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2020 round-up: highlights from an unforgettable year

Dominated by issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, this past year has been a challenging one, to say the least.

We’ve all endured massive worldwide restrictions, both national and local lockdowns and having to adapt to working from home—as a company we’ve been doing so since the first UK national lockdown happened mid-March (and still are).

But thankfully, this hasn’t stopped us working hard on our apps and putting our heads together (virtually) to think of ways we could help support our users and the wider creative community during these difficult times.

As 2020 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the incredible things we have managed to achieve over the last 12 months, despite the pandemic.

Huge Affinity updates

Being a modern company, we found ourselves in a good position to react and adapt to the challenges of working from home, so thankfully, this didn’t hold us back pushing out some big updates. Most notably, Affinity 1.8, which brought eagerly-awaited IDML import to Affinity Publisher—this was a biggie and a real game-changer for those needing to migrate InDesign documents into the Affinity suite.

We were also thrilled to share that the recent 1.8.6 update for the macOS versions of our apps makes them fully compatible with Apple’s latest macOS update, Big Sur, and also optimised for M1—Apple’s newly-launched chip, specifically designed for the Mac.

Affinity apps are the first professional creative applications to offer native M1 support

Our developers were lucky enough to receive the DTK from Apple so we could prime all our apps for M1 before launch and get them up and running natively on the new hardware, making Affinity apps the first professional creative applications to offer native M1 support!

With our apps now primed for this transition, Mac customers with M1 can expect a faster, smoother and more responsive user experience than ever before.

90-day free trial and 50% discount on our apps

Back in March, as the UK went into national lockdown for the first time, we began to hear many stories from creatives who were struggling, with their jobs either being put on hold or cancelled entirely. As a developer of creative software, we felt it was our responsibility to offer the creative community as much support as possible during this difficult time, so we put three new measures in place aimed at helping students, photographers, designers, artists and other creatives affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first was a new 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite which were available to download until the end of May. The second was to offer a 50% discount for those who would rather buy and keep the apps on Mac, Windows PC and iPad, and the third was our 100 Days. 100 Commissions. initiative…

100 Days. 100 Commissions.

At the beginning of April, we pledged to engage 100 freelance creatives for work, spending the equivalent of our annual commissioning budget in just three months. The premise was a call for submissions from creative freelancers for artworks created in Affinity apps that we could consider for licensing or commissioning for our future marketing campaigns.

We had an incredible response and received many wonderful submissions—some of which we plan to use in the marketing of our 1.9 updates next year.

Some of the successful submissions for 100 Days. 100 Commissions.

We have been busy posting the successful submissions on Instagram. Check out the hashtag #100days100commissions to view the final work that was selected.

Affinity Creative Sessions

In May, as a way to stay connected while so many of us were still in lockdown, we launched our Lockdown 2020: Affinity Creative Sessions. Record numbers tuned in on our YouTube channel as we premiered a new free video session each day led by a top creative professional or one of our talented in-house experts showcasing how they create fantastic work in Affinity.

The sessions were pre-recorded by talented artists, illustrators, designers and photographers from all over the world, working in their homes. Then the footage was edited by one of the team. This was our first attempt at delivering video content on a large scale, and we were incredibly proud of the result—so much so, that we decided to make them a regular thing. Check out the full Affinity Creative Sessions playlist which includes our second series from September and October and our recent Content Store special creative sessions.

If you’d like to stay up to date with future sessions, subscribe to the official Affinity YouTube channel.

The Affinity Publisher Workbook

We were delighted to be able to launch the long-awaited Affinity Publisher Workbook in time for Christmas. Naturally, it was produced entirely in Affinity Publisher, and at 544 pages, it is our largest guide yet, packed with stunning hands-on projects and expert tips and tricks.

If you would like to get your hands on a copy, the Affinity Publisher Workbook is now available to purchase on the Affinity Store.

To learn how it was made, check out our behind the scenes article Creating the Affinity Publisher Workbook, where we chat to two key members of the team.

Thanks for an incredible year

We love what we do, and it’s only made possible by the support from our amazing community. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our users, readers and contributors for supporting us over this past year; it really does mean a lot.

We’ve got tons of exciting stuff coming in 2021, not least of all our 1.9 updates which are due early in the new year—the 1.9 betas for Mac and 1.9 betas for Windows are available now on our forums if you would like to check them out.

There’s much to look forward to in 2021, but for now, we would like to wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a peaceful holiday season from everyone in the Affinity Team.