of the Best Inkscape Tutorials.

Despite that, it’s an amazing program with everything you may want. Inkscape uses SVG (scalable vector graphic) files that are cross-platform and open formats. It works with file formats such as SVG, AI, EPS, PNG, and PDF. The best part? All of it is completely free and open source. 

Many different people come together and create and update Inkscape, keeping track of goals and projects. Inkscape is a non-profit organization that is considered to be a part of the Software Freedom Conservancy. 

Inkscape Key Features:

  • Free
  • Many similar features to Adobe Illustrator
  • Made to help create art, illustrations, diagrams, charts, and whatever else you can think of
  • 3D boxes that are adjustable in the XYZ plane
  • Any type of Bitmap image can be traced
  • Works in a layering system

Inkscape User Experience:

Honestly, even though it’s missing a few key features, you can do almost everything you do in Adobe Illustrator in Inkscape. The process is a little slow and might require you to mess around with settings a little, but it’s definitely possible. 

The program doesn’t have the speed that Adobe Illustrator offers. Any intense work causes a slowdown and sometimes temporary freezing of your computer as it struggles to work. It also doesn’t work well with many other software. Though you can technically import files, most of the time, details are lost. 

Inkscape Cost:

It’s 100 percent free to download Inkscape. Not only that, there aren’t any necessary features hidden behind a paywall. The open-source program provides everything it has for all of its users. This is a great option for people getting started or doing vector graphics in their own time for their side business. 

What We Like/Dislike About Inkscape:

Like:

  • Fully free
  • The website is actually useful and helpful
  • The path and feature placement is set up well
  • Has a lot of features that work well even for professionals, despite being free
  • Cross-platform
  • Consumes fewer resources than other software
  • Open-source

Dislike:

  • Missing a few key functions
  • Though the system is easy to use, is quite backward from Adobe Illustrator, so it’s frustrating to switch
  • Old interface
  • Limited exporting options
  • Lags sometimes
  • Usually, the Mac version is a few updates behind. 

Inkscape Scoring:

Though it has a lot to offer and this program is free, it’s not at the top of the list. This is mostly because the Mac version of this software is usually the furthest behind, and is a bit laggy and buggy because of it. Generally, Linux gets the newest updates on time, then Windows, and finally Mac. 

Because of this, Inkscape gets an 8.7 out of 10. It’s a great app to get started on, but it’s sometimes hard to keep up with demands because of the slow loading times and the software that’s a bit behind others. 

4. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer Website

Technically, the newest version of Affinity Designer is Affinity Designer 2, but it’s often just called Affinity Designer. It is a graphic design and UX software. With the software, it’s easy enough to make concept art, logos, icons, UI designs, mock-ups, and print projects with ease. 

Affinity Designer is made to be a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator. They promote the fact that they offer one-time payments instead of a subscription service and offer pretty low-cost software as a whole.

Unfortunately, while Affinity Designer has a lot to offer, Adobe Illustrator still manages to come out ahead in terms of industry standards. This is mostly due to the need for professionals to create multi-page documents and shortcuts to save time. 

Some of the core functions of Affinity Designer include vector pens, shape-drawing tools, non-destructive editing features, and text style management. 

Affinity Designer Key Features:

  • Artboards
  • Low RAM requirements
  • Vector flood fill tools
  • Junction snapping for vector warping
  • Simple and useful guides
  • Highly customizable design
  • Intense zoom

Affinity Designer User Experience:

Overall, Affinity Designer is a great vector graphics program. It’s simple to use if you haven’t worked with Adobe before. It is a bit frustrating and backward for those that are switching over from Adobe products to Affinity. The software is fast though, so you’re not waiting around for things to load. 

Some issues with Affinity Designer can make it frustrating to use at some points. However, the low cost and one-time purchase make these slight issues much easier to swallow. 

Affinity Designer Cost:

There are a couple of options for purchasing Affinity Designer. The first is the price for just the iPad version, which is a one-time payment of $20. Then, there is just the Mac or Windows version, which is a single payment of $70.

Finally, they have the option to buy the whole Affinity trio, which includes Designer, Photo, and Publisher for all platforms for a one-time payment of $170

What We Like/Dislike About Affinity Designer:

Like:

  • Competitive Pricing 
  • One-time payment system
  • ProMotion support for the newest macOS
  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Constant updates
  • Developers do incorporate and listen to the user base
  • Fast
  • More intuitive than any part of Adobe 
  • Close match to Adobe Illustrator

Dislike:

  • No tools to help make patterns
  • Doesn’t handle complex designs well
  • Missing some key features
  • Originally made with tablets in mind so it struggles with keyboard and mouse features sometimes
  • Some features don’t work quite right
  • Clunky pathfinding options

Affinity Designer Scoring:

Some of the settings are frustrating with Affinity Designer, especially if you’re used to using Adobe products.

While it can be used to do the same amount of work as Adobe Illustrator or one of the above software, it’s sometimes a frustrating and confusing process. For these reasons, Affinity Designers is rated an 8.5 out of 10

One of the main reasons is that it promotes itself as a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator. While it is great, it doesn’t shine in comparison to Adobe besides its price. Though it’s still great software, one can’t help but see the features missing in Affinity Designer compared to Adobe Illustrator. 

Best Vector Graphics Software for Mac FAQS

What Are Vector Graphics?

Vector graphics and vector art is a type of work that allows you to use mathematics and geometry to manipulate, create, and edit images. All of the lines, changes, and curves are made using a mathematical formula, instead of just dragging and dropping. 

One of the best benefits of vector graphics is that it allows you to make an image and scale it however you want. Instead of having individual pictures, the mathematical formulas allow for resizing without any distortion.

This is one of the reasons vector graphics are so popular, especially in businesses. A company can use the same logo in different sizes on its website, business cards, and store display without having to remake the image or deal with blurry designs. 

What Is the Best Vector Program for Mac?

The best vector program for Mac is Adobe Illustrator, hands down. It has a lot to offer. Once you get the hang of the system, it’s easy enough to use and there are a lot of features to make your work simple and fast compared to other software. 

Not only is it the best option for Mac devices, but for Windows programs as well. It’s fairly complex but has a lot to offer. 

How Can I Vectorize an Image for Free?

There are many free vector software options available. Most of them are of poor quality, but there are some that have quite a bit to offer. Look around online for options that best suit your needs if you must. 

Does Adobe Illustrator Have Vector Graphics?

Adobe Illustrator not only has vector graphics but is the best vector graphics software out there. It’s easy to use and lets you do a lot of editing from one singular software.

How Do I Vectorize a Logo in Illustrator

It’s pretty easy to vectorize an image or logo in Illustrator. All you have to do is pick an image. Generally, you want an image with a transparent background and somewhat low resolution saved in a JPG, GIF, or PNG file. 

Then, you will use the tool called Image Trace which does most of the work of vectorizing images for you. There are a few different options, so you’ll have topic one that fits your needs best.

After that, you just make the necessary edits and you’re good to go!

Conclusion

Depending on your specific needs, any one of these vector graphic software makes an excellent choice. While Adobe Illustrator is the best option in many categories, it isn’t perfect.

If it was there wouldn’t be so much competition. Sometimes pricing or certain features makes a big difference in which software you pick.

So don’t fret if Adobe Illustrator doesn’t fit your needs. Try out one of the other three options on the list and see if they fit your needs better.

All of these are perfect for Mac users as well, so you don’t even have to worry about double-checking that they work with MacOS before starting.