There are a number of growing software products that are available for users to create elegant designs. Not only can they create beautiful designs, but these products also allow for rapid prototyping. Popular softwares that have emerged in the recent years are Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, Framer, JustInMind, InVision, Balsamiq Mockups and the list goes on. So how does one go about choosing the right product?
Choosing the right design software is a very difficult choice for many users. After diving into this question myself, I personally found that your environment and/or current work situation is one of the biggest factors that can influence your choice.
In regards to work environment, many designers will choose the design software that is systematically tied into their product development workflow. If many designers within their company are or have been using Sketch, it would be highly advantageous for a user to choose the software that is used within their everyday work environment.
What about users that are freelancers or those who are not bound to the dogmas of corporate design culture? Well, the first question is to see which design softwares are compatible with your OS. Sketch, a very popular design application, is only available for Mac users. This has been highly criticized and has led to the popular growth of applications such as Figma and Framer. Both Figma and Framer are available to both Windows and Mac OS users (Framer is currently developing their Windows application). Figma continues to gain momentum within the design community due to its fast learning curve, cloud based utilities, and best of all free license.
Luckily for all users, many of the design softwares are available for free or they offer a temporary free trial. With this in mind, it might be beneficial for you to try 2-3 different design applications before you dive all in.
Reasons I Enjoy Using Sketch
Not to be subjective, but I thoroughly enjoy using Sketch as my design application of choice. Sketch is a very well known application within the design community and has a large growing user base.
This is helpful because if you are transitioning jobs and/or applying for design jobs, there is a high probability that the company may be using Sketch.
I also am very fond of Sketch due to the learning curve that I personally found to be quite quick. There are a ton of free resources, as well as paid resources, that can help you learn Sketch. A simple Google search, or even better a YouTube search, will return a tremendous amount of free content to help you better understand and master the software.
In addition to the free material, I love the plugin Craft. Craft is available for both Adobe Photoshop and Sketch, but rather than diving into all the details here is a video that illustrates how Craft will optimize your workflow.
Now that you have a list of growing design applications, it’s time to do your research and find out your preferences. If you want to gain a better outlook for the future of each of these companies, check out this article that examines the design software industry.
Whatever you choose, I still think it’s beneficial that you select at least one. Whether it be Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, Framer or any of the other softwares, I found that each of these applications share a similar paradigm. So if you learn the ins and outs of one and decide that you want to switch in the future, it will not be a daunting journey! Have fun and happy hunting.