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Affinity Designer unveils cool new features

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Big news from the Affinity Designer team! No, it’s not out on Windows yet (they’re still working on that). They’ve introduced two new features that will make working with Affinity Designer a bit easier.

The first is one we’re all somewhat familiar with: symbols. In this case, symbols are objects of which there can be more than one instance. Edit one, and you edit them all. It’s great for designing repeating content like image galleries.

Most of the big graphics and design applications have some version of this feature, and it’s good to see Affinity Designer follow suit. it can take a lot of the pain out of editing lots of objects.

The really big news, however is going to bring joy anyone who has ever had to mock up a responsive design. Basically, the you can now apply constraints to any object based on a “parent” object. You know, like browsers do automatically.

Basically, once you set up a parent object (such as a background) and some smaller objects (buttons, text boxes, etc.), you can define how those smaller objects will react when the parent object is resized. You can set them to stretch and contract, or just move relative to one edge of the object, or redistribute themselves to stay centered.

And sure, setting all of this up is a bit of work, but then you can duplicate these objects onto a new art board, and they will automatically, responsively change to match the new “screen size”.

Okay, have a look for yourself:

Yeah. It’s cool. There hasn’t been anything like this in any point ’n’ click graphics or design application that I have seen to date. Not since the invention of vector graphics themselves have I seen anything quite so useful to UI designers. Well, to the ones that don’t design in the browser, anyway.

This feature makes Affinity Designer a worthy contender in the responsive design space, which makes me all the more excited to see the application go cross-platform.

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