Affinity Designer and Photo | Professional Editors – Review

Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer by Serif are two less popular photo editors. Which are the differences of these programs? What do they offer and whom are they suitable for?

Affinity Designer
Illustrations: eb / ebblogs

Affinity Editors

In my post Photos from Databases I described the advantages and most of all the disadvantages of someone else’s pictures on your own website. To avoid problems regarding copyright etc. using your own images would be the better option.

No matter how good your photos are, it is not a good idea to upload them as they are. Aside from the fact that format / size might not fit your layout, the mass of of data would be too large. 2-5 MB per image slow down the loading time and will have a negative impact on the ranking of your website.
Besides it might be necessary to retouch a photo or add some graphic elements. So will need an editor like e. g. Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo.

Affinity Photo

This a classic photo editor which means that you start with one of your photos. After you dragged or uploaded it, you will find all standard tools you know from other editors.

You are working with different layers so that you can undo changes at any time without destroying the original photo or other adjustments. Editing RAW-Data is possible, too.

The surface of Affinity Photo is clean and you can access all tools easily. On the bottom of the work space you will see tipps and, in case you try something impossible, a warning notice will be displayed. So you can work your way into it relatively quick.

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer

You may also edit photos using this program. But the focus is on creating graphics. Therefore Affinity Designer has two windows . The first window provides all graphic tools incl. a vector tool, the second basic tools for photo editing.

Needless to say that you may switch between both windows as often as you like and you are working with layers, too. The layers created in the photo window will also be displayed in the design window and vice versa. You can easily change the order of layers. Additionally it is easily possible to merge multiple layers.

Example for a graphic element + sub-elements

You would like to add a text box to a background image:
 First you create a rectangle, text and e. g. an icon. Then you drag the text and the icon in the right position. If you want to move or scale the box afterwards, you will have to move and adjust each sub-element, too.

But if you dragged the text and the icon into the rectangle in the layer section before, you would be able to move and scale only the rectangle layer and the sub-elements would stay in place and would be adjusted automatically.

Besides the basic graphic elements, Affinity offers some more add-ons like additional textures, fonts … (for purchase, but there are some campaigns to get them for free).


Another great feature of Affinity Designer are assets. Beside some pre-installed Apple icons, you can save your own elements.
So you create your logo or another element you frequently use once and drag it into the assets sidebar. The next time you want to add your logo to an image, you just drag it from the sidebar into the image. You do not have to upload it or make a new one. Plus this asset is raw which means that you can easily adjust its size and/or color, add a new part or delete a part of it and still have got the original asset. This kind of redesign is very limited when you use an image you have once saved / exported.

Creating graphics

If you start from scratch, you set the size of your future graphic and decide what you will use it for: Printing, Photo, Web or Device.
Following this the format will be adjusted to the designated use and you do not have to calculate anything. Of course, you may also set your own scale.

Saving / Exporting

Your photo or graphic can be exported as PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, PDF, SVG, EPS, EXR or HDR. Depending on the format and use you will adjust the quality. Regarding JPEGs 50% to 70% are usually sufficient for websites.
So the exported image will be ready for uploading to your website without any further compression.

Links und Charge

Photo / Designer for Mac € 54,99 each. Photo for iPad € 21,99. For Windows you will find the download link on the Affinity websites.

Photo » App Store | Mac

Designer » App Store | Mac

» App Store | Photo-iPad Pro

» App Store | Designer-iPad Pro


Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are two professional editors that do not have to hide behind the established ones. Who like me has never got used to Photoshop and has not been satisfied with online editors, should take a closer look at Affinity.
They are built more intuitive and you will manage it a lot faster than when using Photoshop.

While you must dig deep into your purse to buy Photoshop, at least for the professional version, you will pay considerably less for Affinity and will still get professional results. So these programs are also affordable for smaller projects and definitely worth their price. I am also impressed by Affinity Photo for iPads which, in my opinion, is the first real Photo editor app for creative working and is not more or less based on predefined masks.

Which of the two you will need depends mainly on your focus. If you have got a photography blog and post high-quality photos incl. only minor graphic elements like short texts, Affinity Photo is the editor of choice.
To create graphics, logos, icons etc. you will need the Designer. While some standard photo editing tools are included in the the Designer, creating professional graphics is not really possible using the photo editor.

Con: On rare occasions the editors used to shut down. Perhaps just because two entries at about the same time blocked each other. But it had been easy to recover it and at most the latest entry had not been lost. Since the latest update in November 2017, it has got some improvements also with regard to the stability.

For future updates, please see the German version of this post.

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