What’s the best software for Visual Designers?

Sketch

Sketch, the vector editor designed purely for Mac

๐Ÿ‘ Easy to learn
๐Ÿ‘ Regular updates
๐Ÿ‘ Low subscription cost

๐Ÿ‘Ž Mac only
๐Ÿ‘Ž Pretty narrow choice of tools

Whether youโ€™re creating pixel-perfect icons or coming up with concepts for a whole new product, Sketch has the basic tools you need to create some fab, if a bit basic, work. If you have a Mac, that is. If youโ€™re on a PC, this isnโ€™t going to do it.

 

Itโ€™s focused on screen design, particularly icons and interface elements for websites and apps. It can be used more generally, but its strength is creating slick user interfaces for mobile and desktop, so it might be a bit limiting if youโ€™ve got grand visions for 360ยฐ branding.

You can get it for ยฃ99 per year on a single user license, or on multiple devices from ยฃ89 per year per device. Itโ€™s not cheap as chips, but itโ€™s pretty good value compared to some of the heavy duty programs out there.

Figma

Design, prototype and get feedback all in one place

๐Ÿ‘ Runs on any device
๐Ÿ‘ Free to download
๐Ÿ‘ Easy to pick up quickly
๐Ÿ‘ Great for collaborating with teams or clients
๐Ÿ‘ Snappy auto-template mode for speedy prototyping

๐Ÿ‘Ž Runs a bit slower than a desktop app
๐Ÿ‘Ž Search function is a little clunky

Unlike Sketch, Figma is a slick web app, so you can run it in a browser on pretty much any operating system. It’s also beginner-friendly, with lots of tips and tricks on their YouTube channel to help you unlock all their features.

The prototyping tools are much more in-depth, compared to Sketch and InVision, including transitions, micro-interactions and .gif animations. The mirror tool and app is particularly helpful, as you can see your screens in a real context, bringing them to life as you work.

Figma also trounces the competition when it comes to in-app collaboration. You can create team projects, share, comment, tracking teamwork in real time. This is why at Created we work with Figma on our Visual Design Courses.

InVision

The entire product design workflow: connected

๐Ÿ‘ Instant feedback on sketching, wireframes and work in progress
๐Ÿ‘ Super easy to export files
๐Ÿ‘ Great collaboration tools and digital whiteboard
๐Ÿ‘ Nice idea sharing and user flow features

๐Ÿ‘Ž Pretty expensive
๐Ÿ‘Ž Difficult to pick up quickly
๐Ÿ‘Ž Basic prototypes
๐Ÿ‘Ž Hard to share and give access to work

InVision is a big name, but itโ€™s not always the best fit. It really depends on your skill level and project needs. Itโ€™s also super popular: so with its limited customer support, you might struggle to get answers to your questions.

Donโ€™t get us wrong, itโ€™s a powerful app, with some real pulling power when it comes to web and app design. Itโ€™s collaboration tools make it really easy to work in real-time, with great sharing features and file export processing.

The user flow feature is a great highlight too, and itโ€™s simple as can be to get quick feedback on work in progress. It can handle teams of all sizes, but at ยฃ15 per month per user, itโ€™s definitely one of the pricier options out there.

The biggest beef we have with Invision is the time it takes to learn it. Itโ€™s definitely not a tool you can pick up and use instantly. The prototypes are kind of primitive too, compared to other software, with lackluster mockups that just click through like a sad PowerPoint presentation…

Other software to think about

Adobe XD

๐Ÿ‘ Loads of prototyping features.
๐Ÿ‘ Great value for money.
๐Ÿ‘ Easy sharing prototypes.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Youโ€™ll need loads of plugins.
๐Ÿ‘Ž No way of exporting to Sketch.
๐Ÿ‘Ž Fewer design tools than other software.

Balsamiq

๐Ÿ‘ Super simple to use.
๐Ÿ‘ Killer search function.
๐Ÿ‘ Helpful default icon settings.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Limited file formats.
๐Ÿ‘Ž Shape tools are pretty basic.
๐Ÿ‘Ž Not many font options.

So there you have it, some top suggestions to get you started. We recommend having a gander and checking them all out. Find one that works for you, perfect it, and get going.

Interested in taking visual and UI design to the next level? Get in touch and take a look at our visual design courses.

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