In 2013, Dylan Field had a vision of centralizing and producing interface design similar to Google Docs for text editing and spreadsheet utilization. The result was Figma, a web-based interface development tool and an increasingly notable term present in the design sphere.
An even earlier attempt at tackling the same endeavor came in Sketch, a worthy effort at creating a convenient and practical tool for developers from the Netherlands-based Bohemian Coding for iOS.
Since the program’s release in 2010, it has built up a solid following that has touted the program’s advantages in the realm of interface development. While Adobe used to be the dominant name in design, it shook up the competition in the design world when Sketch came along.
With Sketch and Figma being attractive offerings to professional web designers, many find themselves needing to choose between the two, seeking out information about which one is a better fit, as most designers vary in their needs. This piece will explore both rapidly evolving programs, Sketch and Figma, and draw some comparisons and distinctions between the competing design interfaces that help run the industry.
Differences Between Figma And Sketch
The primary distinction between Figma and Sketch is that the former is a web-based application, while the latter is a desktop app exclusive to the Mac platform. This gives a key advantage to Figma, as it can be used for web-based collaboration anywhere the internet is available, while Sketch is confined to the device the program exists on. Figma also has a desktop application available for use with both Windows and Mac platforms.
Conversely, Sketch can be used for offline work, while Figma cannot generate new file instances on a desktop client or through the web without internet connectivity. For those designers who operate offline frequently, this is an essential factor to consider in their choice.
Sketch costs $99 per year, during which time the application is provided all of the latest updates and enhancements. Once the annual license lapses, the user can continue to work with Sketch for a limited time but without the benefit of maintenance and updates. The license can be renewed at any time.
Figma, on the other hand, is available for free to all users. Still, they do offer a $15/month charge for packages per professional designer ($12 if purchased for a complete annual cycle), as well as corporate packages that are available with a $450 annual price tag.
To help evaluate the usefulness of both tools before deciding on the one that works best, both Sketch and Figma offer free trials for all new users.
The interface features between Sketch and Figma are pretty similar, with the main difference being the terminology used. In Figma, users work in “frames” and utilize “components,” while Sketch monikers their design spaces as “artboards” and use “symbols.” It is straightforward outside of these distinctions to adapt from one interface to the other between the two programs.
● Being a web-based tool, Figma allows for online teamwork and collaboration on the same project featuring multiple contributors. Team members do not need to be notified about personal changes as they will be fully aware of the latest and greatest alterations simply by logging on.
● Figma allows for browser-based viewing, making it agnostic to what device is used to view the design. In other words, one does not need to open a particular piece of software to view or work with a design project.
● One area where Figma shines is in its improved and enhanced Pen feature. It surpasses Sketch and essentially all other competitors in their field, including those programs that delve into professional graphic editing. This feature gives the web design agency far more versatility and flexibility.
● Figma connects all points of vector lines into a single network and does not just keep the initial and final points. Due to this, it is possible to move the line entirely without changing the position of its control points.
● Sketch has longevity on its side, having more time to build up its reputation in the design sphere. Since Figma is newer, some designers may be more comfortable with a more established product.
● Mainly anything found in Figma that is not featured in Sketch can be acquired by plug-in installation, not a significant risk or concern for most designers. While Figma contains various developmental and prototyping capabilities, most popular industry tools can still be acquired through plugins in Sketch.
Overall, Figma wins out over Sketch when lined up side by side. Sketch’s Mac OS limitation and Figma’s advantages of being web-based provide a significant incentive for designers to choose Figma between the two. Figma is more focused on team collaboration and attention to detail.
From a functional perspective, Figma and Sketch align nicely against each other. For professionals, Sketch is the more affordable variant with a mere $99 annual price tag, so the budget of the company, as well as the size of the team collaborating on design projects, is an essential consideration in which tool the company uses.
It also allows the company to save money for other resources while still having an attractive and highly viable design product to work with. On the other hand, many companies may opt for the steeper price of Figman due to its multi-user design features.