34

Sketch, Figma or Adobe XD?

over 2 years ago from , Designer

Ive been using Sketch since the start of learning UI/UX. I think I was blessed to have not had to switch from another platform. Until now....

I have recently dabbed my fingers in Figma (So far so... Ok.) I like it. Pretty quick, and a much simpler UI to work with. And most recently Ive also worked in Adobe XD. SUPER CLEAN. SUPER QUICK. I love that.

After working in both Figma, and XD, I have quickly began second thinking working in Sketch full time. At least for me, Sketch seems slightly bloated, especially when you start adding in all these plugins. Dare I say slow...? (FYI I have a speced out 2016 Macbook Pro) I should't have a problem running multiple art-boards..

I know Figma and XD are TECHNICALLY still in BETA. But shouldn't that be turning heads every further?? What happens when they are fully launched? Sketch is defiantly the grandfather in UI design, and more than likely with continue to dominate like Adobe did with PS and AI. And all honesty I think I'd prefer that too.

Please don't misunderstand me. I really reallllly enjoy using Sketch. It has been great for a newby like me (2yrs now)

I am just curious to hear from others what they think and if they are using other software besides Sketch, like Figma or XD.

71 comments

  • Alim MaasogluAlim Maasoglu, over 2 years ago

    I was using Sketch before but now almost fully switched to Adobe XD even it's in Beta. Adobe XD is so far the most amazing & innovative thing I have ever used. Light as fuck, quick and the interface is just lovely. But not only that; Live prototyping, wireframing, auto grids makes this tool so powerful. I'm sure when it's launches fully that thing is going to dominate the market. Sketch will loose in the longterm against XD, many designer I know are switching right now.

    XD offers just so many new amazing possibilities regarding workflow, and combined with adobe creative suite (XD & Photoshop) you can realize some really wonderful projects.

    Adobe created a great experience here, props to them. I hope they keep doing this.

    16 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Alim. One thing I enjoyed while using Figma and Sketch is there easy for developers to get the details from the designs to start coding. What tricks does XD have that are similar?

      0 points
    • Bilal KhettabBilal Khettab, over 2 years ago

      XD could win over Sketch on one condition: Plugin support. That's where Sketch is always ahead with its amazing tools attached to it.

      And I hope Adobe doesn't make it any harder for third-party developers to make compatible plugins for it as well.

      2 points
      • Luca Candela, over 2 years ago

        Are you seriously saying that you're not sure Adobe can win a plugin war? They literally invented the game, I'm pretty sure they'll do all right.

        6 points
      • Jonathan Pimento, over 2 years ago

        While we are currently focused on building XD's core design and prototyping features we are also actively exploring long term goals for XD. Extensibility happens to be on that list!

        Jonathan Pimento Product Manager

        0 points
    • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

      There's are two things that Adobe XD can't beat.

      1. Price (XD will be bundled with CC)

      2. Plugin support.

      if Adobe can get these two sorted out they might have a chance.

      2 points
      • Mick NMick N, over 2 years ago

        Let's not forget that XD is available on both Windows & Mac. Definitely a plus especially with products like the Surface Studio out in the wild now.

        8 points
        • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

          You have a point here. It will be interesting to see as technology develops, more and more designers will have more access to more devices we use... tablets, and even what you mentioned, the Microsoft Studio.

          Having tools that are cross platform is largely a bigger deal than what most make it up to be.

          Figma is browser.. right now could be used on an iPad Pro or the Surface.

          It's just interesting to see how things move along.

          3 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

    They’re all good and all have various different qualities. I like using them all. I also like using Affinity Designer, Photoshop and Illustrator. For complex vector work, nothing beats Illustrator. For complex masking and app icons, nothing beats Photoshop. For SVG export, I don't think anything beats Affinity Designer.

    I’m all for using many tools!

    12 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      I forgot to mention AD! I got that over the holidays and am excited to learn more. It seems AD is geared towards vector work. Does it rival PS and AI for you at all?

      1 point
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

        Serif seem pretty intent on replicating Adobe’s tools. That works in a positive way (lots of good features!) and in a negative way (blatent clone of things that are bad in Adobe’s tools, very little innovation).

        They vaguely map like this:

        • Affinity Designer = Adobe Illustrator
        • Affinity Photo = Adobe Photoshop
        • Affinity Publisher = Adobe InDesign

        Having said that, Affinity Designer covers a lot of Photoshop’s features well, to the point where it can open most PSDs successfully (covering all but some more esoteric adjustment layers and masking abilities).

        I would absolutey recommend Affinity Designer, especially to those looking to not be tied to an expensive subscription. It’s fast, has tons of good features, and the engineering is extremely solid. However, for me, Affinity Designer feels a bit like a Photoshop cover band — it’s good, but not the real deal. I like it for some things though. Given I do this full time, and given the cost of Affinity Designer, I have no problem using both!

        3 points
        • Filip Basara, over 2 years ago

          I'd like to point out that Affinity Designer is geared towards DESIGN. You can do both pixel and vector work with it but it mostly is made to design things. Whether that be an illustration, icons, webdesign or print design it's tailored towards a specific group of people. Where as particularly Photoshop is a jack of all trades, atleast IMO.

          1 point
        • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

          Yeah I think the thing that's great about them being clones is the price difference. If you're looking to go the Sketch route but still need photoshop or illustrator from time to time, then just replacing them with Affinity is much more cost effective than subbing to CC.

          Still, I'm glad to have CC at work because no one has really made the Sketch/Affinity of After Effects.

          1 point
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      I am defiantly open to using multiple tools. I guess there is apart of me that would love an all in one.. I'm sure like many of us :)

      1 point
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

        Yeah. Although having everything in one tool led us to Photoshop. :P

        I love Photoshop, and I even use it to edit video sometimes (I’m not kidding!), but you have to be careful what you wish for. I’m still not convinced having visual design and prototyping in the one tool is ideal. I like Principle, Flinto, Framer and others. I like that they’re separate, focused tools.

        2 points
        • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

          That is a great point. I suppose for beginners it may seem overwhelming to have 3-5 tools that need to be learned in order to get the job done. But you made a good point. Sometimes having specific tools that do ONE thing well is better than having ONE TOOL that does many things, just ok.

          0 points
          • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

            Yeah, thanks.

            I also think there’s a very wide range of approaches for something like prototyping. XD and Flinto are nothing like Framer, for example.

            0 points
  • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, over 2 years ago

    Last year I tried to move from Illustrator to Sketch and couldn't do it. After trying several apps I remembered about Adobe XD and now that's what I use all the time. It's fantastic. Limited features, but they're aware of improvements that need to be made and are working on them. Really really enjoy using Adobe XD!

    7 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      Figma has the ability to share designs easily and collaborate. Sketch has Inspect and Zeplin. What does XD have as far as sharing and easy transition between designer and developer?

      1 point
      • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, over 2 years ago

        Not sure... I don't work with any developers so I haven't had to explore those features. There's some sharing feature where Adobe XD will create a link for you, but I'm not sure if that would allow devs to get assets. I just make more artboards to exporting any assets I need as images.

        Update: Looks like that share feature is just for sharing prototypes.

        0 points
        • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

          If you don't work woth any developers, how do you get your designs deveped ? Unless of you're a one-man team?

          0 points
          • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, over 2 years ago

            Yeah, I'm running my own little web design business! For assets needed in development, I make additional artboards and export just like I used to do in Illustrator.

            0 points
      • Christopher Alan, over 2 years ago

        I've seen pre-release of Adobe XD at MAX and they will be releasing their own redlining/spec feature similar to Zeplin. Not sure when though but that's all I'm waiting for til I jump ship.

        2 points
    • Jonathan Pimento, over 2 years ago

      Glad you are enjoying Adobe XD! Continue to support the team with feedback and requests via adobexd.uservoice.com

      Jonathan Pimento Product Manager

      0 points
  • Jessica Moon, over 2 years ago

    I really love the seamlessness that Adobe XD offers with mobile preview and design. The performance is awesome and designing and seeing your work in real time is a pretty irreplaceable thing.

    For the more specific detailed stuff, I still go to the usual suites for that, but general design of flows, wireframes, and designs... pretty much just do it all in XD now.

    3 points
    • Jonathan Pimento, over 2 years ago

      We have a very high bar for performance and quality. Glad to know that you are enjoying using the mobile preview app.

      Jonathan Pimento Product Manager

      0 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, over 2 years ago

    I have moved to sketch and I don't regret anything. It really depends on what role the program plays in your pipeline and what exactly you want to produce with it. You say "... learning UI/UX", those are two extremely generalized terms that mean different things and depend heavily on other factors. If you do UI-design for the Web it is different then making UI-Design for iOS or Android.

    As always, it depends. In my opinion it depends heavily on how you structure your design system and how it translates to different media. I make Web Interfaces and the way I structure my Symbols is very similar to how I structure my html/css components, XD doesn't offer me this capability yet. So far, XD has not offered a single USP for me. People argue with the creative cloud. I personally think that's more a negative point then a positive point. Cloud features are rolled out slowly and buggy. Sometimes, they are implemented in one app but not in another one, or they handle differently on each app. Just remember, how long it took until we got desktop sync for typekit fonts. And they still not offer their entire library, and if they do, they don't sync all weights or without open type features. They had inspect which was a great tool for developers, they even implemented it in Brackets. Which becamse Edge Code, and then Brackets again. They had all those edge tools that were ultimately useless because you couldn't do anything without them. What I mean by all this, is that you cannot rely on cloud features. People might want to remember that the cloud was not a feature for users, but it was an attempt to bind customers to their brand, as they were losing interface and webdesigners to other apps.

    I think, XD is not what UI Designers really need, sketch and figma either. These are somewhat first-generation UI-Tools. Right now, in order to do your entire UX/UI-Work you need more then just one tool. You will need several. And that won't change for long.

    2 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      I like a lot of what you had to say. It's definitely an exciting to time to be designer and having so many opportunities to learn and adapt.

      Like most have mentioned, it's really about what works for you and your workflow.

      It's been really interesting reading what others thoughts are. What the prefer, like and don't like.

      0 points
  • Paul Van TuylPaul Van Tuyl, over 2 years ago

    I've found that disabling Sketch's auto save functionality makes it run snappy and smooth. I also have the animated zoom feature turned off.

    2 points
  • Roman PohoreckiRoman Pohorecki, over 2 years ago

    3 years of Adobe CC, one app: $719.64

    3 years of Bohemian Coding Sketch: $99

    Excluding upgrades and price changes, the price-to-performance ratio is terrible for Adobe. Figma appears to be browser-bound, so they will likely use a monthly model. I refuse to rent my software.

    2 points
  • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, over 2 years ago

    To me Sketch is a middle ground between a tool for aesthetics and a tool for user experience. For me, that's a great fit.

    Figma and XD seem great if you already have a visual style in place, or if you're at the early stages of a project and sketching out the UX.

    Think I'd struggle with visual exploration with both of those tools.

    I am thinking about this from the standpoint of a UI designer (ok, strictly speaking I'm graphic designer).

    2 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      I find your points interesting. I agree with you. I feel like from a basic UX stand point most designers want a quick design and prototyping tool that can spit out your ideas easily. BUT also go back and refine and make necessary adjustments to the final design.

      Sketch is more complex I think, but also offers a little more (at least at this moment)

      I really like XD's live prototyping and mock ups.

      1 point
    • Benice Orelse, over 2 years ago

      I agree on visual exploration. A lot of ideas arise from mistakes while trying out something new. That should be the base of any good design software. Most other tools these days limits your ability to explore new ways of interacting because they provide bootstrap features that can do only one task. Unfortunately quick and dirty jobs are triumphing over creativity. Figma, InVision and XD feels too restricting.

      1 point
    • Michael Dorian Bach, over 2 years ago

      Agreed. XD's visual design tools are a bit too limiting for exploring.

      1 point
  • Luis Sanz, over 2 years ago

    After been very disappointed when I got my eyes on the first beta version of Xd, today for some reason I came back and i am extremely impressed. I've been a Sketch user for a long time, but have no problem trying to be objective and mostly see what feature of each program help me to make my process faster (including design, share, client feedback, and delivery to developers).

    Please, don't bring the old battle like we still do with PC vs. Mac, where more than arguments you have guts reactions... but I may think about giving Xd a try.

    Important note: My work pays fro CC, so "price" is not a major issue.

    1 point
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

    The tool doesn't matter, it's the quality of work you do that matters!

    1 point
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

      I agree, but the tool can definitely dictate what’s possible, how easy it is, and the quality of the results.

      5 points
      • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

        The differences between Sketch/Figma/Photoshop is so small that I doubt it can affect the quality of the results. One may be faster or easier to use for a certain user but that is it.

        1 point
        • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

          If you care about the details, there’s enormous differences in shape antialiasing, gradient rendering quality, masking abilities, boolean quality and performance, dithering, colour management support, and other vital areas.

          They’re different to the point where some apps are utterly inadequate for certain specific uses. This is why I think it’s vital to know a reasonable range of tools, and know when to use them.

          4 points
          • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

            Whatever application will choose to use will have some minor pain points, for the most part it wouldn't affect the final work you deliver.

            Photoshop for instance has a terrible antialiasing but that doesn't affect exported assets.

            0 points
            • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

              for the most part it wouldn't affect the final work you deliver.

              If you know what to look for, it’s often easy to know the tool that created the artwork, just by looking at the results.

              Shape antialiasing is interesting. I did some tests a while ago (I should update for the latest versions, but I doubt the results would be very different):

              As you can see, Photoshop’s antialiasing isn't as good as Core Graphics (Sketch) or Affinity Designer, but it’s the third best of the lot. Illustrator’s shape antialiasing is especially bad (not many steps, mismatched dark to light and light to dark comparison).

              The tool you choose does matter, in my opinion. It absolutely affects the final work you deliver.

              3 points
              • Art BlancArt Blanc, over 2 years ago

                Is pdf rendering (for iOS assets) also using Core Graphics?

                0 points
                • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

                  Yep. Pretty much all vector drawing done using Apple’s APIs is Quartz 2D or Core Graphics under the hood.

                  That means SVGs and CSS in Safari, PDFs in Preview and Mail, plus vector shapes in Keynote, Sketch, PaintCode, and lots of other apps.

                  PDF iOS assets are rendered by Xcode using Core Graphics, then included in the bundle as PNGs (compressed using PNGCrush). That means the vector shapes look great, as shown above. There’s lots of other potential issues, depending on what the PDFs contain. More info here: Why I don’t use PDFs for iOS assets

                  2 points
  • Taylor PalmerTaylor Palmer, over 2 years ago

    https://blog.uxtools.co/sketch-vs-adobe-xd-vs-figma-4ca1861983ae

    http://uxtools.co/tools

    1 point
  • Aaron MichaelAaron Michael, over 2 years ago

    As as non-UI or UX designer, playing around with XD for the 1st time this past weekend literally blew my mind. I've been waiting for a tool like repeat grid for as long as I can remember!

    For years I've been so intimidated by interface design and struggled how to approach it, but now I can relax and start making stuff outside of my comfort zone.

    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 2 years ago

    In the past 5 years or so I went from Photoshop/Illustrator to Sketch. I liked Sketch a lot minus the bugginess. A year or two went by where I still needed to use Photoshop or Illustrator in combination with Sketch to acheive everything I needed in my work. I still strived for an all-in-one solution that didn't suck and finally I found Affinity Designer and use it religiously now. It's like PS/AI/Sketch in one. The personas are amazing. It's like $40 right now and there's no monthly fee. Do yourself a favor and buy it.

    0 points
  • Kris KimKris Kim, over 2 years ago

    I'd really like to use those tools OP mentioned, but one thing that prevent me from jumping over is third party support like direct export to Invision or Zeplin. Ability to directly export to Invision board from artboard is really killer feature for me. Does XD or Figma have the similar plug in?

    0 points
    • Jernej Horvat, over 2 years ago

      If you use Adobe XD, you don't need Invision. XD has prototyping built in.

      0 points
      • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

        I am not in love or attached to Invision in any way either..

        0 points
        • Jernej Horvat, over 2 years ago

          I have nothing against Invision and often use it when clients require, but it's just faster and easier to make a prototype in XD. There's also no need to make hotspots when in prototype mode in XD and that alone speeds up the process significantly.

          1 point
      • Kris KimKris Kim, over 2 years ago

        Thanks Jernej. I know XD has prototyping built in but can it be shared with clients/boss without having them installing XD? Also Invision has powerful inspection tool for easy delivering assets but not sure if XD has it.. I think I'm asking too much I'll just go ahead try it for myself :)

        0 points
        • Jernej Horvat, over 2 years ago

          You can share a link of the prototype and anyone can try it out. The link can also be updated when making changes to the design or the prototype. If the recipients also have an Adobe CC account, they can post comments.

          0 points
        • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

          XD is still in beta as you probably have figured. At Adobe MAX they announced many upcoming features and updates for the final release of XD which includes built in collaboration with comments (very similar to what figma is like) and the ability for others to come in and get quick specs for devs. Also similar to figma. All. In. One.

          0 points
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 2 years ago

    Personally Sketch but choose whatever works best for you :)

    0 points
  • Josh Carr, over 2 years ago

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Justinmind.com - I went through about 50 prototyping tools and settled on this because of it ease, extendability, and collaboration tools. We have about 15 stakeholders in each project we do and all of them want to see the designs as they progress. The sharing/commenting capabilities of this seems to outperform everything else. The learning curve was simple tool. It doesn't seem to be as popular as it should be for the capabilities it has. Does anyone know why?

    0 points
  • Brennan Smith, over 2 years ago

    Adobe XD - You can't underline text. facepalm Figma - No price set and the date keeps getting pushed back for pricing.

    I'm sticking with Sketch.

    0 points
  • Tomek Buszwski, over 2 years ago

    I was - and still am - a big fan of Sketch, even with its flaws. Couple of days ago I decided to finally give Figma a spin and so far I am loving it. It's less complex that the former, but offers the most important things for me (grids, snapping etc.). Adobe XD is a nice change of pace, feels very light, gives just the canvas. But it lacks some of the things I often use (yes, grids).

    That being said, it's best to just try to make a simple design in each of them and see which one fits you better. For me, Figma is like a simplified Sketch, and XD is like a very simplified Figma.

    0 points
    • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

      My feelings are similar to yours. I have dabbled in all three (while mostly using sketch) One thing I'm NOT in love with about figma is that it's in the browser. I know there is a mac app, but thus far there are a few hoops to jump through if you want to work offline. Not awful.

      As far as XD goes, I love the simplicity of the UI. To some it is probably TO basic. But I think there are many functions and capabilities that are useful for heavy workflows (especially when it gets out of beta)

      Sketch is king... for now.

      0 points
      • Tomek Buszwski, over 2 years ago

        I almost gave up Figma after seeing it's a browser app. But fortunately, macOS app works flawlessly. I recommend you give it another shot :)

        0 points
        • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

          What have you liked most about using Figma?

          0 points
          • Tomek Buszwski, over 2 years ago

            Similarity to Sketch, but lightness of usage, access to Google Fonts (previously I used plugin for Photoshop for that, if I needed to check fonts quickly), collaborations. Sketch is having its annoying things for me, like often I can't "click through" to some layers etc., Figma doesn't have that problem either. Plus, well, it's free (even if only for now).

            0 points
            • Spencer BittleSpencer Bittle, over 2 years ago

              I can follow that. This week I decided to use Figma, and solely Figma for my next project, just to give it a real test. So far it is MUCH lighter than Sketch for good and bad.

              And your right.. it's free... for now. Unless your a student. Free forever

              0 points
  • Abdelrahman G, over 2 years ago

    I will not judge XD now as it's in beta (it sucks) but once Adobe pushes a final release it's going to be worth a try. But at the moment for rapid UI design and prototyping nothing beats Sketch. So far Sketch has been a low-cost, easy-to-learn solution for practically anybody. It also integrates in the development process really nicely as every developer I have seen prefers to use it as well. In my opinion, Adobe will win over with these points: 1. Adobe CC integration 2. Speed But they may struggle with these points that Sketch excels at: 1. Price 2. Plugin support 3. Integration with development

    0 points