When comparing GIMP vs Affinity Designer, the Slant community recommends GIMP for most people. In the question“What are the best graphic design programs?” GIMP is ranked 10th while Affinity Designer is ranked 21st. The most important reason people chose GIMP is:
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available [here](http://www.gimp.org/source/).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free, open source and cross-platform
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available here.
GIMP is the most feature rich free image editing tool. It has most image manipulation and workflow tools that you would expect from an image editing software and what it lacks it makes up with plugins.
Pro Content-aware tools with a plugin
There's a content-aware fill plugin available for GIMP.
Pro Modular & single-window interface options
By default GIMP splits out each window, but you can check to use the one screen mode in options if you prefer.
Compared to to other photo editing software, GIMP is very light weight. In addition it isn't very resource-intensive, meaning you can put it on a flash drive and have it with you to load up on just about any computer.
Gimp has less features than programs like Photoshop, but for a beginner, or someone not needing complicated options, Gimp is the perfect choice. It allows you to quickly do basic photo manipulation so you can easily get the product you need without having to worry about complicated features getting in the way.
Pro Full channel support
Pro One-time purchase
Rather than a monthly subscription based model, Affinity Designer instead has a one-time fee ($49.99).
Pro Intuitive user interface
The user interface of many graphic editing software programs can often be discouraging for beginners. Affinity Designer, however, has a very well laid out and intuitive user interface with a small learning curve.
Pro Powerful artistic tools
Extensively tweakable brush types, color options...
Pro Extended slicing and export possibilities
An object can easily be transformed into a slice that can then be exported in various sizes end formats in 1 go. E.g. Export slice A as PNG 1x, 2x and 3x AND GIF 1x AND SVG.
Pro Powerful symbol managemment
Symbols can get individual property changes (color, shape, layer effects, fonts text...) while the other properties stay linked with the base symbol.
Pro SVG Support
In the era of "retina" displays, 4k UHD, 5k, and even 8k, Scalar Vector Graphics - independent vector images that can scale to any resolution without any display quality loss - are more important now than ever.
And this tool is quite capable of rendering true SVG output suitable for consumption at any display resolution (not a big bunch of rasterized bits in the document, actual paths, points, etc.).
Pro Cross platform
Available on both Windows and MacOS
Pro Focused vector graphics tool
Unlike some design tools, Affinity Designer isn't trying to be all things to all people. It's focused on its main area of expertise: vector graphics. That's not to say you can't use a raster image (think a photo in *.jpeg format for example), but it's not built to do much with that other than using it somewhere amidst the layers and that's about it.
Pro Sketch Alternative (Great for Mixed OS Teams)
For those working in mixed environments that aren't 100% MacOS, you'll find devoting yourself to Sketch.app brings with it...pain. If this fits the bill for what you need feature-wise and you're in a mixed OS environment, it's a very capable replacement for Sketch.app. Note that it doesn't have all the same features, but then again it doesn't need all the same features. Short of organization differences inside the document you're working on, there shouldn't be anything you can't do with Affinity Designer that you could have with Sketch.
Pro Integrates well with Affinity Photo
These are companion apps & switching between them is built in - Photo is a very powerful raster tool with a feature set close/better to Photoshop, it will also use some Photoshop plugins. This allows you to add-on powerful raster capabilities if you want them - put doesn't force you to.
Pro Excellent Photoshop/Illustrator import & export
Best I have seen in a non Adobe app, you can use most of the Photoshop mock-ups and templates easily. Opens most Adobe files to a level to be able to effectively use the content. Allows cross team collaboration across tool-chains.
The new version 1.5 has a very powerful feature set such as support for symbols and asset windows, as well as constraints controls and improved export options. This all adds up to an interesting alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Con Unintuitive interface
GIMP doesn't embrace OS X application design, thus Mac users might have a hard time wrapping their heads around GIMP's interface.
Con Poor performance
Con Less features than other programs
Being a free program, it shouldn't be surprising that it has limited features. For those needing more advanced features for something more professional, GIMP just isn't for you.
Con Lacks adjustment layers
Adjustment layers offer a non-destructive way of combining different photo manipulations. Without adjustment layers the only way to see changes is by irreversibly editing the image.
They are promised in future updates.
Con No plug-in architecture, so can't be tailored to specific purposes
Some applications (e.g. Sketch) have an open plug-in framework, by which the software can be extended by independent/third-party developers according to popular trends.
Con Treats all objects as filled
You can't select objects on the canvas by clicking on them, if they're surrounded by another object (like a rectangle or a frame). Designer treats all objects as filled, so if you've drawn a frame or outline or an object with a hole in it, you can't select objects within that hole directly. You have to laboriously iterate through all objects in a list until you get to the one you want. This is an extremely common situation, which cripples the entire product. Very surprising and unfortunate defect.