Having worked in software development for a large part of my career, I'm more often than not disappointed by the quality of new software. In the rush to completion, things like usability, reliability and functionality often suffer, sometimes irredeemably. It is, therefore, a cause for some celebration when a new piece of software is delivered that lives up to its pre-release hype and, in most respects, approaches some sort of perfection. Such a piece of software is Affinity Publisher.
In my day-to-day working life, I use Adobe's InDesign for publication. It's become an old 'friend' (in the sort of way that a prison cell-mate might be considered a 'friend'*). I use InDesign to produce large documents that average around 100 pages, sometimes 200+ pages, have multiple sections, a variety of created and imported content types, and are revised frequently prior to publication as print and interactive PDFs. This is not lightweight use.
Though I had been involved in the Affinity Publisher beta programme for about six months, the beta had lacked some of the features I frequently use in InDesign and so I had never pushed it in the same way that I push InDesign. That changed when the final completed version was released and I recreated one of my larger documents in Affinity Publisher. This is not a review as such. but this is what I discovered:
- There was nothing that I do in InDesign that I couldn't also do in Affinity Publisher. I might have to do it differently, but it could all be done.
- Affinity Publisher needs learning. Many of InDesign's features work differently in Affinity. I don't think any were worse (just different).
- Affinity's free video tutorials are pretty comprehensive and made learning easy.
- Overall, I felt I was more productive at some of the tasks I need to do in Publisher (e.g. managing imported PDF files and managing a document with multiple sections).
- Affinity Publisher provided rock-solid reliability on my Windows 10 desktop (Mac and iPad versions are also available).
- The integration between Publisher, Photo and Designer was first-class and exceed anything Adobe offers (Photo and Designer features are available from within Publisher without leaving the Publisher application).
- A perpetual license for all three Affinity products (Publisher, Photo and Designer) costs less than four months subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.
- Affinity Publisher is the sort of friend that might neet you at the gate when you finally get out.*
Affinity has the capability to go head-to-head with Adobe, especially if you don't need access to other tools in the Adobe Creative Cloud, like Premiere or After Effects. But, if you or your team are focussed on the main tools for raster graphics, vector design and publishing, then you may find the Affinity suite a much better fit. Find out more at: https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/
* No direct personal experience - just second-hand reports :-)