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17 best Adobe Illustrator plugins for designers and agencies

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by Katie Oberthaler

24 August 2021

Adobe Illustrator is the leading vector graphics software used extensively by designers and agencies to create digital graphics, illustrations, and typography for all kinds of media, including print, web, interactive, video, and mobile.

To enhance design options, there are many plugins for Adobe Illustrator that bring additional creative, collaboration, and project management options right into the Illustrator editing interface.

But which ones should you consider?

In this guide, we’re going to show you the best Adobe Illustrator plugins to help you get things done faster, streamline your collaboration workflow, and improve the overall quality of your work.

17 Best Adobe Illustrator Plugins for Designers and Agencies

In this section, we’re looking at the best plugins for Adobe Illustrator that can help graphic designers and creative agencies improve the quality of their work and streamline their workflows.

Let’s dive in!

Ziflow

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Ziflow’s plugin for Adobe Illustrator and the Creative Cloud brings the collaborative review and approval of creative work right to where the work is actually getting done. 

The plugin enables designers to mark up, collaborate on, and share creative work within Adobe Illustrator. Previously, creative teams had to take extra steps to export, upload, and email new designs to share their artwork and gather feedback from approvers. Without the plugin, designers are left with extra work of sifting through all the emails, chat apps, and other conversations just to consolidate feedback.

But now, with the Ziflow plugin for Adobe Illustrator, creative directors and designers can manage the entire process of not just editing but also versioning, approval, and exportation of creative content right inside of Adobe Illustrator. Designers can create new proofs and versions of their work from files in Illustrator, automatically notify reviewers when the work is ready for review, compare versions side-by-side down to the pixel, and access the complete history of real-time stakeholder comments and feedback across projects, all without leaving the editing window. 

Designers can jump into a project in any phase of the editing and approval process and see the current status and a complete overview of project changes. Instead of managing and tracking down feedback and approval on design files and versions, designers can spend more time on creative work, not project management and wrangling stakeholders.

In short: It’s a huge time saver for the collaborative review and approval process.

Pricing:

You can access the Ziflow Adobe Illustrator plugin on the Adobe App Exchange Marketplace. It’s free to anyone with Adobe Creative Cloud and Ziflow accounts. 

Once you’ve installed the Ziflow plugin, you’ll be able to log in to your Ziflow account directly within your Adobe account and access your entire list of proofs.

[Get the Ziflow plugin]

VectorScribe

VectorScribe is like a Swiss army knife for designers that helps you edit vectors, create shapes and corners, and take measurements. 

It not only brings you a new set of tools but also enhances Illustrator’s existing features. Designers use it for branding, animation, print, web, fashion, font creation, and cartography.

Working with vectors becomes much easier and faster than before, with users reporting 45% time saved on average.

Key features:

  • Dynamic Shapes Tool
  • Dynamic Corners Tool
  • Smart point removal brush
  • Extend paths and reposition points
  • Path editing and the clockwork method

Pricing:

  • VectorScribe is part of the Astute Graphics collection of 20 Adobe Illustrator plugins starting from $119/year for a single user.

Fontself

Fontself Maker is an Adobe Illustrator extension that lets you quickly turn any shape or lettering into OpenType fonts. Simply drag and drop any letter, icon, or symbol to the Fontself Maker panel to create a font.

Key features:

  • Alternates: Drag and drop as many alternative shapes as you want for your glyphs and add a unique touch to your designs.
  • Ligatures: Create ligatures or illustrated words to enrich your fonts.
  • Auto Spacing & Kerning: Define your glyphs metrics by setting accurate values, dragging metrics lines, or importing metrics from another font.
  • Color Fonts: Create OpenType-SVG fonts that feature colors, shades, gradients, and opacity.

Pricing:

 

Select Menu

Select Menu is a free plugin for Adobe Illustrator (CS6 through 2020) that adds 25 items to the Select->Object menu. 

Illustrator can’t determine the difference between open and closed paths. But with Select Menu, you can easily select all types of paths, plus the following items:

  • Legacy Text Objects
  • Path Text Objects
  • Guides
  • Paths
  • Open Paths
  • Closed Paths
  • Filled Paths
  • Unfilled Paths
  • Stroked Paths
  • Unstroked Paths
  • Dashed Paths
  • Undashed Paths
  • Compound Paths
  • Styled Art
  • Unstyled Art
  • Opaque Art
  • Transparent Art
  • Symbols
  • Groups
  • Live Objects
  • Gradient Meshes
  • Raster Art
  • Placed Art
  • Graphs
  • Plugin Art

Pricing:

  • Free!

 

Cineware for Illustrator

The Cineware for Illustrator plugin lets you add and edit 3D objects directly within Adobe Illustrator. It uses the same powerful 3D engine as Maxon’s Sci-Tech award-winning Cinema 4D, allowing you to apply your label artwork to 3D packaging or integrate 3D elements seamlessly into your 2D artwork.

Key features:

  • Objects: Rotate, position, and show/hide individual 3D objects from any Cinema 4D scene in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Materials: Adjust the color, transparency, reflection, luminance, and bump within Adobe Illustrator. You can even apply vector artwork to the surface of 3D models.
  • Cameras: Select one of the pre-set cameras or choose your preferred viewing angle.
  • Lights: Adjust the brightness and color of lights to set a mood and emphasize shapes.

Pricing:

  • Free!

Magic Exporter

Magic Exporter streamlines the process of exporting artwork objects from AI to web-ready PNG files for all devices and screens.

It’s easy for designers to lose valuable time when exporting objects because they have to manually slice or hide layers to export only what they need. But with Magic Exporter, you can mark the object you want and export it using the special menu.

Magic Exporter also allows you to automatically create several PNG copies of the same object scaled to different screen sizes.

Pricing:

 

Texturino

Texturino is a time-saving plugin that lets you apply texture effects simply by painting over an image. It also comes with an opacity brush to mask various elements.

Key features:

  • Texture Tool: Add one or more raster-based textures as a live effect to filled paths, live text, gradient meshes, and raster objects.
  • Texture Brush Tool: Brush in or out one or more textures to remove portions of them or make them fade out.
  • Opacity Brush Tool: Brush an opacity mask quickly and naturally. 
  • Texture Manager: Organize all your imported textures: renaming, assigning categories, favoriting, deleting, and exporting.
  • Textures: Includes a comprehensive set of high-quality repeating, non-repeating, and grunge textures.

Pricing:

  • Texturino is part of the Astute Graphics collection of 20 Adobe Illustrator plugins available from $119/year for a single user. 

 

Mandala Creator Pro

Mandala Creator Pro is an Illustrator plugin that helps you create intricate, mandala-style line drawings. It comes with over 170 patterns, so you can either create your own designs or combine existing patterns. There's also a narrated video tutorial to help you get started!

You can use Mandala Creator Pro to create wall stickers, logos, coloring book designs, cut files, t-shirt designs, and more. After you've made the mandala, you can adjust the stroke, color it, or rasterize it and live trace it.

Pricing: 

  • Complete License, Single seat: $12

 

DynamicSketch

DynamicSketch is an intuitive vector sketching plugin for AI.

It gives you better control by taking the best elements of the native Pencil Tool, Shaper Tool, Join Tool, Paintbrush Tool, Width Tool, and Blob Brush Tool and combining them into one natural, streamlined drawing toolbox. 

You can sketch with uniform and variable width strokes using a mouse, trackpad, Wacom, Surface Pro, and other devices. And the Trim and Join Tool lets you trim and automatically join intersecting paths. Plus, there’s a Settings Manager for saving and loading personalized settings and files.

Pricing:

  • DynamicSketch is part of the Astute Graphics collection of 20 Adobe Illustrator plugins available from $119/year for a single user. 

 

PosterPress

PosterPress is a finely crafted plugin for Illustrator by Ian Barnard that allows you to give your designs the look of an old-time travel poster or vintage postcard.

The plugin includes:

  • PosterPress Photo Action. 
  • PosterPress Roughen Type Effect Action. 
  • 18 x Vector Textures (subtle flecks, Rough Ink, Halftone, Paper Folds). 
  • 13 x Brand New Travel Photographs by Adam Barlow of Donal Design.

Pricing: 

  • Commercial License: $20

 

SymmetryWorks

Artlandia SymmetryWorks is a specialist plugin for making repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator a hundred times faster, better, and more imaginatively. 

Creating complex patterns in Ai is tricky. But SymmetryWorks lets you create such designs and can save you hours on each pattern you make. 

That’s why it’s popular with surface and textile designers, interior decorators, stationery developers, web designers, illustrators, sculptors, fine artists, and everyone who creates patterns.

Pricing: 

  • SymmetryWorks 6 = $249
  • SymmetryWorks 6LP = $364

 

Magic Isometry Light

Magic Isometry Light is a handy Illustrator plugin that makes it easy to create isometric drawings. It operates as a compact panel in Ai, and you use it to add isometric projections to your flat shapes. 

Key features:

  • Mount Function: Combines isometric projections properly.
  • Make All Function: Creates isometry with one click.
  • Symmetry Function: Creates symmetrical designs fast.
  • Reverse Function: Turns your isometric design back into a flat image.
  • Arrows: Moves objects in the isometric system of axes.
  • Coefficient W: For width adjustment.

Pricing: $7 

 

Pattern Studio

Pattern Studio comes with brushes, symbols, swatches, and actions so that you can create and customize your own rustic, artisanal borders and patterns.

The plugin is perfect for your designs, greeting cards, scrapbooks, and more. Plus, with the SwatchCrafter and BorderCrafter actions, you can customize the pattern tiles, run the action, and start designing with your new brush or swatch.

Pricing: 

  • Commercial License: $20

 

VectorGlitch

VectorGlitch lets you instantly add a glitched style to your vector art using raster-based distortion. Choose from 60 pure-vector graphic styles that are infinitely scalable and remain editable after being applied. You can use the Illustrator plugin on symbols, icons, illustrations, or anything else.

Pricing:

  • Complete License, Single seat: $19

 

Phantasm

Phantasm bridges the gap between Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so you can easily adjust vector artwork, text, effects, and embedded images with curves and other essential controls without using two programs. 

It consists of three core components to make light work of much sought-after vector halftones, duotones, and tricky color adjustments. 

Key features:

  • Vector Halftones: Quickly create a 100% scalable halftone effect based on any underlying artwork.
  • Color adjustments: Get instant access to 12 color adjustments via the new Phantasm Panel.
  • Live effects: Apply all adjustments as live effects to ensure a smooth, non-destructive workflow.
  • Photoshop-compatible settings: Select from Curves (including pencil mode), Duotone, Exposure, Hue/Saturation, Levels.

Pricing:

  • Phantasm is part of the Astute Graphics collection of 20 Adobe Illustrator plugins available from $119/year for a single user. 

 

Watercolor Fantasies Quick Styles

Watercolor Fantasies Quick Styles includes 140 seamless raster pattern swatches for Illustrator. Each main pattern comes in light and intense style, and 30 also have an extra “fantasy style”.

You can make any size design without having to adjust a thing. Simply apply with one click, and the plugin uses the color already on your vector as the base color. Plus, you can change the color or style at any time via the Appearance panel.

Pricing:

  • Commercial License, Single Seat: $22

 

FILTERiT

The FILTERiT plugin is a suite of tools, filters, and effects for Adobe Illustrator that lets you create simple to complex images in a matter of seconds. Some results would simply be impossible to make without the plugin.

Live 3D Path Filters:

The Live 3D Path filters enable your object to transform into a sphere, spiral, donut, or cylinder:

  • Arc
  • Cylinder/Cone
  • Screw
  • Simple Rotation
  • Sphere
  • Spiral
  • Torus(Donut)
  • Twirl
  • Twist
  • Wave(Radial)
  • Wave(H/V)
  • Wave(Z)

Live Effects:

The Live Effects are fully editable objects, so any changes to the original object are reflected in the Live Effect applied.  You can also use the Live Effects in conjunction with the Tools

  • Live 3D Path
  • Live Border
  • Live Circle
  • Live Cutout
  • Live Emboss
  • Live Explosion
  • Live Frame
  • Live Galaxy
  • Live Generation
  • Live Neon
  • Live Reflections
  • Live Shadow
  • Live Symbol Path
  • Live Tiling
  • Live Trail

Tools:

The versatile tools cover everything from a simple alignment of anchor points to duplication, distortion of selected objects, and replication along a path while maintaining the space, angle, shape, and color of the copies. 

  • Warp Tool 
  • Wave Tool 
  • Lens Tool
  • Craft Tool  
  • Roughening Tool 
  • Broom Tool

Pricing: $129

 

Which Illustrator Plugins Are You Going to Try?

With so many Adobe Illustrator plugins to choose from, it can get a little overwhelming. 

It all comes down to identifying what’s affecting your workflow and output most and choosing the plugin to solve that problem.

  • Are you looking for 3D capabilities?
  • Do you need to extend the functionality with more fonts, patterns, or textures?
  • Are you bogged down in the review and approval process?

Identify your most pressing needs and then choose the best Illustrator plugins to address them.

If you still haven’t tried Ziflow, now’s a great time to see what modern content review and approval looks like. Sign up for a free trial and see how the Ziflow plugin for Illustrator makes your day so much easier.

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