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Introduction to Affinity Designer for iPad

Introduction to Affinity Designer for iPad main article image
Posted on December 22, 2021 by Kymmie J.

Aside from Procreate, there is an app that is best recommended for digital illustration, and it is the Affinity Designer. It is available in both desktop or Mac versions and a separate app for the iPad version.

Affinity Designer is a powerful graphic design app that allows us to create stunning artwork and projects for our branding, icons, logos, UI/UX designs, fonts, illustrations, seamless patterns, mockups, vectors, different types of digital art, and more.

We only have to pay a one-time fee, meaning it doesn’t require a subscription plan. However, take note that while we purchase the iPad version of the app, we may need to pay for a separate one if we want to use Affinity Designer on our computer. This is because the app runs on separate platforms or operating systems (iPadOS vs. macOS).

While Procreate provides raster graphics, Affinity Designer can work with both vector and raster graphics without using any 3rd-party software. Read more about it here.

There are a lot of features Affinity Designer for iPad has, and it will take a week or two to master them depending on our use and goals but we will focus on some basic ones and an overview of the app.

Familiarizing ourselves with Affinity Designer for iPad is much easier than we think. If we are familiar with how Procreate works, then Affinity Designer will be a walk in a park.

Tools we need

  1. Affinity Designer for iPad app (can be purchased on the app store)
  2. Any iPad version that’s compatible with Apple Pencil
  3. Apple Pencil or any stylus supported by iPad

Let’s get started

When we first launch the Affinity Designer on iPad, we will see sample artworks already included on the home screen. We can either remove them and add our own or use them for practice.

We can also easily access the options on each artwork which allows us to close the document (delete), rename the file, duplicate a copy and save it to our files app or on any cloud storage.

On the upper right corner are options to create a new document, access the in-app help, preferences, and the profile to manage our account and downloads.

Tap on the + icon to add or import a new document.

When we choose New Document instead of importing from our iCloud or any storage, we will have access to change the setting of our document.

We can also change the size of the canvas.

Change the DPI to 300 for high resolution, and also have the option to set it to Landscape or Portrait mode.

We can also change the Color Profile or set the background of the canvas to transparent.

Once we have selected our artwork or added a new document, we will see the main editing interface.


There are 3 personas in Affinity Designer which are basically workspaces for different tasks or purposes.

1. Designer Persona or commonly known as Vector-based persona

When we tap and hold on to the Tooltip icon, we will see this in-app help dialogue which allows us to easily identify the tools.

2. Pixel persona or commonly known as Raster-based version

There are different tools in each persona based on their tasks and purposes.

Notice how the tools change when we select a different persona, we will notice that the tools present now are Raster-based.

3. Export persona

We use export persona mainly if we want to export and save slices. This is a much-advanced export tool.

Main User Interface

Document menu shows settings for color profile or format, resizing, basically how we want our document to look and function. We can also set grids, symmetry guides, snap, artboard and we will use this when we want to import images from our gallery or cloud storage.

Edit menu shows us options to duplicate, cut, group, copy & paste, or basically what we want to do in our artwork.

On the left is the Toolbar. The tools change depending on the Persona.

The Shape tool has this small arrow which means that there are more options inside the tool when we tap on it.

On the bottom is the Context Toolbar which changes according to the Tool we have selected. In this example, we see it changed when we selected the Mode versus Node tool.

On the right side is the Studios, which allows us to access a lot of the app’s advanced functionality.

The Layer studio gives us access to the documents layer stack.

The Adjustment studio allows us to add non-destructive adjustment layers.

The Transform studio allows us to manipulate objects in great detail such as rotate, flip, move, resize and align objects.

The Color studio allows us to select and change the colors of the object.

We can also access the Color Swatch menu. There are included swatches available already or we can add our own.

The Brush studio allows us to draw on our canvas and add free-form objects. There are available brushes included already or we can add our own brush collection.

The Assets studio allows us to save your objects for future use. We can save a group or collection of objects so we can use them repeatedly without having to recreate or redraw them. Think of it as Elements in Goodnotes.

The Stock studio is very helpful as it allows us to search for royalty-free stock images to be used either when we need the inspiration to create our artwork. The app pulls the images from Pexels and Pixabay websites.

The Text studio allows us to add texts to our artwork, it also supports glyphs and ligatures.

The History studio allows us to see the past edits we made on our artwork. We can either use Re-do or make use of this studio to go revert back.

We can also preview your artwork in Full-screen mode to remove the clutter temporarily.

On the bottom left corner is the Magnet or Snap tool which is very helpful. It allows us to snap our objects in place when we move them.

Once we are done with our artwork, we can now save and export it.

The Export option offers a variety of file formats. Just tap one of the formats and it will allow us to change the settings.

Now, you are ready to share your work with everyone or sell them.

Hope you learn something new from this article! Have you downloaded Affinity Designer for iPad yet?

Happy creating!

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