It’s important to have competent applications to perform the tasks required in a creative environment. Whether you are creating a brand, designing a layout, or coding a fully bespoke website, you aren’t limited in software options to aid you, but it can be difficult to find the few that are right for you.
This market has primarily been dominated by Adobe, who offer a great range of tools which had accommodated our needs for many years. However, in recent years we’ve explored some of the newer alternatives, some of which have become permanent replacements.
Below is a comprehensive list of fantastic applications which will leave you Adobe free and with minimal one off costs.
Approx. £64 ($99)
(alternative to Illustrator £17.15/mo on CC)
Traditionally all our web layouts were created using Photoshop with the aid of Illustrator for the majority of additional elements. What I discovered in Sketch gives all you need from both in one environment.
Sketch is a vector based UI design tool which also offers editing capabilities. Alongside this, you are given the ability to design off pre made responsive ready templates, text and layer styles for ease of continuity, quick slicing and easy exporting of single items or multiple layers (which supports PDF, SVG and EPS), pages for organisation, presentation mode, vector symbol creation to speed up jobs, and has support to import Illustrator files.
(alternative to Photoshop - £8.57/mo on CC)
Affinity photo has only been commercially available since July, but I was very eager to try Serif’s new application when I heard about it. With a recognisable interface it is easy to pick up for experienced Photoshop users and offers all the attributes of Photoshop I use, plus more, with higher flexibility. With full .PSD support, separate personas for unintrusive editing, great editing tools and SVG support it’s a very powerful alternative.
Serif also have Affinity Designer for vector illustration and Affinity Publisher for publication layouts (Due for release 2016), which have been praised as great alternatives to Illustrator and InDesign and I look forward to trying out soon.
Approx. £46 ($70)
(alternative to Dreamweaver £17.15/mo on CC)
A source code editor which is extremely fast, has brilliant language support, a clean interface (which is very flexible) and has expected features such autocompletion and syntax highlighting. These basic attributes gave Sublime a welcome with open arms but coupled with its Package manager and ability for third party packages, such as Emmett, SFTP, and Bracket highlighter have made it easy for me to rate this as the best editor I’ve ever used.
All in all to say the Adobe suite is now a useless throwaway would be entirely wrong. We still use some Adobe tools such as After Effects, and some sectors in this industry will still require all that the Adobe suite has to offer. The CC features and updates Adobe have added are fantastic and show they are adapting and progressing to create great tools for designers. With some solid competition it can only mean the future has some great things are in store for us.