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Procreate or Affinity Designer: Which One is Better?

In this post I’m going to answer one of the most common questions I get from both beginner and experienced artists: Which app is better, Procreate or Affinity Designer?  This is a difficult question to answer because there are very different uses for the two apps so which one is “best” depends on what kind of art you want to create.

Below I’ll share my thoughts on both apps, and help you make a decision about which one is right for your process and goals.  I’ll be breaking the considerations into sections so you can jump right to the ones that pertain to your work.

Let’s dive right into it!

Realistic Brushes

Do you like digital artwork that has a realistic feel like watercolor, gouache, or acrylic paint?

Winner: Procreate

Procreate is well-known for its ability to help you create a realistic feel, so you won’t be disappointed if your goal is to create art that mimics real materials.  Affinity Designer is not ideal for realistic work, so you can stick with Procreate when creating artwork with a “real art” feel.

Scaling Work

Do you make art that needs to be scaled up to a large size like for example: blankets, sheets, sticker murals, wallpaper, signs, or other large stuff?

Winner: Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer allows you to work with vectors, which are shapes that can be scaled up or down infinitely to literally any size.  So if big products are part of your vision for your work, it’s a good idea to understand how to use this app.

For example, I knew I wanted this tiger pattern to be available for sale on wallpaper, so I created it in Affinity Designer using vectors to be sure it was easy to scale up for large sizes.

You can learn more about vectors on this post in case you’re not sure what I mean:

Hand Lettering

Do you want to create hand lettering with textures, guides, and a life-like feel?

Winner: Procreate

Procreate has so many amazing tools for hand letterers like built-in lettering guides, the ability to make custom lettering brushes, and a life-like drawing feel.  You could do lettering in Affinity, but it would likely be a vectorized, clean and crisp style rather than textured or varied lettering.  My lettering style is loose and has a “vintage advertisement feel” so having this life-like appearance is a must for my lettering.

Pattern Design with a Preview

Do you want to improve your repeat pattern making process in both speed and efficiency?

Winner: Affinity Designer

If you’ve ever made a repeat pattern before you know how often you have to check the overall “look” of your repeat as you build it.  That is why Affinity is such a game changer for pattern designers.  You can see a live pattern preview of your repeat as you build it, so you never have to waste time exporting your repeat block.

Animations

Do you want to add some animated elements to your artwork?

Winner: Procreate

Affinity Designer doesn’t have an animation feature, so this is an easy win!  Procreate has a built-in, simple animation tool that makes it easy to add visual interest to your artwork.  I use it all the time to create social media posts and pins that draw much more attention than the standard image post!

Procreate also just came out with an animation app for anyone who wants to do in-depth animations, so check that out if you think animation will be part of your creative style.

Geometric Art and Pattern Layouts

Do you like to make art that is based on geometric shapes or build pattern layouts from geometric shapes?

Winner: Affinity Designer

Affinity has multiple tools that make it easier to work with geometric shapes compared to Procreate, like pixel-perfect move tools, geometric shape building tools, and snapping tools that snap perfectly into geometric configurations.  It is my go-to app for building pattern layouts!

The Bottom Line

Both apps are incredible in terms of the features and design styles they make possible, BUT they have very different features.  Personally, I use both almost daily so I couldn’t imagine a world with only one.  

Here is how my thought process works when I’m deciding what to use:

Am I making a pattern? -> If yes, I open Affinity.

Am I doing some lettering? -> If yes, I open Procreate.

Am I doing geometric work or building a pattern layout? -> If yes, I open Affinity.

Am I drawing a greeting card with texture and a realistic feel? -> If yes, I open Procreate.

Have you tried both apps?

I have free mini-courses for both Affinity Designer and Procreate, so if you’re having trouble making a decision, check those out to see how they work!

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