SVG Subscription

I was just messing around with some other features of Lunacy while waiting on a render in Blender to finish, and happened to click on an icon I imported and saw the “Vectorize” button (I think that’s what it said, anyway), so for fun I went ahead and click it and was brought to a subscription screen. Of course, today, everything is a god awful subscription. For companies, they’re great, but for us, the end-user, they’re terrible.

Anyway, I was looking at what the subscription was for, and best I could tell was you got a monthly allotment of icons, images, and a few other perks, which is pretty cool I guess, until I saw the price. $30 a month?! I’m not sure the value proposition is there, to be honest. With sites like Pexels and Unsplash for images, Heroicons (or the millions of other free icon repos), that covers those. For $20 a month, I could get a subscription to Photoshop + Lightroom, and that takes care of my background removal, or I could spend a one-time fee of $70 and buy Affinity Photo 2 which includes all of the previously mentioned resources and features.

Am I missing something? $30 is a lot for a subscription. I could get Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max for that kind of money and have change leftover. Please don’t take this as me trying to be mean or discourage. I’m just trying to understand where that valuation is coming from. Does that $30 per month include a multi-user team license or something as well? If not, then that’s another subscription on top of an already quite expensive one. I love Lunacy, and I definitely want to see you guys make money. Hell, I just finally converted my entire Figma library over to Lunacy, but seeing things like “background removal” in an app that’s aimed at UI/UX design feels weird.

I think a Lunacy Pro version, with a ONE-TIME fee (sorry, no one will ever convince me subscriptions are a good thing) of like $50-$70, and then offer a small subscription for some of the smaller features would be much more enticing.

One of my favorite companies is Image-Line, as they offer FL Studio at several different tiers (each tier offering more features than the last), but you only buy it once with free upgrades for life. They then offer sample packs and sound packs for their plugins to continue making money off of those customers who already bought FL Studio. They don’t have any subscriptions, and they’re one of the biggest music production companies on the planet. Same deal with Ableton Live.

I don’t know. I keep finding these great companies who build fantastic applications that start out great, but then subscriptions get introduced, and then subscription prices steadily increase. Figma used to have a great free tier, and then out of no where, they switched it up so even if you were a solo, non-team user, you were limited to how many projects you could create. Then I just got fed up with their lack of offline support, and then Adobe bought them out and I knew it was time to bounce.

No idea anymore what the point of this post was. I guess what it boils down to is, please don’t add superfluous features that don’t fit just to make a buck. No one minds buying software if it makes sense. In my UI/UX tool, I don’t need background removal, and I don’t need a little green button that I can’t hide popping up every time I click an image. I love Lunacy, but I also loved Figma. Please don’t pull a Figma.

First off, thank you for a very sincere and thorough post, Travis! As a person who has multiple active subscriptions to different services myself, I totally get your frustration with everything being subscription-based nowadays. However, in some cases, this pricing policy is a pure necessity and not some deliberate marketing move. Let me explain why it’s true about Lunacy.

Lunacy is an app which offers most of its functionality for free. I think you can agree with me that this functionality is not some watered-down demo stuff, but quite a vast collection of features that you can use to create real projects. We have a large team which is dedicated solely to Lunacy. They’re constantly releasing updates, fixing bugs, introducing new features – you name it.

That kind of support and dedication requires a lot of resources. However, since Lunacy is a free app, we need to find ways to support its development and growth. One of our main revenue streams are visual assets like icons and illustrations. We need to sell them in order to keep Lunacy the way it is right now – constantly developing, having a ton of features and, of course, free.

That’s why we offer access to some of the formats of our assets with a paid subscription. We view those libraries as a bonus feature that you don’t have to use if you don’t want to – it’s always possible to get SVG icons somewhere else. So that’s why we’ve decided that selling those extra features on a subscription basis will be an honest and logical way to support Lunacy.

Sorry for such a long rant. I hope that I cleared up some points that you brought up in your post! To sum it up, we won’t pull a Figma, because Lunacy is not our main source of income – visual assets are.

P.S. The subscription that you’ve mentioned costs $19.99 a month and includes access to all formats of icons, illustrations and photos, plus AI tools like Background Remover and Smart Upscaler. I truly believe that it’s a bang for its buck considering the time that you will save on switching between multiple apps and the quality of assets that we’re offering :raised_hands:

Heya Alex,

I’ve included a screenshot of the subscription to which I was referring to which is $30, not $19.99.

And I don’t see your post as a rant. I see it as a dialogue, which is perfectly fine with me. I think what really bothers me about it (besides the $30 subscription cost) is seeing things that don’t fit. The “Upscale Image” button that you can’t hide, that’s something you’d find in Photoshop or Affinity Photo 2 (and thusly, you do find that in those applications). However, they’re also not vector tools designed specifically to create web and app mockups, like Lunacy is. Seeing “Icons, Photos, Illustrations, UI Kits” makes sense, if you’re the kind of designer who uses prefabs, but a lot of us don’t. In that case, it just becomes bloat.

I think what Figma did so well was it stayed focused. It didn’t have anything it didn’t need. Lunacy used to be closer to that. I’ve been following and using Lunacy on and off for years, literally. My review (though updated) was one of the first on the Microsoft Store. Of course, this is all subjective. What I want in a vector based UI tool is completely different than what someone else might want in a vector based UI tool.

My fear is we’re going to see more of these “Upscale Image” type features, which have nothing to do with being a vector based UI tool, as Lunacy progresses until we basically end up with something like Photoshop. I think one issue is UI tools don’t require very much. We need boolean operators, shapes, guides, color palettes, and snapping. So, then you’re stuck trying to find ways to add other features that you can charge for.

But, at the end of the day, it’s not my company, and it’s not my application. I think you guys have done a wonderful job with Lunacy, even with the inclusion of features I don’t particularly agree with. But I am a software engineer and have been for 20+ years. I’ve seen plenty of great pieces of software get ruined by the need to cram as many features into it as possible just to keep the business model going. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen here because you guys are on to something really great.

Maybe that’s a lot, indeed.

Who wants secondary functions like upscaling and background removing anyway? They are nice to have, but if not, they are available nearly free over the internet; one just have to google well.

Our most popular asset subscriptions are

  • $13 for icons and
  • $19 for icons + illustrations.

That’s what we should offer above all.

Now about the cloud storage: we have to charge for it because it’s expensive. Even after optimizing everything, blobs like embedded bitmaps generate a hosting bill every month. We’d be cheaper than Figma here, in part, because our data structure is better optimized.

On the other part, we won’t charge for local files. Also, we won’t remove this functionality of course.

Keeping the expense structure in mind, how would you set the paywalls?

Heya Ivan,

Firstly, I absolutely agree about charging for cloud storage-related products. Cloud storage is insanely expensive, so you’ve definitely got my support on that front! :smiley:

I’ll be the first to admit that I am no business expert. All I can give is my opinion based on my experience as a heavy PC user (14-18 hours a day for the better part of 37 years), a software engineer, and a UI/UX designer. Bearing all of that in mind…

The way I see it, you’ve got 3 types of users for software like Lunacy. First, you’ve got folks like me. We don’t like fluff. Anything that takes focus away from the task at hand is but an annoyance, and that can be frustrating. Take Adobe XD for example. In 99% of other vector based UI tools, if you click and drag to draw a shape, as soon as you release the mouse button, it should switch back to the move tool, however; in Adobe XD, this was not the case. It would just stay on the rectangle tool, and that was enough for me to get rid of it. It might not seem like much, but it’s an extra step in my process now that wasn’t there before. Instead of drawing the rectangle and being able to move it, or do whatever I want, now I have to draw it, and then either hit another hotkey or use the mouse to switch to the move tool and then I can do what I was going to do. That is silly, especially for a UI/UX tool. Everyone in the UI/UX world knows that the goal is to make the experience as painless as possible, whatever it may be. In a lot of cases, that’s eliminating as many clicks as possible. If there is a way to do something in 1 or 2 clicks, don’t make it take 3 or 4.

The second type is just your more casual user. They’re not really a UI/UX designer or graphic designer. Maybe they just use it seldomly to create simple graphics for work presentations or updating icons for their website. They might buy something related to the software if it’s a one-time purchase, but usually not, and they definitely won’t buy a subscription simply due to the fact they don’t use it enough.

And the third, and last type is the UI/UX/graphic designer who focuses primarily on speed, and isn’t concerned with creating everything from scratch if they don’t have to. I feel like these are the types who will happily purchase a subscription for icons, photos, fonts, and more if it can save them time.

So, for now, let’s refer to these 3 types as A, B and C (in the order they’re mentioned).

I believe you guys can ignore B. They’re really not your target demo. But A and C are perfect if the model is right.

C is already going to purchase a Lunacy subscription considering the amount of assets it makes available to them, which allows them to save time. But A (my category), there has to be really good value for that to even be a consideration. Me, personally? I don’t care to buy a subscription for access to icons and photos. The free resources on the web (Pexels, Heroicons, etc) are plenty for me in that regard. Not to mention, the application would have to be perfect before I’d get a subscription.

Lunacy has about 4-5 things off the top of my head that would keep me from buying one (if I was going to). The biggest being it’s still (even in the beta) so choppy when panning around. Figma and Sketch are both smooth as ice, but Lunacy isn’t there yet. Also, the fact the outlines don’t disappear when tweaking layer properties, which makes it really hard to see what a shadow or border looks like without deselecting the layer, looking at it, tweaking it, deselecting, rinse and repeat. There are definitely more things that make me feel Lunacy isn’t ready for primetime yet.

But let’s say it was. All the bugs are fixed, and all of the features I want are there. You’re still not going to get a subscription out of me. One, because most of us have way too damn many of them as it is. It’s tough to justify another one, especially for a piece of software that isn’t up-to-par with the current standard (Figma, in this case). Two, because Lunacy’s subscription model is confusing. I shared a screenshot showing it was $30 a month for me, but then someone on the Lunacy team told me it was $19.99, but then there’s the other subscription if you want to have a team account. Then there is the issue of keeping projects organized, which you can’t really do without a cloud subscription because you can only create cloud-based files in the Projects section, otherwise when you create local files, you’re relegated to using the file system (which is fine, but it’d be nice to keep everything concise). Seeing the Upscale Image or Vectorize buttons popup every time I click on certain elements drives me nuts, because I don’t want those features, but I can’t disable them. The Icon packs, images, vector illustrations, and ready-made UI kits are of no interest to me, but I can’t turn those off, either. Yes, I know I can just ignore them by not clicking them, but they’re “still” there, taking up UI space, taking up space in my brain, taking up memory.

So, I’ve ranted about why I hate subscriptions, and why certain types of folks won’t use them either. So, does that mean I hate paying for software? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I love paying for software, because supporting the people who took the time to build these wonderful tools deserve it, 100%. Which is why if Lunacy offered a one-time payment option which included some other features, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Lunacy Pro. It could offer more UI customization (let me turn off the Upscale Image, Vectorize, Icons, Photos, Illustrations, Ready-made UI kits AND the Share buttons so I never have to seem them again, access to dev builds to test new features, uhh… not really sure what else could go in there yet. But it’d be like Serif. I bought the Affinity Universal License, $169.99, and got Designer 2, Photo 2, and Publisher 2, plus the iPad versions, which allowed me to get rid of Adobe’s $20/month for Photoshop and Lightroom. Serif will still make money from people who bought the Universal license, because they sell brush sets and addons. The addons are all one-time purchase extras, and while some of them are simply brushes or stock photos, others are really useful like shadow generators, or illustration generators. They’re basically new tools within the tool to help augment each other.

I have one last example of why I can’t stand subscriptions (I mean, I have 1000 more, but my fingers are getting tired). I also produce music, and have for the past 20 or so years. Recently, a lot of software companies that produce music-related software and plugins have began going the subscription route. The problem is, let’s say I subscribe to a plugin but I only need it for 1 or 2 songs. I produce those 1 or 2 songs, release them, and cancel the subscription. Not a big deal, right? Well, now it’s a year later and the record label wants me to create a remix album. So, I go and load up the old projects and boom, nothing’s working. Because I have a project that now relies on an active subscription to exist, the project is all jacked up. Maybe the company doesn’t even exist anymore and the activation servers for the subscription are gone, so even if I wanted to re-up it, I couldn’t. That entire project is toast.

Phew, okay. I’ve typed enough, and I have no idea if any of this is helpful. I didn’t wanna just type out a one-paragraph reply as this is a topic I’m highly interested in. As someone who opposes companies who implement subscriptions for literally everything (I know you guys don’t do that, I’m simply referring to those who do), I’d love to work with companies to help find a way to use them less often. I’m not alone in my disdain towards them, either. I know plenty of folks who’d happily buy software outright if that was an option. With Lunacy, I understand it’s trickier because what kind of features could you offer to make a pro verison? Besides the UI stuff I mentioned earlier, I definitely believe it’d be a tricky task, but one I still think is worth exploring.

Anyway, as usual, thank you for creating Lunacy. It’s a wonderful piece of kit, and I do look forward to watching it evolve. And also, thank you for the open-dialogue about it, and not being too overly protective or taking offense to any criticisms, as they all come from a place of love. I definitely want to be able to use the best UI tool available, and I’m sure you guys want to build the best UI tool available, so our goal is the same.

Have a lovely rest of your weekend.

Best Regards,

Wow, that was helpful.

So, todo list:

  • polish everything: fix bugs, improvements, do more usability testing, listen to people like you and do what they say
  • remove annoying action buttons for upscale/etc, or make a way to switch them off
  • organize local files into projects
  • make an alternative for subscriptions.

Wait, the last one, I don’t know. We’d need to sell version upgrades then, and that incentivizes users to stay with old buggy software hating us and raising support costs.

Anyway, that was super helpful. Can we give you a paid subscription? I know, you hate it, but we don’t have anything else so far. Your time is worth much more of course; please take it as a humble gesture of appreciation of all you’ve done for us.


Am I actually being helpful or am I just causing you guys distress? Haha. I really hope nothing I said came off as mean. Definitely not my intent. if I can help build the best UI tool out there, then I’m definitely going to help because that helps me as well.

You don’t always need to listen to people (especially people like me, ha) and do what they say. At the end of the day, you guys know what you want Lunacy to be just as much as we know what we’d like it to be. But it’s your baby, we’re just here to use the tool and get the most out of it. I simply recommended things that might help, but it doesn’t mean they will. Some people don’t care that much as long as the tool does what it says on the tin, I just happen to be much more particular when it comes to the tools I use.

And I would never call the buttons “annoying” or “bad.” They might annoy me, but that doesn’t make them annoying. It’s just something linked to a feature that I would never use, so if I could disable them, that’d be helpful. Again, I like the UI in any app I’m working in to be hyper focused on the job at hand.

As for local projects and files, if there was some interface around creating a project or team (non-cloud based) in Lunacy, and a way for us to create files under that team or project, but keep it local, that’d be awesome. The cloud version is cool because you can organize everything so well, and finding files becomes super easy. I know it’ll be a weird experience since local files have to interact with the users file system, so I’m not entirely sure what the best approach for that would be but it would definitely be cool if it wasn’t just a cloud based perk.

The last one is definitely tricky. So, the best example I can think of is Ableton Live 11. Every major version, you pay for an upgrade. However, they do support bug fixes for a period of time after the next major version releases for those who aren’t ready to upgrade. Trying to think…

If I bought “Lunacy Pro” for say… $50 (we’ll call it version 1.0 to make it easy), and 12 months later, Lunacy Pro V2 releases, for an upgrade fee of $20 or something but I’m still happy with the features in V 1.0, I’d think as long as there aren’t any groundbreaking bugs, that shouldn’t be an issue. And any bug fixes that come with version 2 could be backported to version 1. The same way we use git to separate features, bugfixes, etc, if you kept bugfixes separate from features, it’d make it quite a bit easier to include them in version 1. But it’s not a permanent thing. I think users would understand if they only got a few months of bugfixes after the release of a major release for a previous release, as spreading resources to work on 2 versions (and then 3 version, then 4, etc) just isn’t feasible. A lot of companies offer discounts when upgrading for a few months after a new version releases to entice more people to make the jump. You could also tie in your subscriptions as well.

If I was a user who never bought Lunacy Pro, because I had a subscription to Lunacy (or one of Icon8’s services), you could throw Lunacy Pro in with it, so as long as a subscription is being paid, they’re getting the latest and greatest in terms of updates, bugfixes, etc.

If I was a user who bought Lunacy Pro v1, but wanted to upgrade to v2, I could pay one-time upgrade fee, or just get a subscription (maybe at a discount since I paid for v1 outright or something).

You’re right, though. it’d definitely be a confusing path to figure out. This would probably explain why Figma never went that route with a pro version or something similar. I mean, if it’s not possible, it’s not possible. The only reason I suggested it is because it’s a way for me to support Lunacy, but I don’t have to add another subscription service. But figuring out what to give users in return is the tricky part since you already get so much without a subscription or without paying for anything. Yeah, I don’t know on that one. Would have to spend some time thinking about it.

For me, personally - some UI updates where I can hide stuff I’ll never use, a fix for the panning issue (which seems to only occur on Windows. My MacBook Pro, panning is butter smooth, as I tested this earlier today compared to Figma, they’re just about the same), importing SVG’s needs some work as they come in broken sometimes, lines don’t match up, and for some reason, they come in white at 0% opacity, but only in Lunacy. They import normally in every other app, so seems like it’s just a bug somewhere. And the node system for the pen tool, which I know is being worked on and also, it’s not an easy one to do at all. I know that because Figma was so proud of it when they did it, so it definitely must be challenging to do.

But those things would make Lunacy tip-top for me and what I do. The smoother it runs and the less UI that isn’t relevant to what I’m doing getting in my way, the more time I can spend in it getting lost in the work.

If there is anything else I can do to help, feel free to reach out. And I can’t accept the subscription. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer, or that I’m not interested in it or anything like that, but at the end of the day, the better Lunacy is, the better my experience is going to be. So, if I can come here and offer advice or opinions to help make a tool that I use daily even better? Then it’s not a waste of time to me at all. I’m excited about the future of Lunacy and I’m thankful that it has such a great, responsive team behind it. I have no doubt that it’ll take over as a mainstay for the world of UI/UX tools.

Best Regards,


Hi Travis, some great ideas here. As you say, we don’t need to always listen to people, but your ideas are great.


We met yesterday and decided to drop the subscription price to $4-5/mo. It will include the cloud and AI tools.

Subscription vs upgrade

No matter the price, that’s better than maintaining version 1 and version 2. Fixing bugs in two versions is hell, and here’s why. The nature of Lunacy is a degree of freedom; it’s not a typical web app:

  • We have more QA engineers than developers.
  • One of the OKRs was “Decrease the running rate of bugs from 400 to 150”
  • We’re fixing hundreds of bugs each two-week sprint.

Doubling this effort over supported versions is hell. Even trying to reproduce users’ problems over supported versions makes supporting it problematic.

Sketch went this way; not anymore.


There’s the reason for that (typography). We’re rewriting it from scratch. It will be smooth in 9.1.


We may be unaware of that (I did a quick search in JIRA), so we’d appreciate example SVGs as a separate thread here in the forum. By the way, we will publish our backlog.

Node tool

That’s not compatible with Sketch. We use .sketch as our primary format.

Enormous thanks for your input. I’m still thinking about it. Great, great ideas, many thanks again.

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