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Affinity vs. Adobe

Adobe's toughest competitor, Affinity. Check out their history and how they stack up in the global market.


When editing photos, creating logos or laying out brochures, many people first think of Adobe software products. Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator have always been a part of the standard equipment of every creative profession in the field of digital media. Adobe is the global market leader with a market share of about 90% of users in the creative sector.

However, is Adobe's current supremacy justified in terms of pricing and features included in their products? These are the questions we will try to answer. There happens to be a British company that is giving the creative protagonists from the USA a run for their money.

We will look at the background of the market leader Adobe and its current strongest competitor Affinity Serif and take a closer look at the publicly available facts and figures in order to get an all-encompassing overview.

Product range of Adobe (left) and Affinity.(right)

It all started in 1982, when Adobe was founded. They launched its first software only five years later in 1987; Adobe Illustrator. Photoshop and InDesign followed in 1990 and 1999, respectively. Adobe now offers more than 20 desktop programs in its Creative Cloud for paid use. These have been downloaded more than 376 million times worldwide. Adobe currently employs around 22,000 people and generated revenues of 10.82 € billion in 2020.

Affinity Serif was also founded in the 1980s. Specifically in 1987, the year Adobe launched their first software. At that time, the employees of Affinity developed simple and inexpensive software solutions for creative use on Windows operating systems. In 2009, it was decided to throw the old code out and write a completely new system for modern development. This took a total of 5 years and in 2014 Affinity Designer was launched. The equivalent of the well-known Adobe InDesign. A year later, Affinity Photo appeared and in June 2019, the last software to date, Affinity Publisher. Affinity Serif generated annual revenue of about 16.2 € million in 2018 and currently employs 85 people at its headquarters in the UK.

Adobe offers its customers a significantly larger product range compared to Affinity. However, with Adobe you are forced to choose either one software or the entire Creative Cloud. Adobe Photoshop is billed at 23.79 € per month. The user receives complete access to all products for a monthly fee of only 59.49 €. Most users probably don't use many of the programs that they ultimately pay for, or use them very rarely. Affinity is accommodating to the user in this respect and offers its software for a one-time price of 54.99 € for permanent use. This makes for all three programs together a one-time price of 164.97 €. If you acquire the products of Affinity in the discount period of 50% you have the chance to acquire all 3 products for 83,97 €. Add up the costs of the entire Adobe Creative Cloud, because it would not make sense to purchase each of the three software individually, you come to an annual amount of 713.88 €. For most graphic designers this should be a simple calculation. Functionally Affinity can keep up with Adobe very well. Let's look at the individual products in detail.

Affinity listens carefully to the opinions of its users and is very interested in providing a simple forum. If users have problems using the software or have identified bugs they can simply reach out in the forums. Not that Adobe doesn't offer that as well. Affinity however, simply offers a more user-friendly platform and is proactive when it comes to troubleshooting or providing a better working experience.

Example how you can give feedback to Affinity.
Example how you can give feedback to Adobe.

All three software from Affinity are equivalent to each other. That is, if you can work with one, you can work with the others. They are built in such a way that the principle of working with all of Affinity's products is always the same. With Adobe, the interfaces are not as strictly aligned.

Affinity Serif has been awarded "Best App of the Year" several times and won the "Apple Design Award" in 2015. Adobe last won it in 1997.

The bottom line is, unlike Adobe, Affinity is much more affordable with the same level of performance. Both providers have managed to develop a very professional software for designers, with which quality designs can be created. Especially for newcomers in the design field, Affinity is an alternative option to Adobe. For those who are interested in Affinity, they offer a 30-day trial.

World of Design