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Figma vs Sketch: the best UI and UX tool of 2021

The Figma vs Sketch discussion has been going on for quite some time now. In fact, even in 2021, the discussion is more relevant than ever with both Figma and Sketch introducing feature after feature to get ahead of its competitor. Yet, designers are left with the same question. Should you go for Figma or Sketch when working as a UX designer?
Figma vs Sketch

We wrote a post where we talked about choosing Sketch or Figma when working as a UX designer. In that post, we wrote about our opinion of how you should be able to use both tools regardless of your preference or experience with UX design tools.

However, there can be a situation where you have to pick one of the two. You might be just starting, for example. In this case, you have to start somewhere. The Figma vs Sketch discussion is ever so relevant for you then. We’ll compare the two prototyping powerhouses here to help you decide.

Table of Contents

Figma vs Sketch pricing

First up is the pricing for both Figma and Sketch. Pricing is an important aspect to consider for designers that are just starting or want to learn a new tool. Having the time to practice a new design tool without having to pay full price eases the first step of actually trying out the tool.

The good news is that you can use both tools for free at least temporarily. Sketch has a free 30-days trial period and Figma even has a pricing plan that is free entirely. Figma has the edge here although the free plan is quite limited in its possibilities.

If you look past trial versions and free plans, you will see that both Figma and Sketch have similar pricing. If billed annually, Figma will cost you $144 and Sketch $99. Compared to other expensive creative suits, this is almost a steal.

One thing to point out here is that you have to keep paying for Figma. After the initial purchase of Sketch, you can keep using the software even after a year. After that, you will essentially only pay for update support.

Let’s calculate the costs for a designer that has to use either Figma or Sketch for a short design project of 6 months and a long-term position of 2 years.

In the case of the short design project, you can get Figma cheaper if you go for the monthly payment option. It comes down to $75 for Figma and $99 for a year of Sketch. However, on a monthly basis, Sketch will be cheaper as well. The same goes for a long-term design project where  Sketch will cost you $198. Figma is up to $240.

Performance

Up next, we have the performance and availability of Figma and Sketch. The most important difference between the two tools is the fact that Sketch is only available on macOS. This sounds like a bad thing but the upside is that Sketch is a native macOS app. This means that Sketch can make full use of everything Mac has to offer.

Figma is quite the opposite of Sketch. Figma is web-based which means that you can use Figma at any time everywhere. This is of course a big plus for any designer without a Mac but this will cost you in terms of performance. Web-based apps aren’t as powerful as native apps. 

To answer the Figma vs Sketch question here, you must ask yourself where you’re planning to use the software. This depends on the operating system you use, as well as the preferred design tool of the company or client you work for.

Features

The most important measurement for any design tool is the features it has available. Features can make or break your app experience. Figma and Sketch are no different here. The general idea here is that applications have more features once they’ve been available for a longer time.

This is what you can see with Figma and Sketch. Sketch has been available for a far longer time than Figma and has therefore a higher ‘feature maturity’. Figma on the other hand is the new kid on the block that can look at what Sketch is lacking and add that to its own palette of features as they have shown in regards to collaboration.

Talking about collaboration. This is one of the main features that sets Figma apart from Sketch. You can do real-time collaborations with other designers in Figma. Sketch on the other hand requires you to share versions of your design files with other designers back and forth to collaborate.

Sketch has a very strong plugin community where developers can create and share plugins with other designers. This is great for productivity. The overall feeling is that Sketch has a more mature feel to it compared to the new (and growing) Figma design software.

One thing to keep in mind is that every business opponent tends to steal ideas from one and another. We mentioned how Sketch has great plugin features. So does Figma. Figma is great in regards to collaboration. Well, Sketch has recently announced that real-time collaboration was in beta. This will continue for some time until a clear Figma vs Sketch winner emerges.

For now, we believe Sketch to be more feature-heavy than Figma, but that can change in the future.

Answering the Figma vs Sketch question

With most of the important categories out of the way, it is time to finally answer the Figma vs Sketch question. First, we would like to accentuate that choosing between the two could be up to others. If you have to use Sketch because your colleagues do, well, there isn’t anything you can do.

For every other case, take a look at this Figma vs Sketch comparison.

Design tool Sketch Figma
Pricing $99 if billed annually $144 if billed annually
Performance Native MacOS support Web-based
Availability Mac only Every device with a browser
Features Strong plugin community Real-time collaboration

As you can see, Sketch is cheaper in most cases, has been around longer, and has better performance because of its native MacOS support. However, Figma’s collaboration feature is a killer. If Sketch can implement a similar solution, we believe Sketch to be the clear winner. Until that happens, the crown is up for grabs.

Further reading

Choosing between Figma and Sketch can be hard. We wrote about the cold hard facts to help you decide. However, we believe that it would be best for your position as a designer to be able to use both tools.

Just think of it this way. If you’re looking for a job, you can’t have the fact that you can use only one out of Sketch or Figma stop you from getting your dream job. If you can use both, you will be more efficient and in demand as a designer.

Nick Groeneveld

About the author

Nick Groeneveld is a designer from the Netherlands with over 5 years of UX, visual design, and consultancy experience. He has worked in many different industries, including retail, finance, and sports.

Take a look at Nick’s LinkedIn and Medium for more.

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