In design, Figma and Sketch are pretty popular. The two software are useful design tools used by designers in user interface design. Starting with Figma, this is a cloud-based interface design tool that can be run inside the browser. Figma’s presence in the market has been bolstered by its functionality and features, plus its team collaboration tools. Sketch, on the other hand, is a vector-based design tool used by designers to actualize their design concepts or ideas into products. The Sketch is applied in interface design, too, just like Figma. The Sketch is mainly used for designing UI and UX of mobile apps and web.
Both apps can also be used for designing of app icons.
However, if you are starting with your design journey, you may be wondering, well, which of the two apps should be suitable for your particular work. See, you are in the right place. We are going to take you through the various features and functionalities of the two interface design tools, which will help you figure out which of the two is the best for you. And it is not just that; we will also provide you with a full verdict on what we found as the best design tool between Figma and Sketch.
So, without further ado, let us jump into it.
Summary: Figma vs Sketch
Figma and Sketch are pretty popular design software tools. The app is used in designing UI and UX of mobile apps and web. From a design perspective, this review touches on almost all aspects of the two design tools that you should consider when choosing one of them. In this review, Figma is our winner because it is fast, cheaper, offers better value for money, great collaborative tools built inside, and is browser-based. This means that it can be used on any platform, whether it is Linux, Windows, or Mac. The Sketch is not that bad, too, but it is limited to Mac only, slower when editing and viewing files, and is quite an expensive design tool.
If there’s one thing you should pay attention to, among others is the platform support of software. If a software does not support the underlying platform that you use every day, then there is a high chance you may not make any reasonable use of it, especially if they have no browser-based support. Starting with Figma, the design tool is available directly via browsers with no need for installation of packages or third-party applications.
Browser-based support means that you can be able to use Figma on any platform directly using whatever browser you prefer. That means you can use Figma on all desktop clients available, including Windows, Chrome, Linux, and Mac. Apart from browser-based use, with Figma, you can also download the Figma app, which is available on both Windows and Mac. However, don’t stress yourself with that as these apps are wrap applications which are running a browser inside them.
On the other hand, Sketch is only available on macOS, which is a bummer. This limits the software to be used only by Mac users who are not as many as Windows OS users who are over half of the world’s desktop ecosystem. Solely Mac support is one of the major weakness that Sketch suffers from since inception. So there is no difference in using the app or the browser.
2. Non-Destructive Editing
With non-destructive editing, gone are the days when digital artists could destroy an original design by adding a few modifications. What non-destructive editing does is it gives designers the degree to change a few elements of the design while experimenting to see how a particular change will impact the final look. All this is done with no worry about losing the original design whatsoever. Non-destructive editing enables digital artists to revert to their original design form in few steps.
Sketch has a non-destructive editing tool. The same case applies to Figma.
3. Symbols and Libraries
For symbols and libraries, Figma has placed its symbols in a dedicated library, so they are easily accessible when needed. Under the team libraries’ functionality, design artists can share components and styles with other team members directly in Figma without the need for separate file management or syncing.
But as for Sketch, there is only a drop-down menu that one could use to access these symbols. So, on a personal experience level, we find Figma to be better organized than Sketch. For collaboration, Sketch has recently been updated with team libraries and cross-file symbol updating, something that Figma has been doing since inception. So, Sketch is playing catch-up in this area.
For shared components, Sketch allows you to swap shared components across files, thus maintaining nested components. Sketch also overrides the drop-down list in the properties panel, which can be challenging to handle in comparison to Figma’s way of replacing in place.
4. Speed and Performance
In design, speed and performance are crucial. Slow design tools mean you will spend hours in front of your computer with low output simply because the software is slow. Comparing Figma and Sketch in terms of performance and speed, Figma is faster than Sketch. Figma runs crispy in the process of editing files and viewing them. Sketch, however, proves to be a bit faster than Figma when it comes to app launch. But we know you would better prefer a tool that is snappy for a smooth editing experience.
5. File Formats Supported
Sketch supports the following file formats:
File formats supported by Figma include:
- Sketch files
6. Vector Manipulation
Both Figma and Sketch have Vector manipulation capability.
7. Plugins Support
Both platforms have support for plugins, which brings in more functionality. Figma, as per the time of writing, supports approximately 130 plugins in total. Sketch, on the other hand, also boasts a rich collection of plugins under the sleeve. The Sketch came earlier in the market, so it has a vibrant ecosystem than Figma.
8. Native Prototyping
Both Figma and Sketch support native prototyping available at the moment. So, there is no need to install any third-party applications for this functionality.
Both Figma and Sketch support keyboard shortcuts. However, Sketch has more native support than Figma. However, keep in mind that most of the keyboard shortcuts are similar across the two design tools. Therefore, switching from one to the other will not have a significant impact on your productivity. In Sketch, you can also customize your keyboard shortcuts based on your preferences.
With import and export functionality, you can import Sketch files to Figma but not vice versa. However, the bottom line is Both tools can import/export bitmaps and SVG without any problems. Sketch supports many export file types though including PNG, JPG, TIFF, WebP, PDF, EPS, and SVG. Figma only supports three different export file-formats, including PNG, JPG, and SVG.
In interface design, collaborative tools are handy when working on team projects, for example. For designers, it is never a one-person show; instead, its often a team with other designers, programmers, and even customers. So that comes with its problems, and that is working together on a project. Having different versions of the document between these three different kinds of people can be highly inconveniencing. That is why collaborative functionality in design tools is highly crucial.
Real-time collaboration is now available on both Figma and Sketch. Sketch has just received this feature recently and was announced during Apple’s 2019 WWDC Event held in New York.
Real-time collaboration makes work so much easier and allows the team to brainstorm on a given project simultaneously. With real-time collaboration, there is no need to send files to your colleagues to check your progress and update whatever they need to. All of the work is done simultaneously on the go with team members viewing changes as they happen.
For Figma, collaborative editing has been available for quite some time. On the other hand, Sketch has just introduced the Sketch for Teams recently, and it is currently still under the Beta testing phase. Sketch for Teams includes the following features;
An unlimited number of viewers
Sketch does not restrict the number of users who can view files or preview files and even comment on them. So, these viewers can be added for free, and you will only have to pay for designers who edit and upload designs.
With Sketch for teams, you can automatically save documents to Sketch Cloud and share them with your team. All of these functionalities can be accessed directly from the Mac app.
Users under a team can comment on designs. There is also markdown support and emoji support for efficient communication.
You can view the full editing history of a file that is being worked on by your team. So that means if you like a previous design, you can pick it up from there and work on it.
Sketch also offers administration tools like the ability to edit or add more users in the team. An admin can also edit users’ roles on the team right from the admin dashboard.
Users can also use the included mention feature to ensure other team members never miss out on important information in the group.
As per the time of writing, Sketch plans to bring more tools in Sketch for Teams, including; Comment in context with Annotations, Handoff design files with Cloud Inspector, and integration with other handy tools and services via their Cloud API.
Figma, on the other hand, packs the following collaborative features;
This functionality enables a design artist to edit alongside their team while able to view exactly what each member is doing at any moment to the file. Also, the software has access control tools that can be changed accordingly, allowing an admin to work on a file with the team or fly solo.
Design artists can leave circumstantial feedback on files by commenting on specific areas of design or prototype. You can also share a file with a particular member directly to obtain feedback from them.
Figma allows real-time collaboration on a file or a project. To view anyone’s current view, by merely selecting their avatar. With the real-time collaboration feature, developers can easily query a Figma file with no additional plugins or tools.
Who are These Softwares for?
Figma and Sketch are intuitive design tools that can be used by design artists to work on different projects. They can be used in designing of various interfaces such as UI and UX of mobile apps and web. There are no limitations to when or who can use these design tools. Whether it is in an organization or a solo designer, a beginner you name it, there is no reason why you should not rely on Figma or Sketch for your projects.
Pros & Cons
- Browser-based no installation needed
- Figma allows for real-time collaboration
- Easy file sharing
- With larger files, Figma tends to run a little slowly.
- Plugins and a plugin ecosystem exist.
- Supports a richer collection of file types and exporting options
- Only supports MacOS
- Only one device per license
Starting with Figma, there are three different types of payment plans you can choose from. Figma has priced its plans based on the functionality provided and the number of editors.
For starters, Figma offers a free plan termed as “Starter.” Starter includes its limitation, so this is suitable for a team of three people. Figma starter plan consists of the following features;
- up to 2 Editors and 3 projects
- Unlimited viewers
- Version history lasts for 30 days
- Unlimited file storage
- Collaborative design
- Developer handoffs
- Shareable Link
- In-line Commenting
- Sketch Import
- Public Plugins
- PDF, PNG, JPG, SVG Export
- APIs + Integrations
The next plan is the Professional plan going for $12 per editor per month billed annually or $15 month-to-month. The professional plan has been bumped with more functionality, a few notches up. The professional plan includes all the features in the starter plan with unlimited version history, unlimited projects per month, and also team Libraries, plus Private Projects.
For $45 per editor per month billed annually only, you will access Figma’s Organization plans. Organization plan includes all features in the Professional plans plus;
- Organization-wide Design Systems
- Private Plugins
- Plugin Management
- Shared Fonts
- Centralized Teams
- Draft Ownership
- Link Access Controls
- Single Sign-on (SSO) Integrations
- Activity Logs
On Sketch, there are only two paid plans and no free version. As an individual design artist, Sketch offers a personal plan at $99 per year, which includes one year of updates and one year of Sketch Cloud. For teams, Sketch has another plan with a yearly plan of $89 per device for two devices (summing up to $178). However, you can also choose to obtain licenses for up to over 50 devices at $59 per device per year.
For renewal, Sketch offers good discount plans ($69 for personal license and $64 for a team of two).
Figma supports integrations with the following apps;
- Figma Live
Sketch supports integration with the following apps
- Kite compositor
- Sketchnode 2
Support: Figma vs Sketch
For customer support, Figma offers support via email. Alternatively, there is also a community forum that you could use to get some help. The same case applies to Sketch. They have email support at the same time; you can also use the community forums available. Apart from these two support channels, both Sketch and Figma have a knowledge-base center to walk beginners through the various functionalities available on their platform.
Conclusion of Figma vs Sketch
Figma and Sketch are excellent design tools for digital artists. The tools pack a good set of features that fit both solo designers and teams. Although the functionality is almost the same, we cannot say these tools run flush in terms of features. But before we give you our final verdict on who is who in this review, first of all, we have to consider what’s on your side. Which includes; budget and platform that you are currently using and finally your needs. Combining these three aspects makes it easy for you to decide which tool is the best and suits your needs.
If you’re on a tight budget, Figma is the best alternative – has a free plan, and the paid plan is not that expensive. Figma is also available on cross platforms, meaning you can access it on Windows, Mac, Chrome, and even Linux. Figma also edges out Sketch in terms of collaborative functionality. However, Sketch is also not a loser in all aspects; it has a vibrant ecosystem of plugins and supports many file formats. Plus, Sketch is slowly developing its collaborative functionality, which looks like a good deal soon.