Moving to Affinity Designer Month Two: App Wars

A change from the usual as I'm all fired up about the broader design app world.

It’s been a hectic few weeks here but all good.

I had the pleasure actually meeting the lads from Serif; the creators of the Affinity products last week. They came over to my place here in Spain and shot me ranting and raving about Affinity, my work and where design apps fit into designer’s lives in general.


It was great. Not just to talk in English for a while but to get a better sense of Affinity’s creators, their background and ethos.

The Serif lads themselves both sort of sum up the apps they create: friendly, no nonsense and decidedly rock n’ roll!

So expect to see me doing a “Cribs” sometime soon. I also created a juicy set of process videos which I will expand on after they release them.

Here’s a preview of me being a proper arsehole anyway.


It was odd trying to verbalise all the thoughts I’ve had since getting into Affinity but one useful thing I recall was along the lines of “If you’re switching to Affinity don’t worry about a learning already know this created this app...and you already have a bunch of source files...just start opening all your .psds and .ai’s in Affinity and move on”

So besides the visit the other big event during the past two weeks was me and Abban creating and completing a game for Wizard Jam (I also went for baby scans and learned we are having a boy but let’s get our priorities right!)

Check it out here...we both learned loads. Abban did all the heavy lifting though. Maybe this is the first game made entirely in Affinity Designer? Who knows. Definitely the first game made by two Irish dopes in separate countries who work listening to John Carpenter soundtracks.

Anyway, besides the bromance with the new apps from a hands on perspective, the business and market penetration (tee hee!) side is equally fascinating to me.

What is the order of battle right now? What does the future hold?

Let’s take a look at the ever changing design app battlefield. I will come back to review stats every 3 months because I see the figures below as a baseline to compare growth against. Affinity Designer has just hit Windows and the iPad version is out soon.

And maybe through this we’ll also answer the question on everybody’s lips:

Why the **** does Adobe Illustrator still exist and why am I paying for it?


This is a global view of search trends of leading ‘vector editing’ apps over 5 years.


Check out Corel Draw in Russia! Yikes. This blew me away! I think there’s a whole sub-series of posts in me about my relationship with Corel Draw but that volume is not what you expected right? I can see Putin designing terrible logos in it for sure.

Lets add Creative Cloud. No huge surprises.


Removing Adobe. “Sketch App” which may skew things as it is a generic term but vewwy interesting nonetheless.


And looking at photo editing apps we see on odd trend...Photoshop is in decline but the apps are not trending upwards. So what are people using? My guess is that people now take and edit all their photos on their need to even consider another app.



The massive skew in this data is that we’re seeing only Trend’s search volume results while 60%+ of app sales are are from discovery in or directly searching app stores. Affinity Designer has been on the homepage of the Appstore for 3 months straight. Even in Corel loving Russia it has been in top 20 design apps for the past year (in UK, USA, Germany,Japan etc it’s in the top 3 for that time period)


I suppose the next thing to figure out is how pro designers think and search vs the general public or casual consumer. The lines are blurred because 10 years ago your grandparents never knew what a pixel was or the phrase ‘Photoshop it’.

The big shakes I’m hearing now is “Sketch vs Affinity vs Adobe” so maybe these will be the “Big Three” in the coming battle.

Interesting times!


Bob @clamnuts

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