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Download Adobe Illustrator free or with Creative Cloud

Apps 2020
(Image credit: Adobe)

Want to download Adobe Illustrator? You've come to the right place. Adobe has various subscription options for the software, and we're here to help you to choose a package that's right for you. This guide will explain everything you need to know about Adobe Illustrator, from how to download a free trial to the Adobe All Apps plan.

We'll talk you through how to download Illustrator for free (opens in new tab) as a trial or how to buy it as part of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Looking for another free Adobe experience? Check out the brand new Creative Cloud Express.

If you're hoping to get the full Adobe suite, then check out the best Adobe Creative cloud discount available now. Or if it's that other world-famous Adobe creative software you're after, here's how to download Photoshop.

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is an industry-standard software for artists, illustrators, designers and more. It lets you create all manner of artwork, graphics and illustrations on your Mac, PC, iPad and now even in a web browser.

Download Adobe Illustrator: everything you need to know

Can I download Adobe Illustrator for free?

Download a free trial of Illustrator for PC or Mac now (opens in new tab)
You can try the latest release of Adobe Illustrator for free, including access to all the newest features and updates, with a seven-day trial. There’s no obligation to buy afterwards, but if you like it, you can convert to a paid Creative Cloud subscription either during the trial or after.

Adobe Illustrator CC has an option for a free trial so users can test drive the software. The trial gives you a full seven days of Illustrator with all the nuts and bolts, so you can get a proper grasp on the software and decide whether it's the illustration app for you. This is the only way you can download Adobe Illustrator for free. There are pirated versions of Illustrator out there so we advise that you only download the software via the Adobe site. Downloading a pirated version of any Adobe software is breaking the law, and may put your device at risk of malware and viruses – so we seriously don't recommend it. 

All you need to download Adobe Illustrator CC for a free trial is an Adobe ID – it's that simple. It's super quick, easy and free to set up an Adobe account, and once you've signed up, you're good to go. You'll need to enter your credit card details for the free trial, but don't worry, as long as you cancel your account with time to spare, you won't be charged for the whole package. But if you decide that Illustrator is working for you, then the payment will be taken out of your account monthly/annually depending on the subscription you choose. 

How do I buy Illustrator CC?

Buy Illustrator CC from $20.99 / £19.97 / AU$29.99 per month (opens in new tab)
If you only need Illustrator, you can subscribe to Adobe's industry-leading vector graphics editor alone from $20.99 / £19.97 per month. Click the link above or the View Deal button.

Buy an Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps subscription for $52.99 / £49.94 / AU$76.99 per month (opens in new tab)
Another way to access Illustrator is through an All Apps subscription, which, gives you all of Adobe's Creative Cloud apps. That includes such widely used apps as Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Adobe Rush.

There’s only one way to access Adobe Illustrator beyond the seven-day trial, and that's as part of a Creative Cloud membership. For that, you'll need to pay a monthly or annual subscription. There are two broad options. The first, and cheapest, is to subscribe to Illustrator only. The second option is to take out an All Apps subscription. This is more expensive but includes access to all of Adobe's Creative Cloud apps, along with a range of other benefits. (If you’re not sure whether other CC apps might be useful for you, see our Adobe software list for the full breakdown). 

If an All Apps subscription seems too expensive, don’t despair: Adobe often runs promotions that bring the cost down. There are also discounts for students and teachers, and separate pricing for businesses, schools and universities. It’s always worth checking what deals are available.

How much does Illustrator CC cost?

(Image credit: Adobe)

The cheapest option is to buy Illustrator CC through an individual Illustrator subscription. At the time of writing, that costs £19.97 / $20.99 / AU$29.99 per month if you commit to an annual plan. For that price, you get a subscription to Adobe Illustrator CC, plus 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark. 

The alternative is to buy Illustrator CC through the Creative Cloud All Apps package, which gives you access to Illustrator as well as Adobe’s entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps. This costs £49.94 / $52.99 / AU$76.99 on an annual plan, but look out for deals because Adobe often runs promotions, for example during Black Friday. 

Adobe Illustrator discounts for teachers and students

Get Adobe CC All Apps plan for students/teachers for $19.99 / £16.24 / AU$21.99 per month (opens in new tab)
If you study or work in education, Adobe offers a discounted all-apps Creative Cloud subscription, including Illustrator. Click View Deal then choose the 'Students and Teachers' tab.

If you’re a student or teacher, you can buy Illustrator as part of a discounted All Apps plan at a much lower rate. This will usually allow you to get the entire Creative Cloud suite of apps along with 100GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark, for just $15.99 / £13.15 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year. The price rises to $29.99 / £25.28 / AU$43.99 the following year.

How to get started with Illustrator

Download Adobe Illustrator: Six stylish letters against colourful backgrounds

Typography by Lidia Lukianova (Image credit: Adobe/Lidia Lukianova)

After you download Adobe Illustrator, check out our roundup of the best Illustrator tutorials to help you get started with the software. These tutorials can help you to expand your skills and knowledge whatever your level of expertise. Whether you want to design a complex illustration or just a simple icon, our selection of tutorials is bound to reveal new tips that could help you to be more productive and creative in your work with Illustrator.

If you're looking to save time and effort with Illustrator, make sure you check out our roundup of the best illustrator plugins. Finally, if you’re looking for Illustrator brushes, we've sought out the best the internet has to offer, both free and premium options.

Illustrator CC: Key details you need to know

Adobe Illustrator is a sophisticated drawing programme based on vector graphics, which are infinitely scalable. That means your work can be scaled down for mobile screens, scaled up to billboard size and can cover everything in-between without losing resolution.

The software was first released in 1987, and it remains one of the most used tools among professional illustrators, visual artists, graphic designers and web designers. It's widely used to create quality artwork, from simple shapes and backgrounds to icons, logos and emojis, social media graphics, infographics, cartoons, charts, diagrams and graphs, and of course full-blown illustrations and digital art.

As part of a CC subscription plan, you receive all Illustrator updates at no extra cost, so you can guarantee you'll always be using the latest software. The latest version is Adobe Illustrator 2021, released in October. The big news with its release was the introduction of Illustrator for in-browser use, so collaboration is easier than ever. You can read more about the latest updates to the software on Adobe's blog (opens in new tab).

Download Adobe Illustrator for Android and iOS

The last update to Illustrator made the software finally available for the iPad, a move that was welcomed by many designers. There are still no signs of a full Android version of Illustrator – there's only Adobe Illustrator Draw – nor is there any plan to launch Illustrator for the iPhone as far as we know. 

Illustrator alternatives

For our money, the best Illustrator alternative is Affinity Designer (opens in new tab), which was launched in 2014 by Serif, the makers of Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher. Affinity Designer is available for Mac, Windows and iPad for a one-off fee rather than a subscription. Affinity's three low-cost apps are interoperable, in a similar way to Creative Cloud apps, although there’s no equivalent to services like Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock.

For digital design, our favourite Illustrator alternative is Sketch (opens in new tab), which has become one of the most used vector editors for UI and icon design since its release in 2010. However, Sketch is only available for Macs. If you're looking for more options, see our full list of Illustrator alternatives.

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Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Acting Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where her blogging prowess led her to become Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on art and design magazines, including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw, and got the 'Apple bug' when working on US title, Mac|Life. In 2018, she left the world of print behind and moved to Creative Bloq, where she now takes care of the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach through trying to please the Google Gods, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves ours readers as best it can. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.