Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape

Brand new and trying to understand if paying for adobe illustrator is worth the money, or if I should go with a free option like Inkscape? Is there a big difference?

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Welcome to the forum.
There is a big difference in the cost. I suggest getting Inkscape because the price is right, and if you find that you aren’t able to accomplish everything you want to with it, you can always advance to Illustrator. Inkscape is plenty powerful enough for most people.


Thank you for the good advice. I think I will follow it :wink:


I would add that the learning curve with inkscape is a bit steeper than with illustrator, but always go with the free option first. Nothing to lose there. :slight_smile:


I’ve tried all the vector art programs and Inkscape is definitely best for the money. It kinda amazes me how much this free program will do.


There is very little Illustrator can do that Inkscape can’t, and it’s mostly around color handling for professional color graphics like brochures and such. Certainly nothing related to 2D design for the laser.

They are, however, different. Some people prefer Windows, some prefer Mac.

Many professional graphics designers with access to Illustrator still choose Inkscape. That doesn’t make it better, or worse. Just comes down to personal preference.

If the interface suits you, the price can’t be beat, as stated.


If you’re not already an Adobe user, go with the no-cost solution.

You have to learn whichever software you choose and you’ll have a lot of help on the forum no matter which way you go.

The best software is the one you know that produces the results you want.


Yes but as you’re just starting out and would have to learn either then Inkscape or Affinity Designer will be happier on your wallet. If you feel like you need more you can always graduate to Illustrator later (and there’s a 30 day free trial if you’re not sure)

As a decades long AI/Adobe Suite user and reader of this forum since the early days I have this observation: many of the processes and work arounds that get discussed for Inkscape are much easier and faster to accomplish in AI. Since I don’t use Inkscape at all I don’t know of this is just user preference or limitations of the program. (There are at least 10 ways to do anything in Adobe products, so there’s complex ways to do things on AI as well). There are a few things that Inkscape does that AI doesn’t like the living hinge extension.

I believe this is patently false.

But this is likely true, though again, to me it seems like a clunkier solution than AI.


A nice benefit to Inkscape is that Glowforge has written several tutorials that show you how to use it to make laser designs:


I’m an Inkscape fan. The only thing I don’t like is the small icons on a notebook computer. But it is powerful and more than adequate and there are lots of tutorials available. And it’s free. It does everything I need. I use Onshape for more complex 3D projects. The extensions do a great job. The tracing is just fine, if you have a good file to work with. I’d help if you if you have any question or problems.


For what you need to do on the GF, Inkscape should be fine. I use illustrator because I’ve been working in it for 25 years and already had a license before getting my GF.

Is it more powerful than Inkscape? Sure. But much of that isn’t necessary for GF design and if it is, as a beginner, you probably wouldn’t be able to tackle those features for a while, anyway.


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