Affinity Designer for iPad: A special beta

We’ve spent a long time developing Affinity Designer for iPad, in fact,​ we first posted a sneak peek over 3 years ago! But in 2018 we also had some extra help behind-the-scenes…

In 2018, we commissioned a select group of creatives to take part in a special Affinity Designer for iPad beta. The purpose of this was to get a mix of designers and illustrators to test the most ambitious app we’ve ever made. We recruited a mix of seasoned Affinity users, and some who’d never used Affinity for their work. Some of the participants had never used an iPad in their creative workflow either.

We set them all the same challenge… create your style of work using your workflow in Affinity Designer for iPad and tell us what you think of it.

The participants clocked up hundreds of hours of creating and giving us their feedback, Affinity Designer for iPad is the app it is now thanks to them. Let’s find out who took part, what they thought of the app and the artwork they created…

Agata Karelus

Agata Karelus is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Warsaw, Poland. A crazy colourist, Agata is in love with all kinds of creatures and monsters. A pro-user of Affinity Designer, Agata’s insight was invaluable in the beta and her artwork always brightens our day. Oh, she also did the Styles for Affinity Designer for iPad, thanks Agata!

You can find out more about Agata in her Affinity Spotlight profile, or at www.gagatka.pl.

‘Handsome Bird’, created by Agata Karelus during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I’ve tried other creative apps on the iPad before, but I didn’t fall in love with any of them… but Affinity Designer for iPad makes me smile. I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate and that the workflow was as fast as I needed it to be.”

Agata Karelus

Bob Byrne

Bob Byrne is a writer and artist from Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in an orange orchard in Spain where he makes amazing comics (such as 2000AD), games and language learning apps. Bob gave some great feedback and made some stunning illustrations during the beta. Find out more about Bob and his work at clamnuts.com.

‘Brief Paws’, created by Bob Byrne during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.
Boby Byrne creating pages for a graphic novel in Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I’m shocked at how fast it is. I know a large part of that is due to Apple magic but it’s crazy that we can do things which would make a desktop chug a little, instantly on the iPad.”

Bob Byrne, about Affinity Designer for iPad

David Sossella

David is an illustrator who has worked for brands such as Ray-Ban, Hasbro, Usborne, Cadbury and Penguin Random House among others. He is also the founder of Gusto Robusto, an awesome independent project promoting art prints in vector technique. We were introduced to David’s work by Jonathan Ball and found David’s vector prowess something to behold. You can see more of David’s work on his Behance profile.

‘Sōjōbō - King of Tengu’, created by David Sossella in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Affinity Designer for iPad is incredible, powerful and reliable. I love the way objects are managed and gestures have been implemented. It’s a great surprise to me to have such complete vector software on a mobile device, it’s something I’ve been waiting for.”

David Sossella

Enrique Figueroa

Enrique Figueroa—aka Frankentoon—is an art director and illustrator from El Salvador. A well-known supporter of Affinity, Enrique’s Frankentoon project focuses on creating and providing resources for Affinity Designer and Procreate. In 2016, he launched FX Monkey, which provides post production resources for Affinity Photo.

‘One Heart’, created by Enrique Figueroa during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“The first word that comes to my mind is freedom. I’ve been travelling​ and working out of the studio this past month and, having a full version of Affinity Designer in my backpack whenever and wherever I needed to work with, has been a dream come true.”

Enrique Figueroa (aka ‘Frankentoon’)

Eric Pautz

Eric is a Brazilian art director (currently at Giant Ant) and concept artist living in Vancouver, Canada. His professional work frequently tackles important social problems, dealing with topics such as gay rights, the importance of voting and water pollution. We were drawn to Eric’s use of colour and gradients, and his stunning animations. See more of Eric’s work at www.ericpautz.com and over on his Instagram.

‘Florida Birds’, created by Eric Pautz in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.
Eric Pautz creating ‘Hand’ in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Blending modes work great and fast (and it’s hard to say the same for Illustrator). Noise/grain parameters for colours are amazing. The layer structure is great. It’s a lot faster, especially when comparing performance with blurs and crazy blending modes in a large file.”

Eric Pautz, on his experience of using Affinity Designer for iPad

Gaby Zermeño

Gaby Zermeño is a freelance illustrator and concept artist based in Mexico. We fell in love with the concepts and characters in her portfolio. See for yourself at www.gabyzermeno.com.

‘Happy Sunset’, created by Gaby Zermeño in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Gwen Keraval

Gwen is a French illustrator who illustrates for children’s publishing, editorial and toy design. We loved Gwen’s vintage colour palette, use of geometrical shapes and his compositions. His portfolio is quirky and vibrant, check it out at www.gwenkeraval.com.

‘Dionysos’, created by Gwen Keraval in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“The clever duplicate tool is perfect.”

Gwen Keraval, talking about Affinity Designer for iPad

Greatmade

Greatmade is a design studio founded by designer Michael Schinköthe and illustrator Stefan Kowalczyk. Focusing on graphic design, illustration and type design, Greatmade work on varied projects both in and out of their studio. We came across Greatmade when looking for artists and designers using Affinity to promote our 1.6 updates. You can read more about their practice in their behind-the-scenes profile on Spotlight or over on greatmade.de.

‘SK Head’, created by Stefan Kowalczyk from Greatmade in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“It’s going to expand my workflow in a most welcoming way, I’ll even be able to work in bed… my wife is gonna hate you for this.”

Micha from Greatmade, talking about Affinity Designer for iPad.

Ian Barnard

Ian is a prolific hand lettering artist from the UK. He designs, draws, and talks about letters through his Instagram and YouTube channels. Together with Stefan Kunz, Ian has created Grid Builder, a product which helps lettering artists with their layouts. Plus, Grid Builder is now compatible with Affinity Designer too, nice one Ian!

‘No Compromise’, created by Ian Barnard in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“The Pen Tool is a game changer for me. Also, being able to add raster effects to vector work is brilliant. Feels like 2 apps in 1.”

Ian Barnard, talking about Affinity Designer for iPad

Ilya Shapko

We approached Ilya as we were admirers of his ‘Fantasy Lights’ series and thought he would make a great addition to the beta for Affinity Designer for iPad. IIya specialises in graphic design, illustration and branding and we love his representation of light in his work.

‘Mystic Beast’, created by Ilya Shapko during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I was sceptical… but then I fell in love with creating illustrations in Affinity Designer for iPad.”

Ilya Shapko

Isabel Sousa

Isa is a visual designer and illustrator. We adored Isa’s graphic style website and thought her standpoint of illustration and UI design would make her a good candidate for this special beta.

‘Subway’, created by Isabel Sousa in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“The thing with mobile apps is that sometimes they want to be so different and unique that the learning curve becomes very steep. Affinity Designer for iPad uses paradigms that we’re used to, and that makes our life much easier.”

Isabel Sousa

Ivan Blažetić Šumski

Ivan Blažetić Šumski is a Croatian-born artist currently residing in Berlin, Germany. His multi-disciplinary practice ranges from experimental illustration to street art, character design, art installation and animation. Phew! Ivan’s work created in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta also features in our promo video. See more of Ivan’s work over on his Behance profile.

‘Space whale with shoal of fish’, created by Ivan Blažetić Šumski in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Jonathan Ball

Jonathan Ball—aka pokedstudio—is an illustrator and designer from Cardiff, UK. His immediately recognisable and unique portfolio of intricate, colourful designs has been used by a number of clients such as Nickelodeon, MTV, PlayStation and the BBC to name a few. A champion of Affinity Designer, we have featured Jon’s work many times before, such as on stage at Apple’s WWDC in 2015 when we picked up an Apple Design Award.

Read more about Jonathan’s work in his Affinity Spotlight profile.

‘Rainbow Rabbit’, created by Jonathan Ball during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“All the positives of the desktop app are there, the colour tools and fluid drawing tools. It has a great fluid workflow, that works well with the Apple Pencil. Also surprised at how great the performance was on the iPad, I added hundreds of layers without a problem.”

Jonathan Ball, about Affinity Designer for iPad

Jonathan Ortiz

Jonathan Ortiz is an art director from Ecuador who loves good design and lettering. As well as creating work during the beta, he also created our amazing logo for the ‘Affinity Live’ event we held at Serif HQ on the 11th July 2018. You can see more or Jonathan’s incredible lettering work over on his Instagram.

‘Take Creative Control’, created by Jonathan Ortiz in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Currently, my work is 100% done in the app. It’s addictive.”

Jonathan Ortiz

Juan Manuel Orozco

Juan is a designer and illustrator from Costa Rica. Illustrating for the clothing and music industries, he works with brands such as Threadless, TeeFury, Design By Humans and Rage On. We were in awe of Juan’s intricate work in his portfolio, and we still can’t quite believe he made ‘God Lion’ on the iPad. In a beta app. Mind blown.

‘God Lion’, created by Juan Manuel Orozco in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Discovering this app has been amazing, I’ve fallen in love. I can ink in vector and colour in raster all in one portable app, with no layer limitations. It’s totally changed my workflow.”

Juan Manuel Orozco, talking about Affinity Designer for iPad

Julian Ardila

Julian is a Columbian graphic designer and illustrator based in Mexico City. The founder of the design and communication studio, FRANCA, we fell in love with Julian’s vivid illustration style. See more of Julian’s work over on his Behance profile.

‘Introspection’, created by Julian Ardila in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Karol Banach

Despite only graduating in 2016, Polish illustrator Karol has already amassed a strong list of editorial and commercial clients. These include Ikea, Samsung, Costa Coffee, American Express, Uber, The Washington Post and Newsweek. See more of Karol’s work at karolbanach.com, we are big fans of his whimsical style!

‘My House’, created by Karol Banach in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Innovative.”

Karol Banach, talking about Affinity Designer for iPad.

Kim Salt

Kim Salt is an illustrator currently working for Facebook’s Cultural Moments team in the Bay Area. A native New Yorker, Kim has worked with various clients on editorial illustration, as well as a few commercial projects. Her work celebrates the inner magic of the mundane and the unique rhythms of living things. Her client list includes The Guardian, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal—impressive stuff!

‘Cosmic Event’, created by Kim Salt during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Once I got the hang of Affinity Designer for iPad, creating work became really fun. I found the app to be the most robust drawing tool that I’ve used on iPad thus far.”

Kim Salt

Lesha Galkin

Lesha is a product designer and illustrator from St. Petersburg, Russia. Lesha studied Environment Design and Architecture at SPbGUTD University and is a co-founder of Facultative.works, which has been featured in prestigious design magazines such as Wallpaper and Computer Arts. Lesha’s approach to design added another perspective to the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

‘Autonomous Life’, created by Lesha Galkin in Affinity Designer for iPad.

“I’ve been thinking about buying a Cintiq, so I can draw right on the screen. Now I definitely will not buy it and will use Affinity Designer with the iPad instead.”

Lesha Galkin

Man-Tsun Tsang

Man-Tsun is an award-winning illustrator (he was listed in Lürzer’s archive of the Best 200 Illustrators 2016-17) and art director for Rock N Pop Graphix, based in Hong Kong. We first approached Man-Tsun when we were looking for illustrators to try out the desktop version for our 1.4 update and we’ve been big fans of his incredible line work ever since. You can see more of Man-Tsun’s work over on Behance.

‘Football’, created by Man-Tsun Tsang during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Now I can create a high-quality artwork output ON THE GO!”

Man-Tsun Tsang, his first impressions of Affinity Designer for iPad

Marina Muun

Marina is an illustrator working and living in Vienna, Austria. She works as a freelance Illustrator on various editorial projects for online and print media. Past clients include the The New York Times, Google and Wired to name a few. We saw Marina’s beautiful work and thought her style would make a great addition to this special beta. You can see more of Marinas work over on www.marinamuun.com.

‘Dancers’, created by Marina Munn in Affinity Designer for iPad.

Mario de Santiago

Mario de Santiago—aka Yime is Great—likes to explore social interactions and gather them into quirky and colourful storytelling compositions. Mario’s past clients include Wired, ZARA and The Telegraph among others. Mario’s fun, colourful and sarcastic style were a great addition to the beta.

‘Free World’, created by Mario Santiago in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“It definitely helped my workflow. I had a bit of a hard time in the beginning with the layers but got over it quickly. Once I got that, being able to use my fingers and to create straight lines by just touching the screen was amazing”

Mario Santiago on his experience of Affinity Designer for iPad

Mark Oliver

As well as illustrating for press, print, games and the web, Mark has written and illustrated various books—twice winning the Stockport Children’s Prize in 2006 & 2011. With a client list such as Starbucks, the BBC, Penguin, The Guardian, Bloomsbury and Saatchi & Saatchi to name but a few, Mark’s work is quality stuff. See more of Mark’s illustrations over at www.olly.net.

‘Spanish Lady’, created by Mark Oliver during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I found the one finger/two fingers modifying to be very intuitive. I was concerned about how I would work without keystrokes but very quickly got used to these gestures. I also liked the ability to slide up and down from the radial buttons to alter values.”

Mark Oliver, on his experience of Affinity Designer for iPad.

Matt Griffin

Matt Griffin is an award-winning Irish illustrator and children’s book author. Having worked with major brands in publishing, film, editorial and advertising, Matt has garnered an international reputation as a distinctive and innovative graphic artist. He is also the author of The Ayla Trilogy (O’Brien Press), with his debut novel ‘A Cage of Roots’ winning the LAI Children’s Book of the Year 2017 in the 9-11 age category.

We’ve wanted to work with Matt for a very long time, and the Affinity Designer for iPad special beta seemed a good opportunity. He didn’t disappoint, ‘Desert Knight’ was a standout piece from Matt.

Visit www.mattgriffin.online to explore Matt’s portfolio, and we will also be profiling Matt on Spotlight very soon…

‘Desert Knight’, created by Matt Griffin during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I’m delighted that there is now an app like this available on iPad. Combining vector and raster tools, and with the addition of type, it has everything I need to work solely on the iPad if required.”

Matt Griffin, his thoughts about Affinity Designer for iPad.

Michał Sawtyruk

Michał Sawtyruk is a freelance artist based in Warsaw, Poland. His main focus is illustration, but he also likes making his still images move from time to time. We were blown away by Michał’s animation Under the surface, and his portfolio. It was an easy decision to invite Michał to join the beta.

‘Street View’, created by Michał Sawtyruk in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Affinity Designer for iPad is a powerful app with lots of tools and possibilities.”

Michał Sawtyruk

Mother Volcano

Mother Volcano is a creative studio that specialises in illustration based communication, content and digital products. Based in Portugal, their creative director, Eduardo Barbosa, and the rest of the Mother Volcano team use Affinity Designer for all their vector work. It was great to finally get Affinity Designer for iPad into their studio, they’ve been very patient.

Illustration created by the Mother Volcano team in Affinity Designer for iPad.

“We were expecting some sort of ‘porting’ of the desktop app to the iPad but we were delighted to find a new UI which almost immediately made sense to us.”

Eduardo Barbosa, about Affinity Designer for iPad

Monez

Inspired by fables and folk-tales, Monez’s portfolio of work is a breath of fresh air and large in breadth. His large-scale murals appear on the walls of restaurants and zoos, while his organic characters feature in children’s books and on clothing apparel. You can read more about his process and his work with Affinity here on Spotlight.

‘Walking Monsters’, created by Monez during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“It was worth the wait, I’ve never had so much fun designing with vectors! I’m so happy that Affinity Designer for iPad is here, the experience it is all I hoped it would be.”

Monez

Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas was part of the CRCR collective, who created 2D animations for advertising, music videos and short films. This led Nicolas to embark on a career in illustration. We stumbled across Nicholas’ portfolio and admired his distinctive style.

Artwork created by Nicolas Dehghani in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Nils-Petter Ekwall

Nils-Petter is an award-winning illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden—specialising in busy, highly detailed illustrations, cityscapes, pictorial maps, and infographics. With a client list including Honda, Ogilvy & Mather, Orange and Wallpaper Magazine, we were keen for Nils-Petter to put Affinity Designer for iPad through its isometric paces.

See more of Nils-Petter’s work at nilspetter.se.

‘Monstrous Creatures Attack’, created by Nils-Petter Ekwall during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I really love the adding noise feature. It’s so quick to add and easy to remove. I know there are similar functions in Illustrator to add noise, but I usually add the noise in Photoshop as the last thing in my current workflow, which loses me a lot of time.”

Nils-Petter Ekwall, his thoughts on Affinity Designer for iPad.

Paolo Limoncelli

Italian-based Paolo is a UX/UI designer and illustrator. Paolo also creates amazing brush sets designed using real media under the brand DAUB® Brushes. The brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad have all been created by Paolo, he’s one of a kind.

‘Siegfried and the dragon’, created by Paolo Limoncelli in Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“That the seamless vector and raster workflow of Affinity Designer is now available on iPad too is a dream come true.”

Paolo Limoncelli

Peach Munkey

Peach Munkey is a freelance artist from the west coast. His art is inspired from growing up in Japan, Hawaii and southern California. We love his flair for character design combined with his signature intricate lines and vibrant colours.

‘Sonny Boy Joy’, created by Peach Munkey during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Pedro Corrêa

Pedro Corrêa is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Florianopolis, Brazil. He specialises in editorial, packaging and advertising illustration and is Moleskine’s Brazilian ambassador. We saw Pedro’s ‘Mushrooms’ piece and invited him to join the beta, his resulting artwork ‘Peace’ is a lesson in line and colour work.

‘Peace’, created Pedro Corrêa in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I’m not a vector guy, but I felt very comfortable just knowing that vectors could be a possibility.”

Pedro Corrêa, his thoughts on Affinity Designer for iPad

Sahil Trivedi

Sahil is a concept artist at Electronic Arts (EA) Games in Hyderabad, India. We are big fans of Sahil’s fine art approach to his concept art, check them out on his Behance profile.

‘Tropical Beach Party’, created by Sahil Trivedi in Affinity Designer for iPad.

Sav Scatola

Sav is an artist and digital painter from Edinburgh, Scotland. We knew Sav was making some incredible vector brushes for Affinity Designer, so he was an obvious choice for this project. Check out Sav’s brushes for Affinity Designer on his site, www.boxy.co.uk.

‘March of the giant hogweed’, created by Sav Scatola in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Affinity Designer for iPad’s custom brush maker and all-round user friendliness takes the vector painting paradigm to a whole new level.”

Sav Scatola

Steve Simpson

With over 30 years’ experience, Steve Simpson is renowned for his hand lettered packaging design, whimsical characters and illustrated barcodes. His distinctive style, inspired by the arts & crafts movement, 50s advertising and folk art, has appeared on everything from a 1” postage stamp to a 200ft screen in Times Square. His work has adorned whiskey bottles and cough bottles, board games and board rooms, hot sauces and ceramic saucers. We were over the moon that Steve got involved in this project with us.

Originally from Manchester, UK, Steve now lives in Dublin, Ireland

‘La Vida Loca’, created by Steve Simpson in Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Affinity Designer for iPad is a fully featured vector app with raster tools available on a tablet. It’s a different level.”

Steve Simpson

Tiago Galo

Tiago is an illustrator based in Lisbon. His client list includes The Hollywood Reporter, Flipboard, National Geographic Travel, Penguin Random House, Financial Times, Google and Condé Nast Traveller. We were delighted to find out that Tiago used Affinity Designer for his work when we were looking for artists and designers for our 1.6 updates.

See more of Tiago’s work at tiagogalo.com.

‘Rush Hour’, created by Tiago Gallo in Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“You can share the workflow between desktop and iPad, that’s such a game changer. I think Affinity Designer for iPad will be my work companion for the next few years.”

Tiago Gallo

Tom HRVB

Tom is a freelance illustrator and graffiti artist based in Berlin who focuses on character design, complex illustrations and painting murals. His projects are insanely diverse, and he constantly challenges himself to develop his skills. You can see more of Tom’s quirky work over on his Instagram.

‘Haseauto’, created by Tom HRVB in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

Tom Ludd

Tom is a designer and entrepreneur that’s passionate about building ventures in the creative industry. As founder of ‘The Designers League’, and Affinity Designer user, Tom was a great choice to join the beta.

‘Let Yourself Blossom’, created by Tom Ludd during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“Affinity Designer is an incredible piece of software, take that and put it on the iPad and you have something special—to have a fully-fledged piece of design software that you can truly be mobile with is incredible, it’s an enjoyable and intuitive experience all round!”

Tom Ludd

Will Schorer

Will is an illustrator and designer based in Western Australia. He runs his design studio, Highscore Creative, with his wife, Erin. Past clients include Queens of the Stoneage, Atreyu, Jason Mraz, Sullen, J!nx and Assassin’s Creed. Will’s pen tool skills were a definite must for the Affinity Designer for iPad special beta.

‘Baboon’, created by Will Schorer in the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.

“I’m blown away with Affinity Designer for iPad. Having the freedom to work from a sketch to a finished vectorised artwork all without any cables, in one app is a dream come true and a huge time saver.”

Will Schorer

Get Affinity Designer for iPad now!

Affinity Designer for iPad is now available to purchase on the iOS App Store.

Buy now


Want more?

Some of the artworks created during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta are available in the app as samples.

Plus, check out our Instagram where we will be sharing all the artwork made during the Affinity Designer for iPad artist beta. Tag your work made in Affinity Designer for iPad with #madeinaffinity #DesignerforiPad for a chance to be featured.


Artist relations
Kate heads up our artist relations team and is the co-editor of Affinity Spotlight. Having shelved her dreams of being an artist, she now spends her spare time refereeing a rebellious toddler and an aging Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Get in touch with Kate if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.
Credits & Footnotes

All artworks have been licensed by Serif and are copyright of the artists. Hero image ‘Baboon’, created by Will Schorer during the Affinity Designer for iPad beta.