Can Adobe XD Really Replace Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is pricey, so some have elected to replace their subscription to the program with a subscription to the lower-priced, web-based Adobe XD. If you do professional graphic design, you know how important it is to work with the correct program. If you’re considering switching, you may be wondering if Adobe XD can really replace Illustrator.

You can replace Adobe Illustrator with Adobe XD, but it’s only recommended if you do web development work or are a beginner in the graphic design world. Adobe XD is great for prototyping, but does not offer nearly as many drawing and design tools as Illustrator.

Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about how Adobe XD compares to Adobe Illustrator. Keep reading before you make the switch!

Can Adobe XD Replace Illustrator?

While Adobe Illustrator is specifically meant for graphic design, Adobe XD is more geared toward web design and prototyping. While it doesn’t offer all the advanced drawing tools that Illustrator does, you can still use Adobe XD for simple icon or graphic creation.

Whether or not XD can completely replace Illustrator will depend on your level of experience and preferences when it comes to graphic design. It’s much simpler than Illustrator, so it’s easier for beginners. However, with this simplicity comes fewer features. 

Generally, Adobe XD is sufficient for creating simple icons and other designs. Illustrator, on the other hand, lets you create all of the following types of designs and more:

  • Logos
  • Icons
  • Sketches
  • Typography

If you’re looking for a program that will allow you to create the best web design elements, or if you’re a beginner in the graphic design world, Adobe XD is an excellent, and more affordable, alternative to Illustrator. However, if you’re an experienced or professional graphic designer, you’ll probably enjoy working in Adobe Illustrator more than Adobe XD.

What Is Adobe XD?

Adobe XD is most efficient for web and application design purposes. While Adobe Illustrator is mainly geared toward graphic designers who want to create digital drawings, icons, and other designs, Adobe XD is geared toward businesses who want to design complex layouts and layout components.

XD’s controls are very similar to those of other Adobe software, such as Illustrator and Photoshop. So, if you’re familiar with one Adobe program, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting comfortable with this one.

This vector-based UX/UI tool gives you access to advanced editing tools that allow you to create things like:

  • Prototypes
  • Mockups
  • Animations
  • Digital designs

Now, let’s see the features of this program.

Features of Adobe XD

Because Adobe XD is specifically made for web designers, you won’t find as many drawing tools as you will on Illustrator.

Some of the drawing features you will find include:

  • Auto-trace
  • Masking
  • Resizing
  • Paint support

What are the advantages of using this program as opposed to Adobe Illustrator? Keep reading to find out.

Advantages of Using Adobe XD

One of the biggest advantages of using Adobe XD over Adobe Illustrator is the price difference. While Adobe Illustrator charges a high monthly fee right off the bat, Adobe XD offers both free and paid software versions. Even if you do choose the full paid version, it’s available for a third of the cost of Illustrator and offers a seven-day free trial.

It’s very easy to use, making it popular among budding digital designers. But, while it is very simple to use, it’s not as efficient as programs like Illustrator.

Overall, it’s best to go with Adobe XD over Adobe Illustrator if you’ll be building or updating web designs often.

Best Uses for Adobe XD

As mentioned above, the best uses for Adobe XD typically include web design and simple graphic design.

As far as web design goes, you can use the program to create the following components:

  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes
  • Screen designs

Most of the designs you create with Adobe XD will be geared towards improving user experience. You can configure whole web layouts or any components on them much more easily than with Illustrator.

Adobe XD is a web-based application, which makes sharing designs among team members easy. Just send the link, then the viewer can leave their feedback through an in-browser comment window.

Designs are easy to preview, then export when you’re ready. You can even import designs created in Illustrator to Adobe XD, then adjust them as necessary for your web design purposes. Overall, XD is a better program for teams and businesses.

Pro Tip: Depending on the type of projects you are working on, consider using a mockup generator for even easier screen designs and mockups.

What Is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a popular vector graphics editing and designing tool. Between its user-friendly interface and advanced editing features, it’s no surprise that Illustrator is one of the most popular applications for graphic designers.

Unlike Adobe XD, Illustrator is generally not the best program for web and application designers. It doesn’t have any prototyping tools, but it does help designers create the following types of graphics for both web and mobile use:

  • Icons
  • Graphics
  • Packaging
  • Illustrations

If you’re looking for a program that will help you create vector or raster graphics of any size, and for any application, Illustrator is probably the better choice. It focuses heavily on precision and complicated vector paths, so if you really care about the fine details, go with Adobe Illustrator.

Best Uses for Adobe Illustrator

People of all backgrounds love using Adobe Illustrator. While it’s great for personal use, it’s also a very popular program in the professional world.

People in the following industries may use Illustrator for their graphic design work:

  • Advertising
  • Photography
  • Print media
  • Web development
  • Video game design

Illustrator is one of the world’s most popular graphic design programs, with lots of freehand drawing tools and editing capabilities. Whether for personal or professional use, graphic designers from all walks of life enjoy working in Adobe Illustrator to create logos, social media content, and even magazine covers.

Final Thoughts

Whether or not you should replace your monthly Illustrator subscription with a subscription to the web-based Adobe XD will depend almost entirely on the purposes you’re using the program for and your experience level.

If you currently use Illustrator to create web design elements or simple logo designs, you’ll probably enjoy replacing it with Adobe XD. Not only is it available for a lower cost, but it also makes collaborating with team members much easier.

However, sticking with your current program is probably the best choice if you mainly use Illustrator for more complex or professional graphic design not related to web development.