Figma, Sketch, Adobe XD: Which is the best designing tool?


Website design plays an important role in strengthening and beautifying your online presence. A web design sets the first impressions and impacts how the audience perceives the brand. The website reflects the business in front of the customers, that’s why it needs to be aesthetically pleasing to persuade your potential visitors. To ensure that, you need to adopt the right web designing tools and strategies.

There is no denying that we have seen tremendous growth in UI/UX design tools in recent years. The top three tools that come to mind in this regard are Figma, Adobe XD or Sketch.

All three are exceptional software, but each has its strengths & weaknesses. If collaboration is critical to your design process, Figma is the clear winner. If you give value to the customizability of third-party plugins, you may prefer Sketch. And if you’re already familiar with the Adobe interface from its Creative Cloud ecosystem, Adobe XD could be a good choice.

In this article, we will discuss the major differences between these design tools and analyze the benefits of each one, so you may be able to choose the right design software for yourself.

What is Figma?

Figma is a web-based application that works at a decent pace even on low-end computers & laptops. It is a vector graphics and prototyping tool used for graphic designing. Figma was released in 2016 and has since become a popular option among UI designers, due to the fact that it works directly in a browser. In Figma, you can access your projects from any computer and platform without installing software or purchasing multiple licenses.

What is Adobe XD?

Adobe XD is a vector-based designing tool for user experience (UX) design. It was released in 2016 with UX-specific features. You can use it as a desktop app on your computer or a cloud app on mobile devices. The drawback of this tool is that it can produce glitches when handling large files on low-end devices.

What is Sketch?

Sketch is a desktop vector graphics editor for Mac OS. It was first released in 2010 and has now become the top choice of many UI/UX designers. It is an established software overall and can handle comparatively large files most of the time, except for a few occasions when you are using the software on your old Mac.

Apps Comparison

1. Compatible Platform:

Platform is one of the biggest differentiating factors and should be your first consideration when choosing software. Here’s how the three web designing tools perform platform-wise:

  • Figma:

Figma is browser-based software and can be run on all full operating systems including Windows, Linux, and macOS. It has a handy desktop application that is available for macOS and Windows, with an updated version.

  • Sketch:

Sketch is available on Mac only.

  • Adobe XD:

Adobe XD can run on a browser, desktop, or mobile app. It is suitable for macOS and Windows users. Adobe offers the XD as a mobile app, which allows you to open your designs on Android devices and iOS, but if you want to edit your designs, you need to use a desktop. 

2. Pricing:

Your choice of software is partly influenced by its cost. Below is a pricing comparison of the three design tools:

  • Figma:

Figma will get you there without any charges as long as you’re not working on a team because it’s free for individuals. You can have only 3 projects for free, after which you have to upgrade for unlimited projects and team functionality. The pro version of Figma is the most expensive, costing $12 per editor, per month.

  • Sketch:

Sketch offers Mac-only, $99 per license that gets you the Mac App for life and access to the next production versions of the app. A standard cost of a subscription is $9 per month, but it offers a 30-day free trial.

  • Adobe XD:

Adobe XD offers both free and paid plans, depending on the user’s needs. Paid plans start at $11.89 per month. It also offers a seven-day free trial.

3. Symbols:

Symbols can make your work easy. They help overcome building and duplication tasks and make your design highly iterative. Here’s how the three tools perform as far as symbols are concerned:

  • Figma: 

In Figma, symbols are called components. When you create a component, it stays in place and is denoted by “Master Component”. If you copy it anywhere else in the design, it creates instances by default. You can change text, color, size, and even swap nested symbols.

  • Sketch: 

The functionality of symbols in Sketch is very impressive and continues to improve. Symbols can be updated across entire documents and can be resized responsively.

  • Adobe XD

Adobe XD symbols are the least powerful at the moment. XD currently does not support the concept of the instances and master symbols. Every instance is the clone of a symbol, so if you change in any instance, it applies to all the others.

4. Plugins

Using plugins in these tools helps optimize workflow and boost productivity while designing. Hardly any designers use any tools without plugins. Here’s a comparison of the three tools in terms of plugins:

  • Figma:

Figma needs to improve a lot in the plugin department because it has comparatively very low resources in the plugin library.

  • Sketch:

Many plugin resources are available in Sketch. You can get any type of plugin that you think you need to improve your productivity as a designer.

  • Adobe XD:

Adobe XD has a good plugin management window to find plugins and useful resources.

To sum up, if you are looking for a budget tool, Adobe XD is for you. For Accessibility, Performance & Collaboration, Figma is better. If you need various plugins to speed your design and productivity, Sketch would be ideal.

All three web designing tools are extremely well-suited to cater to modern design needs. However, if you’re just getting started in UI, Figma, with its free version, learning materials, and compatibility with any computer is an excellent choice for beginners.

If you have any comment, query, or suggestion regarding this article, please state in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.


Luis Espinoza is a passionate graphic designer, entrepreneur, and video editor. He has been working as an all-around graphics geek and “Visual Information Specialist” for the past 10 years. With his career spanning across almost every aspect of the design industry, he has worked from web design to 3D animation, to logo design to photo retouching.

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