Designing SVG with Inkscape

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

SVG looks set to be the future of web graphics — the distant future, perhaps, as it’s not yet supported by IE without a plugin. Opera’s Chief Web Opener, David Storey, announced on his blog recently that future builds of Opera will support SVG on the CSS background-image declaration. This is very good news, and the potential for scalable layouts is exciting.

The best tool for creating SVG files that I know of is the free, open source, Inkscape, which has just released version 0.45. Inkscape is similar to Illustrator or Freehand; it’s not as polished as these commercial releases but is still very powerful and capable of producing stunning effects. And — crucially — its native format is SVG.

There are a plenty of tutorials available on the web, and the latest Linux Format magazine has an archive of tutorials (in PDF) on the included DVD. A good opportunity to start practising your skills in preparation for its full implementation.

Gecko, Webkit and Opera-based browsers currently support SVG natively, while IE requires a plugin — no definitive news yet on whether it will be implemented at a later date, but the signs are hopeful.

Update: Just realised that Safari doesn’t support SVG as native, but it does come with an integrated Adobe plugin to view.

1 comment on
“Designing SVG with Inkscape”

  1. Renesis has just released the 0.5 version of their SVG plug-in.
    I haven’t tested it. I have it linked from