Many Mac users are creative types, who often work as graphic or web designers. These people may have worked for a business that can afford premier graphic illustration software, such as Adobe’s Illustrator. If you are one of these people, I envy you.
Many other Mac users are hobbyists, who also love to create, but might be unable to afford the premier tools. This is the category in which I find myself.
Recently, I’ve needed to use .AI template files to create some simple pieces, such as a book cover and business cards. The budget didn’t allow for hiring a designer, much less for buying Adobe Illustrator. I thought of options, and I thought of looking for open source solutions.
Thanks to the open source community, Mac users with limited budgets have a great, free alternative to Illustrator. That alternative is Inkscape, a vector-based design tool that has many of the same features. I can’t say that it is as nice to use as the premier software, but you will be able to create and edit vector graphics.
The interface struck me as a bit clunky at times, and some functions aren’t as intuitive as I remember Illustrator to be. In all fairness though, Inkscape may seem less intuitive because I’d been more familiar with the other product.
Inkscape is quite robust. It seems to have the basic vector graphic functions covered. It also offers a selection of filters from simple blurs to lizard skin. You can also embed bitmap graphics, such as JPEGs. This is very convenient when you need to include a photograph into your project.