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App Development
7 minutes read

The Definitive App Design Tool: Sketch Vs Figma

by Diego Coronado
App Development
7 minutes read

It is common in the design world to stumble upon discussions like which tool is the best. One of the hottest debates going on right now involves Figma and Sketch. Which of these two Vector Graphics Editors is best for app designers to work with? 

If you want to figure out whether Figma or Sketch is what you need for your app development project, you’ve come to the right place. In this post we compare these two alternatives and discuss their similarities, differences, and which one is best for app development. 

Vector Graphics Editors

Vector Graphics Editors are one of the most powerful tools designers use. They are used in all sorts of projects and are particularly helpful for anything related to the visual side of software development. One of the strongest uses of this type of software is web development, but it can be used to design app User Interfaces, amazing web apps, and more.

No matter if the purpose of your project is to build a web or mobile app, a Vector Graphic Editor is the perfect tool. These tools can help designers not only build app layouts easily but also design mockups. These, in turn, can help project managers and other team members get an idea of how an app will look once finished, facilitating feedback loops. Having feedback is very handy, especially when testing your app’s UX. 

Although most of these tools offer the same basic functions, they differ in certain aspects. It is in these similarities and differences where we can determine which one is best for building apps. First, let’s take a look at what designing an app demands.

Designing Apps

Guaranteeing users an engaging experience has become necessary for any type of app. As a result, development teams are placing a greater emphasis on an app’s design elements. This can be explained for various reasons. For a start, it is impossible to conceive of a world-class app that does not focus on the UX/UI. Additionally, apps that are visually appealing have better chances of engaging users. We know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of apps, this doesn’t apply. 

Figuring out these two design aspects requires app development teams to work together in order to achieve outstanding results that users will love. This becomes even more relevant if a development team focuses on an Agile work methodology. Developers and designers need to be able to communicate clearly. Collaborating on design pieces enables teams to share ideas and find solutions in effective and impactful ways. This becomes helpful during sprints, especially when you have to make the most out of project deadlines. 

Differences

One minor difference between Sketch and Figma is the wording. Although they have the same basic design elements and tools, these are referred to in different ways. Sketch’s symbols are known as components in Figma. If you know your way around design tools, this shouldn’t be an obstacle. What we really like about Figma’s components is that they allow you to make changes directly to your work; Sketch, on the other hand, requires you to go to the symbols panel. This sounds like something minor, but it can save you a lot of time working.

Another important difference is that Figma is a web app, while Sketch is a desktop app. This allows Figma to run on a browser, helping you place the computing workload on the server-side of the app without affecting performance; this means your computer will reduce its workload. Additionally, you will be able to share design files easily with your team members in real-time. On the contrary, Sketch Cloud is more a folder than a real-time collaboration feature. In other words, it can be pretty restrictive for collaboration. This restriction can benefit projects on which you wouldn’t want an entire team to share their thoughts. 

Similarities

In general, both Figma and Sketch have the same design tools. If you know how to use them properly, you can get amazing results. Ultimately, achieving great results depends on specific design skills and experience, not on the tool you use. 

Another similarity is that both programs are specially thought out for designers. Whatever you do with them, you will be able to easily scale it up and adapt it to the needs of your team or client. Both are good for Agile working environments. 

It is worth noting that, for some projects, using Sketch can demand that you use other programs like InVision or Zeplin. This becomes relevant if you want to be able to collaborate and share in real-time. This real-time collaboration issue is not a problem with Figma. With it, you can do everything in your product design workflow. This includes creating, collaborating, prototyping, sharing, and getting feedback. 

Figma’s Strengths

If we had to sum up Figma’s strengths in a few words it would definitely be real-time design. Because of how it is built, it has a very strong creative focus in terms of team collaboration. Sharing, placing comments, and viewing changes are very straightforward to do, even for users who don’t know the app. This makes us wonder if web is the way to go for many other apps. Only time will tell, but it definitely looks so. 

In terms of app development, using a web app and being able to share information easily in real-time is a game-changer. Don’t just think of this feature as something nice to have. In reality, it can help improve team collaboration and the quality of the process with which you build top quality design pieces. Lastly, consider that, most likely, you will not need any additional programs working with Figma. It is very complete, easily updated (like any good web app), and it is constantly being improved. 

Sketch’s Strengths

One major strength that Sketch has is its plugins. It has been on the market for some years now, and this has made it a favorite for plugin developers. Even if updating its desktop app is not as easy as for a web app, plugins can help you add new features and stay up to date with any important changes. 

The second most important strength is that Sketch can easily work offline. Because it is installed directly on your computer, you don’t have to worry about having access to the Internet in order to work. This is something that users that are constantly on the move surely appreciate. 

Final Thoughts

Figma and Sketch are two powerful design tools that any app development team needs. They are easy to use and help improve your team’s work, making the project pipeline leaner. In conclusion, they can be used to build amazing digital products.

When it comes to choosing the best of them, as an app development company, we believe that collaboration is key. That’s why, for the time being, we consider Figma is better suited for building apps. Its easy sharing and collaboration features help teams get work done in smart ways. Thanks to this, the app can be easily integrated into Agile based projects. For any app development team, this is very important. 

At Koombea, we take design very seriously. We make sure our designers and developers have access to the best tools in the market. This philosophy has allowed our team to complete over 1000 projects and products that our customers love, making the process fun, and more importantly, collaborative. Feel free to contact us and find out how we can help you build that killer app.