As we continue progress in the 2023 year, new updates and apps have sprung upon us. With that being said, this presents many opportunities for people to embark on varying creative and entrepreneurial endeavors and have the proper tools to help jump start this journey. Design software and technology continues to develop as users continue interacting with these programs and developers update them from user feedback. Now it is easier than ever to create an app, website, or any design graphics without all the complexity. In this blog, we are going to share the top five design tools that could help with your design journey in 2023.
Our personal favorite, Figma is a design tool perfect for creating User Interface (UI) experiences. With Figma, you can mockup UI concepts with the in-app design tools as well as create interactive prototypes to bring your ideas to life. The best part is that Figma is free to use, so it requires little investment to start working on your dream app. It offers paid plans for those interested in unlimited file creation and expanded library management. Figma is also a cloud-based program, which allows it to be collaborative among individuals—think of it like a Google Doc but for apps. The cloud-based housing allows your files to be automatically saved to the cloud, enabling easy access to design files across teams. Figma is great if you are looking for an all-in-one design solution for your individual or business needs. Another great feature to keep a look out for is Figma’s FigJam feature, which is a whiteboard-esque feature where you can sketch and diagram concepts—perfect for building out User Experience (UX) flows and brainstorming ideas.
A runner-up favorite and alternative to Figma, Sketch has come a long way since Lithios has made the transition from it to Figma. Sketch, like Figma, is a design software that also allows for creating UI elements, screens, and prototyping. It allows for the creation of vector graphics within the platform and is a downloadable application for MacOS. Unlike Figma, it is not a cloud-based program, meaning that it is accessible to use even without an internet connection. Recently, Sketch has incorporated a collaborative feature to the MacOS app to compete with Figma, so those interested in the collaborative aspect of Figma but want the convenience of a Native app can have the best of both worlds. Sketch is a subscription-based program, offering a free 30-day trial for those wanting to test the program out before committing to a full subscription. It is still regarded as the industry standard for UI/UX design creation, and is a great option for those who want a familiar UI experience with powerful design tools.
- Adobe Creative Cloud
The OG of design software, the Adobe Creative Suite evolved to become the Adobe Creative Cloud when Adobe decided to bring their programs to the cloud. The Creative Cloud is a collection of design programs ranging from photo editing with Adobe Photoshop, to vector creating with Adobe Illustrator, to animation with Adobe After Effects. It is a subscription based service that is regarded as the industry standard for graphics design and editing for those wanting a robust set of tools to improve their graphics workflow. Unlike Figma and Sketch, Adobe Creative Cloud programs do not offer a live collaborative feature, so it is not the best if you are looking to create in real-time within a team. Adobe also has a UI/UX design competitor to Figma and Sketch called Adobe XD. It offers similar functionality as Figma and Sketch but only comes as part of a full Creative Cloud subscription. The Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs is great for those wanting premium, robust design programs at a higher premium price point.
For those wanting a free alternative for graphics design, Canva is an easy to use web app for those wanting an easier UI design experience without being a professional designer. Canva offers templates for graphic design creation, creating beautiful social media, website, and app graphics with little design experience required. Canva offers real time collaboration, unlike the Creative Suite, but with the limitation of not being as robust in tools and features as the industry standard, Adobe. For those looking for a quick and free tool for graphics creation that is easy to pick up and requires minimal design experience, Canva is a great way to kick start your graphics journey.
Last, but definitely not least, Squarespace is a template based, no-code web design platform for those looking for an affordable way to create a web experience with little to no-coding experience required. Squarespace is a subscription based tool, with free options available for those who do not require expanded features such as checkout and payments, custom domain, and email campaigns. You can create simple graphics in the Squarespace web editor and customize your site with the user-friendly UI. Squarespace is a great resource for those wanting to spin-up a website experience with low-cost and no-coding experience required.
The new year brings about great design tools and updates to facilitate your design journey, to help you get started if you haven’t yet. There are lots of design tools out there and we hope this list helped simplify the search for the best design tools on the market. If you want to work along-side a professional and experienced team of designers and developers, drop us a line and we can help you bring your app ideas to life!