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Are Figma and XD finally getting Sketch out of the picture in UI design?

10 months ago from , Trainer

As a trainer I try to tell people about several tools, but still people NEED to grasp at least one of them better to be proficient.

So, I have noticed lately Figma and XD (both Multiplatform) are starting to actually dent the market of Sketch.

I have decided to skip Sketch this year, and use both these alternatives in the UX/UI lectures… do you think it's a good decision? Should I stick with Sketch a liltle longer?

Part of the question is some of the students don't use Mac, and these other programas are available on Windows too…

71 comments

  • Blemmy Hemingsworth, 9 months ago

    It's Figma all the way for our entire team. Easy developer handover, cloud storage with version history, prototyping tools, works great in the browser. The list goes on and on. We see no reason in moving anywhere else for the foreseeable future.

    15 points
    • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

      I'd like to use Figma for work in a production environment, but it is more expensive than sketch per user annually. By $45 and when you have a handful of designers it adds up. Their pricing model is off. The no offline support also is a deal breaker for me too.

      1 point
      • Mr FannybatterMr Fannybatter, 9 months ago

        Ryan – Do you use Invision and/or some kind of versioning subscription. Figma has these baked in. If you do then by cancelling those subs you get a free design tool :)

        3 points
        • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

          We do not pay for versioning software yet. We manually do it although it's not perfect it does work. We are just a team of two right now recently down from 3. We do pay for invision although we are not totally happy with it. It works but I've been considering switching our team to zeplin. Ultimately I'm at the mercy of my department head making the financial decisions for us despite being the lead.

          1 point
          • Denis RojcykDenis Rojcyk, 9 months ago

            The moment you start paying for anything else but the design tool, it starts adding app pretty quickly and the whole situation turns around.

            3 points
        • chris caseychris casey, 9 months ago

          Best name ever

          1 point
      • Pol KuijkenPol Kuijken, 9 months ago

        At one of my previous companies, Invision was quoting us 50k/yr due to how many people were on the plan. The thing is you want to make your designs visible to the whole company, so you basically have to invite everyone. So while we didn't have that many designers it was getting super expensive because of all the users with read-only rights.

        Because of this we switched to Figma, which only charges for editors and comes out way cheaper in the end.

        0 points
        • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

          Huh? People don't need a paying account for access to your Invision projects. They can create a free account and be invited to your project for free. Everyone in our department has read only rights and can inspect my team's designs for handoff and comments without paying for Invision. We only have one paying account and two designers have access to it while the rest of the company has unlimited access to see it all.

          1 point
          • Pol KuijkenPol Kuijken, 9 months ago

            That's odd. Are they actually part of the team or just viewing projects through sharing links? Can they leave comments and view the full directory?

            Maybe Invision changed it since, but we even spent a while chatting with their sales team and there was no way to get the price down, so I don't think we were missing something.

            0 points
            • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

              Not really odd at all. That's how INV works. We don't share links unless for some reason someone outside of our teams needs access to see any screens or for user testing.

              They just have to create a free personal account with our company email and you can invite them to the project for read status, comments, exporting assets, and using inspect. I'm sure there might be "some benefits" to buying their team plans. But I don't see anything beneficial beyond how we use it currently that would add to our workflow. A sales rep tried to engage me in upgrading to it, but it wasn't worth the discussion and I turned him down. If I was forced to upgrade I would cancel our subscription and use zeplin. INV is buggy as hell and slow sometimes.

              We're on the professional plan - https://projects.invisionapp.com/d/main#/upgrade/plans?openedDueTo=plans%20page - with a design team of two people (down from 3 recently) under the same login that spans/supports 4 small dev teams. They all use it in correlation to any projects or features we need to hand off to the devs or for showcasing projects to stakeholders for simple prototypes.

              0 points
      • Xaris Rattas, 9 months ago

        Actually, there is no plan at $45 for now... The Organization plan you are referring to is still in beta, and as far as I know, still not available. I don't know which one should one go with when Organization becomes available, but for now the only paid plan is at $12 per month :)

        0 points
        • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

          What the hell are you referring to? Never said anything about a plan being $45 or an organization plan.

          -9 points
          • Derek Bodily, 9 months ago

            Yo. Calm down. Your incorrect grammar made it sound like you were referring to a $45 plan. Next time, read your comment again, then politely clarify that you meant Figma is $45 more expensive.

            2 points
            • Ryan Hicks, 9 months ago

              Here ya go... baby steps gurlfran.

              I'd like to use Figma for work in a production environment, but it is more expensive than sketch per user annually.

              By $45 and when you have a handful of designers it adds up.

              It's pretty clear that I'm talking about it being more expensive and NOWHERE do I say that there is a $45 plan. I don't even mention the word plan in these two sentences. I don't even mention the word plan anywhere in my reply. So kindly again... fuck off.

              -21 points
  • Vince SchwidderVince Schwidder, 9 months ago

    I've been impressed with Adobe XD this year. They're moving really fast in terms of improving the app, and really listening to users (I've spoken with the XD team).

    Figma felt like an amazing step forward to being cross-platform, but for my team which is all Mac, something like multiplayer wasn't luring us away from Sketch. Adobe XD is bringing new stuff to the table like voice prototyping and auto-animate. They have the resources to move fast too. The app itself integrates with other Adobe tools, and is free too.

    We're still mostly Sketch at my team, but keeping our eyes on Adobe XD.

    13 points
  • Andrew C, 10 months ago

    I'm not hitching my wagon to Adobe again, btw—doesn't matter how good XD is. The XD team is chugging along well, but Adobe felt like an absentee parent in the UX and product design industry for far too long. I assume if they owned the market and they'd stop innovating.

    When I open up InVision Studio, Framer, etc. I come in on a wind of hype and all I see is Sketch + some design trendy. Sketch + libraries, Sketch + animation, Sketch + react native, etc. But so far it's not been enough to make me invest in a switch.

    I honestly just enjoy making stuff in Sketch more.

    8 points
  • John JacksonJohn Jackson, 9 months ago

    I don't think Sketch is going anywhere. I do think the market will become increasingly more competitive with the amount of tools that are surfacing. I'm not a huge fan of Adobe XD, but Figma is awesome. My opinion: don't assume that Sketch is going to fall off the map simply because they're losing some of the market.

    8 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 9 months ago

      Sketch needs to release features like XD's new auto-animate, offer better .ai and other vector import, and have built-in padding and stacks/spacing functionality. If it had those features I wouldn't even think about leaving.

      Bonus points if they could have vector editing on par with Figma, which looks pretty sweet.

      1 point
  • Dave Feldman, 9 months ago

    Two things keep me in Sketch. The main one is its extensibility: I rely on a number of great plug-ins (most notably Runner, but others as well including one or two that I wrote myself). Those don’t exist for Figma and can’t exist until they implement more of an API.

    Secondarily, last I checked Figma lacks full offline support. I don’t usually need to work offline, right up until the point when I really really do.

    I haven’t played with XD yet and keep meaning to...but I have trouble gathering the enthusiasm to do so given the trajectory Illustrator, Photoshop, and Lightroom have taken the last few years.

    7 points
  • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 10 months ago

    As long as OSX is the main environment for designers, I don't see Sketch going anywhere. Especially if they release some huge updates like better animation/prototyping and enhanced vector editing/vector import.

    6 points
    • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 10 months ago

      Developers who need to see your designs do not use OSX - Figma is perfect for this. Also I know quite a few designers who do not use OSX.

      1 point
      • Andrew C, 10 months ago

        Uhh most modern tech stacks were built off of Mac's Terminal. Also most dev's don't need Sketch files—they need a breakdown like Zeplin, a flat spec (ie. a screenshot), or work in tandem w a designer.

        2 points
        • Weston VierreggerWeston Vierregger, 10 months ago

          I think a correction here is that modern tech stacks are built on/for/around Linux... Mac just happens to speak a very similar language to Linux, as opposed to Windows which is much more different.

          That being said, there are a TON of big tech companies where devs use Windows machines and connect virtually to their Linux VMs. Some places let employees pick their OS, some don't... It's almost always preferable to have the freedom of cross-platform files, just in case.

          1 point
        • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 10 months ago

          With Figma you don't need Zeplin as Figma has dev handoff as part of it.

          1 point
          • Andrew C, 10 months ago

            I actually enjoy using Zeplin as a separate handoff. Creates a nice contract when something is exploratory (Sketch, or Invision) and when it's actually going to production (Zeplin).

            0 points
            • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 10 months ago

              its a nice tool no arguments but its an extra cost with not any real benefits of using the figma devhand off feature which basically does the same thing.

              1 point
      • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 10 months ago

        You can share Sketch files in so many ways... Invision, Zeplin, Sketch Measure, etc.. Hell you can even open Sketch files in XD and maybe other competitive apps.

        1 point
  • Ashraf AliAshraf Ali, 10 months ago

    I go back and forth between Sketch and XD. I actually switched fully to an XD environment from Photoshop for work and it has been fantastic. With XD's newest feature upgrades, it's just been improving at a solid, solid clip.

    Sketch is still great, but the UI bugs really get to me, a strange zoom lag here, some weird masking issues, etc. I don't think Sketch is going away any time soon though. It's the contender still bringing a better user interface and more flexible plugin options.

    As for Figma, the SAAS model throws me off. It's similar to Framer. It's easier to do a corporate buy of Adobe, since we already use all their other apps. How do we convince a company to also buy in to Figma or Framer for workflows and get licenses for dozens of designers + auxiliary workers?

    5 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 10 months ago

      Sketch 52 made all my panning/zooming lags go away. Much snappier. When did you jump ship?

      1 point
      • Ashraf AliAshraf Ali, 10 months ago

        I updated to Sketch 52, and admittedly, I have not worked with it extensively on a heavy project. I'll do that next and see if the performance issues with scrolling and panning have been resolved. Thanks for the heads up.

        0 points
  • Nikola DurkanNikola Durkan, 10 months ago

    I jump over to Figma from Sketch recently and I don't want to go back. The performance is better (at least in the projects that I have recreated in Figma) and their components system seems to work better than Sketch's. Sketch is very unreliable, all the major releases are always buggy, the performance is bad, the rendering is so-so and the damn mirror app never works. Figma is by no means perfect but it does a lot of little thing better than Sketch and that is enough for me to switch. Also, I can cut out Invision and Abstract from my toolkit and save $35/month, which is nice :)

    4 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 10 months ago

      Even v52? I always thought Sketch was laggy compared to competitors, but the latest release is super snappy, even on my 4k display which always had issues before.

      2 points
      • Nikola DurkanNikola Durkan, 10 months ago

        Yeah, even the lates version. It got really bad in my current project with a lot of high res images (though I tried to optimize each image to get the sizes down) and a lot of connected libraries with a bunch of nested symbols, etc. It worked fine on my colleagues 15" (2016 or 2017) MacBook Pro but my 13"(2016) just can't keep up. In sketch it got so bad that it took close to a second between me clicking on something and it becoming highlighted. Re-did the whole project from scratch in Figma with full res images instead of scaled down images and it's sooo much more responsive and fast, I was genuinely amazed by how well it worked.

        0 points
        • David Woolf, 10 months ago

          There’s an auto compress feature in sketch for lots of images. Was working with another designer on a huge file that was awful to get around. We had sketch auto compress images and it was about a 1/3 of the file size (800mb to ~300mb) and way easier to get around artboards and pages, etc.

          0 points
          • Nikola DurkanNikola Durkan, 10 months ago

            That's what I used. The current library is now ~200MB (was around 400MB before compression). Still too much for my poor little MBP :(

            0 points
  • Devon Frohne, 10 months ago

    Our team uses Sketch > Zeplin. We also use many a prototyping tools from Invision, principle, Flinto and after effects. For the love there needs to be more prototyping tools for android that aren't horrible.

    2 points
  • Mauricio Paim, 10 months ago

    I am convincing the product team to change it too. Today we use Sketch + Invision + Zeplin. We will move to Figma only

    2 points
  • Jason FestaJason Festa, 10 months ago

    So many toolzzz :)

    1 point
  • Trev MorrisTrev Morris, 10 months ago

    We use Sketch combined with some other products.

    Sketch + Invision for prototyping Sketch + Abstract for versioning Sketch + Zeplin for engineers

    With much time and effort invested in our design ecosystem, including various libraries, I can't see our team shifting away from Sketch for quite some time. The use of all these tools sometimes feels excessive, but I quite like have dedicated products for specific functions.

    For Figma, there's something stopping me from feeling comfortable about using it, I'm not sure what or why. As for XD. Absolutely no chance. Cut the ties with Adobe years ago, will not go back to their crazy subscriptions and feature-creep-susceptible products.

    Side note: Invision Studio - used once or twice, felt unbelievably laggy and buggy, attempting to do far too many things - wondered how on earth some of these designers are able to release videos of themselves building prototypes, but then realise they've been paid for doing so and have spent hours laboriously working through it. Too slow in the real world. And Framer X? Put off by code, don't have the spare time to learn how to effectively use it (I know, flogging a dead horse).

    Sketch landed on my doorstep in beta form when I was at Uni back in 2011. The ease and speed of learning how it works has enabled me to grow as a designer quicker than illustrator or photoshop ever could. The community, plugins and support has been a massive bonus.

    1 point
    • Michael Mladek, 10 months ago

      Same bad feelings for Figma in our office. Starting with the name (in German it sounds like 'Fuck Sometimes'). The general UI is not really appealing to our designers and it seems somewhat dull.

      We still love the combination of Sketch + Zeplin. Especially after the disappointing releases of Invision Studio & Framer X

      0 points
      • Brandon Carson, 10 months ago

        Their UI is also too small and super hard to read, at least for my astigmatism-laden eyes. The only sort of solution is to bump the font size up on the web version but its still far from usable.

        0 points
  • Matt KMatt K, 9 months ago

    Sketch is here to stay, at least for a while. The plugin and integration ecosystems are so good, and the latest data plugins are a gamechanger.

    We've no interest in XD our company is transitioning away from Adobe products. For example Affinity Photo, which covers most of Photoshop's use cases, costs £17.50 a year, rather than £25 a month for a single app CC licence.

    I really like Figma, and use it instead of Sketch for my personal projects, but it has a few major issues which stop me considering it as a serious Sketch replacement at work. Firstly, there's no offline mode. Being able to design with no internet connection is vital. Secondly, the Figma Mirror app is appalling (though the Sketch app is pretty bad too).

    It's only possible to preview the current design, and prototyping and interactions are not supported. As cloud based software, I'd expect all my designs to be available through the app, and to be able to interact with the prototypes – this is not currently possible.

    0 points
  • Andrew Richardson, 10 months ago

    Figma is my preferred tool and it seems to be very popular around here but hasn't quite caught on in "mainstream" interaction design. It's been hard to convince other designers to make the jump, though our front end devs love it and they have started using it in some side projects they do.

    0 points
    • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 10 months ago

      Older (ahem) designers are far more cautious than the young ones in our team to use Figma. I get it but the cloud is where the puck is going - there are too many benefits compared to offline.

      0 points
      • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, 10 months ago

        (ahem) I'm 46.... I'm the one the introduced Figma to our office...It's been pretty popular here...even some of the younger ones are starting to use it ;)

        in all seriousness though, old as I am, you never stop learning...I felt totally stuck with Photoshop and Adobe.... saw Sketch come and take over the UI market, but didn't jump on the bandwagon...and then felt kinda useless when it started gaining market share and realized I'd missed the boat on that one... also...with all the plugins etc, it looked a bit daunting to crack....

        then came Figma, which was what I was really looking for in the first place...

        We needed something to bridge the problem of working with our Dev team... I needed to be able to produce something that was 'more' than just a jpeg and a list of instructions...

        being able to provide them with a link, where they can access all the materials they want, and all the code they need is right there and available to them...it was a game changer for our whole office....

        2 points
        • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 9 months ago

          I was in the exact same place and (ahem) similar age. The younger designers picked it up easily as most came from sketch.

          0 points
  • Ignacio CorreiaIgnacio Correia, 9 months ago

    Yes you should. I think teaching the Adobe Pack provides a better multi skills creative person. Learning an isolated software is not a good approach in my opinion. Also in a company with mix OS software like ours, we can't agreed with Skecth with an only MAC approach.

    And XD will get where we need to get. And Apple may buy Sketch and sunset it like it did with fireworks and freehand.

    Figma is an isolated product 2, a good do, but isolated.

    InvisionStudio didn't allow me to have early access so I just gave up on them

    Adobe in the other hand has been fantastic allowing us to have early access and beta version.

    We are in the process of launching 3 new extensions. Easy decision for me, really easy.

    For newbies is easier to learn a simpler software, and right now XD is simple but we know where is it heading with plugins and AI. Like I grew up with phosothop since 6.0 I will grow with XD since Beta.

    Just my opinion :)

    0 points
    • Marc Nothrop, 9 months ago

      It was Adobe that acquired and killed Fireworks and Freehand.

      5 points
      • Ignacio CorreiaIgnacio Correia, 9 months ago

        Thankfully in my opinion.

        -1 points
        • JE LS, 9 months ago

          Fireworks death was the cause of Sketch popularity in the first place. If they had kept Fireworks maybe it would still be a popular tool today But eventually a new more streamlined tool (Adobe or not) would have caused the UI software revolution we're seeing today

          0 points
  • Dino ParavandisDino Paravandis, 10 months ago

    I do not want to list the benefits of Figma as there are too many. Note that its a tool that a kid learning about UI design can use for Free and on any OS. Many people can't afford a macbook which is a requirement for Sketch. XD is multi-platform but I still think its not as universal as the browser and it will never be. I know web devs who are running Linux and are using Figma.

    0 points
  • Zsolt Istvan, 10 months ago

    If I were to give advice to students, I would say look at which is the most popular UI tool and learn to use it and use it well.

    Then, look at other new and upcoming tools to have an idea of different approaches out there.

    I might be wrong with this - but for some reason I feel you do not like Sketch at all or just would like it to disappear?

    0 points
    • , 10 months ago

      I love Sketch, but I fear my love for the product can blind me to other alternatives that can eventually be more popular in the near future.

      Also as I said, Sketch is Mac only, and in my country a lot of students use Windows and cannot use Sketch but via virtualization, which is a hassle.

      0 points
  • Stefan Lechleitner, 10 months ago

    Interesting that Framer and Invision Studio are almost not mentioned here (sure the headline was related to this tools but ...). Seems as they are already dead before even entereing the market :S?

    0 points
  • Antonio Carusone, 9 months ago

    Nope. Right now there's nothing compelling enough in either of them for it to make sense to switch from a Sketch/Principle/Zeplin setup. An all-in-one tool isn't enough. This combo is already so well integrated that it almost feels like one experience.

    I'm hesitant to go back to Adobe for my UI design needs. They strung us along for years, forcing us to use a bloated Photoshop. They only got into the UI game because of Sketch. If it weren't for Sketch, we'd all still be using Photoshop.

    Also, designing in a browser is just crazy talk. There's no real reason for it.

    0 points
    • Account deleted 9 months ago

      You could've used fireworks. Until adobe killed it, then jumped into Sketch. There was never a reason to use PS for UI work.

      3 points
  • Braylan GrayBraylan Gray, 10 months ago

    Here's the thing....

    Programs like XD, Figma, Affinity Designer/Photo and Webflow are making design more accessible because they are cross-platform. Not only are they going to make dents in Sketch, they are going to make dents in Mac usage for designers.

    I switched over to PC about a year ago for freelance work and haven't looked back. I'm still just as effective and efficient a UI/Product designer/Photographer as I ever was.

    With Figma and Webflow, specifically, it might even be possible to be a full-fledged UI/Product designer with just a Chromebook.

    0 points
  • Hugo Magalhães, 10 months ago

    I personally don't think Sketch is going away anytime soon. Figma and XD are both great tools, but they just don't have the same community as Sketch - which still remains its biggest competitive edge over the other two. The 3rd-party plugins built by designer and developers around the world, but make the tool leaps and bounds better the other two for UI design. In term of prototyping, I personally feel that none of them really can compete with Framer, so I left it out of the equation.

    I've been thinking of switch to Figma, but not just yet... for the time being I will stick with Sketch!

    0 points
  • Jennifer Nguyen, 8 months ago

    As long as they're not on Photoshop! lol I think we all know folks still on Photoshop and it's just like "but why though??". I think Sketch is going to stick around for a while longer and it's still the industry preferred tool. I love Figma but I haven't made a complete switch from Sketch due to pricing and support but once they have that ironed out, I'm confident Sketch is going to be a thing of the past.

    0 points