Vectornator

Editor’s note: We partnered up with the team of Vectornator and to showcase their new app version in this sponsored review.

Touted as the design tool of the future, Vectornator 4.0 is the latest installment of the popular free graphic design application for macOS and iPad. This new version underscores the commitment of the team behind Vectornator to perfect their product and offer graphic designers the best app a designer can have. 

Recently, we had the opportunity of using Vectornator 4.0 to get a feel of the application and share our experience. 

If you’re in the market for a free illustrator alternative or reliable graphic design app, you should read this review. 

This article will highlight and review the major changes in the Vectornator 4.0 while sharing some impressions of the new features.

About Vectornator

For those who don’t know, Vectornator is a powerful vector design platform that allows you to create beautiful illustrations, amazing layouts, and sophisticated user interface designs. It was launched in 2017 as a pioneering professional graphic design software on iPad, but one designed with simplicity and usability in mind.

It’s a platform made by creatives (the team at Linearity), for creatives, and its intuitive interface and sleek design make design and illustration work seamless. 

Features of Vectornator 4.0

Let’s have a look at all the fresh new features of the latest update!

Home Screen transformed: In Vectornator 4.0, the improvements start from the home screen. When you open the application, you will be greeted by a redesigned home screen.

The new home screen has a “News and recent documents” tab on the top-left. The rest of the screen is populated with recently edited documents in a smaller size. 

Reimagined Design Interface: If you’ve used Vectorator on Mac before, you’ll notice the changes to the design interface immediately you open the app. The entire interface has been reimagined and designed to follow the native macOS design pattern. 

Now, Vectornator feels more like a native Mac application than ever before. The icons and buttons have the characteristic MacOS feel. So you will recognize the buttons and know their functions without a second thought.

Your layers are now on the right side of the screen, making it easy to lock and unlock the layer you are working on. 

Improved brush editor: In the latest version of Vectornator, the brush tools’ performance and responsiveness were enhanced significantly. The brush tool is pressure sensitive. 

When you press your pen gently, the brush will create thin lines. When you press hard, the brush will produce think lines. This function makes drawing lifelike and the finished work interesting. 

Note: This function is only available on Apple touch screen devices, iPad. Also, you can use the pressure-sensitive brush if you have a Wacom pad – Bamboo slate or Bamboo folio.

More Icons (SF symbols): The Vectornator 4.0 comes with a boatload of icons, essentially the entire SF symbols for Apple.

SF symbols are designed to integrate seamlessly with Apple’s system font, San Francisco. You can access over 2,000 free-to-use SF symbols inside Vectornator.

The SF library is on the top-right, next to the iconator. Simply click on the icon to reveal the preinstalled SF symbols and make a selection.

UI designers will find the SF symbols in Vectornator useful. With icons, you can create mockups to depict the information structure and demonstrate the basic functionalities of a product. 

Emoji: It seems the people at Vectornator realized that humans have become fluent in Emoji communication. That explains why the Vectornator 4.0 is equipped with Emojis to expand designers’ communication tools.

Emojis are natively supported in the app. You can access the emoji by clicking on the type tool and searching for emojis that express the emotion you want to show. 

Intuitive Quick Action menu: This is one of the best additions to Vectornator 4.0. The app provides an intuitive, quick action menu that appears right under your selected objects.

Depending on the selected object, the quick actions menu can include; boolean operations, stack order, changing opacity, and more. 

The quick action menu options are dynamic and context-sensitive; they change to suit the object selected. So you the most vital tools will always be within reach. 

In addition to the floating quick actions menu, there’s a quick actions bar on the left-hand side of your design screen. The quick action bar host various functions; including, the Text field, Autotrace, selection tool, eraser, paintbrush, and more.

You can make changes to your image or object with quick actions on the go without search layers and layers of setting for a specific function. 

However, if you find the quick action menu unnecessary, you can turn it off and on via quick settings.

Settings and Quick Settings: Compared to the previous version, the settings tab was reorganized in Vectornator 4.0. Now, the setting is divided into document-specific settings and global settings. This way, you can easily access the setting you need during the edit or general app modification.

The toolbar is the new home of the settings button, a traditional Mac arrangement. Also, you can access the preference windows by pressing “command and +.” 

There are several functions on the preference window, and you can activate or deactivate them by moving the toggle.

User Experience

For me, Vectornator is a complete tool for the modern designer. You can create vector images, design a banner, develop UI mockups or edit an image with Vectornator. 

The frosted glass design gives the app a very sleek modern look. With the whole interface blending into the background, there’s a wonderful sense of depth and immersion. Everything floats on your canvas creating the feeling of freedom and focus on your creations unmatched by any other design tool on the market today.

Why Vectornator should be your preferred graphic design app

Free-to-use: I cannot get over the fact that Vectornator is free to use. The application packs all the features you need to create vectors, User Interfaces, graphics, logos, and more for free. 

Compared to other free vector and graphic design applications, Vectornator is a steal. Vectornator beats other apps in the free-to-use vector design software and rivals premium products like Affinity designer. 

Easy to use: Without question, Vectornator is one of the easiest apps to use as a newbie. Now, you don’t have to search layers and layers of features to find the function you need to manipulate an image. The smart contextual quick action menus and quick action tab make it easy to perform actions on images. 

Neatly stacked features: Vectornator 4.0’s layout is an upgrade to the previous version. The makers of the application seem to have utilized user feedback in designing and stacking the features. Frequently used functions are right in front, while the other functions can be found easily without moving the cursor everywhere. 

Figma integration: Vectornator allows product designers to import Figma designs into the app. Already, product designers can create user-flow wireframes with Vectornator. 

Vectornator integrations:

  • Compatible with Adobe Illustrator and Creative Cloud
  • Supports a wide range of import and export options AI*, PDF*, SVG, PNG, JPG, and individual layer export.
  • Supports iCloud Sync, drag and drop file workflow, keyboard shortcuts, split view, and custom fonts.
  • Optimized for iPad Pro and Apple pencil.
  • Supports digital input devices like Apple Pencil, Adonit Pixel Stylus, Bamboo
  • Stylus, Bamboo Slate, and Bamboo Folio.
  • Gives users seamless access to royalty-free images with in-app Unsplash integration.
  • Contains a library of over 80k royalty-free icons users can use in their designs.

Lightweight: Graphic and vector design apps are notorious for hogging system resources. In the case of Vectornator, I did not notice a significant change (if any) in the performance of my Mac while running the app. 

However, the impact of an app on your system’s performance depends on the host laptop’s capacity.

Cons

No tooltips for quick action buttons: Yes, Vectornator is easy to use, but there’s room for improvement. Although I am not a stranger to photo editing and vector design apps, I still noticed that the quick action buttons and other functions in Vectonator did not offer tooltips. 

This can be a problem for users who are starting their design journey with Vectornator. These individuals may be unable to perform simple edits without watching a tutorial on how to use Vectornator. Quick tips help users to learn and utilize a function on the go. 

If you already work in a photo-editing environment or know how to create vectors, edit images on Vectornator, this isn’t a problem for you. 

Download and installation

Using Vectornator starts with installing the application. Before anything, check the version of your macOS to ensure that you meet the requirement to install Vectornator 4.0.

Visit the Apple store to download the application or click this link.

Conclusion 

Whether you’re looking for a free Adobe Illustrator alternative or need a powerful, easy-to-use vector design software, Vectornator 4.0 will meet your needs. 

Vectornator is a great software for designers of all skill levels. If you’ve been overwhelmed by vector software in the past, Vectornator is an excellent place to start.

There is no upfront cost to using the app. And it is expected to remain free for the foreseeable future. 

For me, Vectornator is a gift begging to be used. You can edit images, create vectors, design user interfaces and perform other creative design functions with the application.

As it turns, Vectornator is a gift that keeps on giving. The parent company, Linearity, is running a giveaway to celebrate and promote the launch of Vectornator 4.0. If you’re reading this article before May 4, you can still enter the competition.

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