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Noteworthy27th November 2021

A Swift Switch to Figma after 15 years of Photoshop and 5 years of Sketch

Roundup –

My experience with design tools and how you become required to learn more than one tool.

Figma

I used Photoshop for everything. Designers, myself included, held onto it with an underestimated passion, gripped by the insecurity of change and that Photoshop would always be the answer to "Can you edit this?", "Can you design this?", "Can you crop my selfie?".

Photoshop was the go-to tool for anything skeuomorphic, web 2.0 and into the era of flat design. In the days of web 2.0, we found a new way in Photoshop to harness component based design. You could open a little photoshop file, edit and save. Mirroring those changes in the master file. This changed a lot of lives. It saved time doing an account manager's requested text amendment in the footer of over 15 template files. Ughh!

I don’t need new tools, I can do anything in photoshop!

Roughly 6 or 7 years ago, I jumped on the Sketch bandwagon because everyone else was - like a good little sheep. It served a great purpose for flat design as well as component-driven design too.

Designers started experimenting with taking a "less is more” perspective. It was gospel. All because some fancy, innovative CEO said it, RIP.

That was a game changer in the industry. Thousands of designers now having the same persuasive arguments with clients and colleagues. To listen to their whit. The fact that the industry isn't doing 3D-gradient buttons with 80% drop shadows anymore. "It has to be flat, it makes webpages faster" – shouts the 17 year old millennial designer from the corner of the office.

Sketch, I thank you for making better designers, myself included.

Be proud you got that in the bag. You allowed us to think about design for the web in a different way. You opened our minds to be more kindly to developers by giving them assets and CSS attributes. You sped up our processes because of your software with new features and libraries.

In a previous agency I worked for, I worked with a group of designers and they said to give Figma a whirl. It was in its infancy at the time but it looked quite promising. It did lack some of the features of Sketch so I never used it again after I left that company. This was a few years ago.

I've been a Sketch user for several years now. Like the Photoshop principles we had tattooed to our core, it was hard to let it go.

Figma Figma Figma

Now I do everything in Figma

In the current team I'm working with (at the time of writing), we do everything in Figma, from wireframes to UI Design. I've designed several projects in it now. So now I've been somewhat forced to use it, it feels familiar because of Sketch. The progress they've made to the platform; it's now surpassed Sketch. Not only that, Figma is dependent on an internet connection. All your design files are within Figma's cloud storage. This enables multi-user design collaboration.

This can be both a positive and negative. What happens if your office loses the internet for a day (we've all been there)? Not a strong enough reason to be against it.

From a price point, Figma is more expensive than Sketch. But there are several tools within Figma that make it cheaper from an agency perspective.

If you're using Sketch, you need animation tools like Principle. Presentation tools like Invision. It all adds up. Figma has all that included, let’s say in the long run it's more cost effective. Say no more. Figma, you rock!

Conclusion...

It's clear that designers can't cling onto a single tool out of passion or spite. We have to LEARN • ADAPT • OVERCOME. Getting to grips with many tools will help your career without a doubt. Some agencies demand certain tools. Some clients do too.

That's 3 tools to do the same thing. The pressure is on, right? Now imagine, you do print and packaging design too. Or you're a developer as well as a designer. There's a lot to take in and you must keep moving forward!

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