5 things you should know about Affinity Designer 1.9

The 1.9 update to Affinity Designer packs in a raft of time-saving, workflow improvements. In this article, we run through our top five new features and how you can make the most of them.

Our 1.9 update is now available across all apps, and as usual, it is free to existing users on the platform(s) a licence has been purchased for. We recommend checking out this handy guide—How to install Affinity updates—if you need some help updating.

Let’s take a look at what’s new in Affinity Designer 1.9.

1. Contour Tool

Say hello to the powerful new Contour Tool! This time-saving addition to Designer 1.9 allows you to add a contour to any object or increase the width of single open curves, with ease. Use it to create abstract shapes, offset paths in and around an object and cool outlines around artistic text—great for drafting architectural drawings, making icons and logos or producing print files for stickers.

The Contour Tool has many useful applications, as Matt demonstrates in this video.

Matt walks us through how to use the Contour Tool.

2. Select Object and Select Same

Designer now has two new selection tools guaranteed to speed up your process.

Select Object

With this handy new feature, you can effortlessly select all objects of a particular type (all symbols, all pixel layers, any shapes without a stroke, etc.) within your document without having to locate them individually. These elements are then highlighted in the Layers panel, making them easier to edit, group and organise.

Learn how to improve your workflow by taking advantage of the various Select Object options available within Designer.

Select Same

With Select Same, you can now locate and edit attributes such as fill colour, stroke colour, stroke weight, transparency, blend mode or shape type by selecting all instances within your document. It’s a huge timesaver and a great workflow improvement.

See how easy it is to select multiple objects based on their properties using Select Same.

3. Create a custom brush from a pixel layer

While working in Designer’s Pixel Persona, you now have the ability to create your own custom brush in a matter of seconds from an element that’s already in your design. You can also fine-tune its characteristics, dynamics and texture or create sub brushes to suit your needs.

In this video, Matt demonstrates how to create a custom raster brush from a group of vector shapes, by first converting them to a pixel layer, and then switching to the Pixel Persona to create a new brush from his chosen selection.

Discover how to quickly create raster brushes from a layer on your document and use them in a creative design.

You can now link resources in Designer just like you can in Publisher, opening up collaborative workflow possibilities and allowing you to include multiple links to external files in your work without bulking up your document size.

Linking files is also useful if you are trying to include up-to-date information from an independent source, like an image created in Photo, that may be updated at a later date. In the Resource Manager, you can choose when these linked files are updated within your document, while the Collect option helps keep things organised by allowing you to bring either selected or all linked files into a specified folder.

To send your project to someone else via email or a chosen drive, select Save as Package to create a new folder containing both the document and its linked files together.

Learn how to create more efficient documents via the use of Linked images and the Resource Manager and see how to effectively package your files too.

5. Studio Presets (desktop only)

With the new Studio Presets feature in the desktop version of Designer you can save your favourite workspace setups for different tasks and easily switch between them, to streamline your workflow.

Simply think through which tools you normally use for different types of work or tasks, such as isometric illustration or working with lettering, and then organise your panels to bring them to the fore. You can drag the most important panels out of their panel groups and hide any panels you don’t frequently use, in order to create a clean workspace.

Once you’ve created a workspace to your preference, save it for future use. You can organise your custom studios in the Studio Presets Manager and reset your workspace to the default Designer studio set up at any time.

Discover how to create and organise your own custom studio presets to improve your document workspace and increase efficiency.

And that’s not all…

Did you really think that we would stop at five new features? We’ve crammed many more into our 1.9 update, along with a raft of fixes and feature improvements too. Here’s a quick run-down of our favourites that we really wanted to let you know about!

  • Designer now contains two new time-saving modifiers for the Node Tool which allow you to instantly straighten a curve or delete a segment to create two separate curves within one curve object.
  • In 1.9, it’s now possible to snap to pixel selection bounds, which is especially useful when working with floorplans and other similar documents.
  • Additional path text controls now make it possible to avoid flowing text onto both sides of a curve and to hide overflowing path text if desired.
  • External display support for the iPad version of Designer means when you connect your iPad to an external monitor, you can now configure your two displays separately to have one showing your document without the user interface, and the other showing your normal workspace. This allows you to zoom in and work in finer detail on one display, while viewing the final composition on the other.
  • Designer on all platforms now supports hierarchical control of antialiasing, which is especially useful for pixel artists and also for applications where the output must not be antialiased, such as producing vinyl cut images.

Check out our 1.9 Affinity creative sessions

For even more information about this latest release, check out the 1.9 Affinity creative sessions led by our in-house product experts. They run through all the major updates to each app, and you can stream them at any time on our official YouTube channel.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel


Watch more tutorials

We have a fantastic range of video tutorials designed to help you get the most out of Affinity Designer 1.9 on our website.

Watch our tutorials


Find out more about our 1.9 updates:


Affinity Designer is currently 50% off

In response to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have once again cut the price of our apps by 50%—including the newly released 1.9 versions, so if you don’t have Affinity Designer yet, now is a great time to purchase a copy.

BUY NOW

The 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite is also back for a limited time. For more details and to download the free trial, go to the Affinity website.

Existing users can download v1.9 free from their Affinity account.