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The ultimate battle: Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD6 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes A comparison between the most popular design tools to help you choose what works best for you

The ultimate battle: Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD

The ultimate battle: Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD6 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are some big contenders out there today when it comes to UX/UI design. So how do you know which one to learn and use? In this article, we outline the major differences between the design tools and analyze the benefits of each one, to help you decide.

First came Sketch

When UX and UI first started to make noise on the design scene, Sketch was the first choice for designers. When it was first released, it changed the game for design. Two years post-release, it was received Apple’s Design Award.

But in the past few years, Sketch has not been the only design tool of its kind. Competitors such as Figma and Adobe XD have made their mark in the design world in terms of global market share and features. These three tools have a lot of pros in common, but they have their differences too. So, with that in mind let’s step right into the comparisons.

Sketch vs Figma vs Adobe XD: pros and cons

Sketch

Sketch is a vector graphics editor that was released into the world in  September 2010 for macOS and won the Apple Design Award in 2012. 

Pros:

  • Easy to learn – in no time you can become a Sketch pro
  • Instant preview – you can preview your designs easily on a mobile device
  • Integration –  you can integrate tools such as InVision for collaboration
  • Supports over 1000 plugins – you can use plugins such as Anima to get code for designs
  • Great for UI/UX design
  • Great for mockups and wireframing

Cons:

  • It is only available for macOS
  • Prototyping is very basic
  • Real-time collaboration is limited and in closed Beta only now
  • Has a cloud-based code only inspection option

Figma

Figma made its appearance in 2016 with a backing of $14M, bringing to the table a user-friendly interface and feature palette that caused a stir in the community. With a focus on product design, it has rapidly grown to be a favorite for prototyping. It boasts a user base with the likes of Twitter, Microsoft, GitHub, and Dropbox.

 Pros:

  • Web-based – this means it runs on any browser, including ChromeOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows
  • Collaboration – a real-time collaboration with other designers
  • Supports plugins – letting you do pretty much anything you need with your designs
  • Great for UI/UX designing
  • Advanced prototyping – with cool features such as transition and interactive components, among other advanced prototyping options.
    You can take this to the next level by making your designs high-fidelity and responsive in Figma with
    Anima
  • Sharing inspect tool for developer
  • Autolayout feature – you can create responsive and content-aware designs easily with this layers feature

Cons:

  • Limited offline option – it is a browser-based platform, and although there is an option to work offline and it syncs once you are back online, this is limited and only available for windows you have opened before going offline
  • Requires a certain amount of RAM and good graphics cards – Figma only runs on a system that is 4GB of RAM or more

Adobe XD

Adobe XD was released in October 2017. It is a vector-based user experience design tool, allowing designers to create designs for web apps, mobile apps, and voice apps.

Pros:

  • Available for macOS and Windows
  • Preview on mobile devices – there is an iOS and Android  version, allowing you to preview your work directly on mobile and tablet devices 
  • Simple to use
  • Supports website wireframing 
  • Greate prototyping ability – very good transitions and interactive components. Because it is an Adobe tool, there is really good technology behind Adobe XD therefore it has a really good rendering engine
  • Record videos of your prototypes
  • Repeat Grid feature – simply drag one grid with repeat grid command on it, and it will place the other grid right after it automatically
  • Supports Anima plugin – export CSS for your designs within Anima with the plugin
  • Layout feature – creating an auto-layout frame around objects
  • Voice audio recording – with this feature you can record audio conversation applications and this is unique to Adobe XD

Cons:

  • Preview prototype – you can only preview prototypes on mobile with macOS
  • No real-time collaboration
  • The layout feature is not as progressive as Figma

App comparison overview:

Prototyping:

  • Figma ✓ 
  • Sketch ✓ 
  • Adobe XD ✓ 

You can prototype with all three design tools, and all of them support the Anima plugin allowing users to create responsive and interactive prototypes as well as convert them to code.

Offline:

  • Figma ✕ 
  • Sketch ✓ 
  • Adobe XD ✓ 

This is an important feature for saving your information when Wifi goes down, and also allows for full access to use, and save your work offline. 

Platform:

  • Figma – works in your browser so you access it anywhere from any operating system
  • Sketch – supported only for macOS
  • Adobe XD – works for both macOS and Windows

Although Sketch has gained popularity, it forces designers to use macOS. Sketch has its own handoff via web, but it’s not always how every developer wants to work. If you are an avid Sketch user, you can send the files to your developer and they can use the Sketch import feature that Anima has to gain access to the design, even without macOS.

Pricing:

Cost is a big deal when you are using your own resources, especially when you will need other platforms and tools for collaboration, handoff, etc.

  • Sketch
    • $9 per month – there is a yearly fee to get the latest updates
  • Figma 
    • Free for individual users, and up to 3 projects
    • Unlimited projects and teams $12 per month (billed annually)
  • Adobe XD 
    • Free starter plan – includes unlimited use of design and prototyping features, as well as exporting assets for production, and use of both cloud and local documents. Limited to:
      • Export designs to PDF up to two times
      • Export video recordings of prototypes up to two times (macOS only)
    • Paid plans start at $11.89 per month

Collaboration:

Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than every other day having to send (and receive) “version 2.0” and “version 2.1 final”, “versions 2.2.final.with.edits”. Working together as you go really helps with this. Think of it as the Google docs of the UI design world.

  • Figma ✓ – this is Figma’s strong suit being web-based
  • Sketch ✓ – Sketch now supports real-time collaboration feature
  • Adobe XD  ✓ – real-time coediting is available 
Collaborating in Figma, Adobe XD & Sketch with Anima

Collaborating in Figma, Adobe XD & Sketch with Anima

Wrapping it up

There’s no denying that Sketch has the biggest disadvantage in that it is only available for macOS. In contrast Figma and Adobe XD open the door to more users. 

In terms of design tools, Adobe XD gives the option of responsive prototyping while Sketch does not have this option. The web-based approach that Figma has taken, is also not something to dismiss easily. 

Of all the tools, Figma has best understood the needs of the user, offering real-time collaboration, prototyping, etc. So the rapid growth of this platform is no surprise.

Anima’s role in helping you choose

Where possible, people much prefer to work in one place to design, prototype, collaborate, handoff, and so on. With the Anima platform (and design tool plugins that connect to it), designers can use their own design tool of choice for its comfort, familiarity, pricing, and features. It really doesn’t matter which of these design tool you use when it comes to Anima, because at the end of the day you can all work together to create responsive and interactive prototypes, collaborate, and have a smooth handoff (getting component-based code all in one place).

Find out more about Anima

 

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Marketing Content Manager

An avid writer and a research machine. Passionate for telling the story behind every product. An extrovert and a people person. Loves nothing more than a good ol’ pamper day.

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