Figma is a powerful tool that helps designers create websites, apps, logos, and other creative assets. Albeit capable of tackling most general design tasks, user interface and user experience design are Figma's main focus. The tool's key feature enables users to create high-fidelity prototypes in minutes. The product lets designers iterate on design changes quickly, with full animation and interaction. It has everything from basic shapes and text to advanced features like UI libraries, built-in animations, and responsive grids, and exported as HTML/CSS. This results enabling you to build your project into a prototype or real app without additional coding skills.
One of Figma's most popular features is seamless team collaboration. Since it is browser-based, teams can collaborate on projects in real time. Collaborative work is thus seamless as using Google docs. Teams can communicate, comment, and interact during the project and improve their work to full capacity.
Pricing: Figma offers three plans: Free, Professional, and Organization. While the free version offers most features, you need a team plan to add more members to access your files fully.
Best for: Designers working on UI/UX designs, mockups, and wireframing different web projects. The functionality does not end here. The tool allows you to tackle most design tasks in general.
- The free plan offers a majority of features.
- Both desktop and website-based tools.
- Easy and real-time collaboration
- Overwhelming for designers' first-time designing for development handoff.
- The steep learning curve to implement responsive design.
- You are required to have an internet connection to use the tool.
Canva is an online graphic design and publishing tool that simplify the process of digital design. Launched in 2013, Canva is on a mission to enable every single individual to create professional designs.
Canva simplifies the design process with a big library of pre-sized artboards and templates for various use cases. More than 250,00 templates available include categories such as infographics, Instagram stories, reels, invitations, book covers, menus, tickets, etc.
Drag and drop builder tool allows everyone to create beautiful designs without any design background needed. Using the tool feels like having a basic version of Photoshop without having to go through a steep learning curve.
Pricing: The tool offers three plans: Free, Pro, and Canva for Teams. A free plan is best suitable for personal usage and for businesses that do not rely on design. Canva pro gives you access to premium content to create professional designs. Canva for Teams allows you all this plus real-time collaboration with teams.
Best for: Inexperienced designers and marketing professionals that do not have experience using more complex design systems. A very suitable tool for personal use and for teams without design/marketing resources.
- Easy to use.
- Great for smaller teams with limited design resources
- A big library of pre-made templates
- Lack of features for advanced designers.
- Not ideal for UI design.
- Downloading the "raw" file to your computer is unavailable.
3 Adobe Photoshop
Founded in 1990 as a simple image editor, Photoshop today is much more than that. Photoshop is a popular tool focusing on image manipulation, creation, and enhancement. Its complex features are used by graphic designers, architects, animators, publishers, photographers, and 3D artists.
Photoshop enables designers to remove distracting objects with Content-Aware technology or build composite by combining multiple pictures. Designers can combine images with text and vector graphics, while illustrators can reimagine photos to make an entirely new creation.
Pricing: Adobe Photoshop will cost you $20.99/per mo after you are done using a 7-day free trial. Photography Plan that includes Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop will cost $19.99/mo and the All Apps plan will cost $54.99/mo.
Best for: Experienced designers and photographers needing a powerful tool that will help them achieve pixel-level perfection.
- A wide variety of tools.
- Control and manipulate even the tiniest details.
- Feature boosting plugins available.
- The software is more on the pricier side.
- Very steep learning curve.
- Not suitable for batch work with photos.
Framer is a no-code web design platform most known for enabling designers to create high-fidelity prototypes. It enables you to create vector layers, import images, or create and style text layers.
The tool enables everyone to create in Figma or Sketch-like environment to turn the visual design into code. This feature allows you to create and design functional apps and websites all inside the platform without needing development assistance.
Being ISO 27001 certified, Framer is a popular tool across various tech companies and multi-team organizations.
Pricing: Framer enables you to build your first site for free using their domain. Once you want to move on to your custom domain, you can pick between the Basic and Pro plan to get more functionality.
Best for: Designers looking for a highly functional tool to create high-fidelity and interactive prototypes for your mobile app and website.
- Generating assets with Photoshop.
- Animating layers in 3D space.
- Hardware acceleration for high framers rates.
- The software can be buggy.
- Lack of templates and resources.
- Poor community.
Using a drag-and-drop building tool, designers can edit or change every element on the page. A rich library of pre-made templates enables you to either start from scratch or kick-start your project by using one of the pre-made templates.
Pricing: Using Webflow custom domain you can start creating your first sites for free. Once you must go above the basic functionality, Webflow offers several different pricing plans.
Best for: Designers wanting to take control over the full website building process and deploying websites individually. Webflow enables designers to create complex websites without needing to code.
- A bridge between coding and design.
- Ability to create highly-interactive pages and animations.
- A huge community for learning and resources.
- Expensive pricing plans.
- Lack of integrations available.
- Overwhelming for new designers.
Elementor is a WordPress plugin launched in 2015 and is now used on over five million websites. Elementor is a website builder that enables you to build, design, host, and manage a website in a drag-and-drop page builder. This allows everyone to access the front end no matter how tech-savvy it is. Elementor is an advanced templating system with more than 300 available templates for you to choose from.
Pricing: To be able to use Elementor, you first need to host a WordPress site. Once this is sorted, you can pick between 4 different plans: Essential, Expert, Studio, and Agency plan. They range from $49/year up to $999/year for the Agency plan.
Best for: Designers working in WordPress and with no programming background to create a website with custom code. Elementor uses an intuitive drag-and-drop builder that makes creating a beautiful site easy.
- Compatibility with a dozen of other plugins.
- Change the design of a full page anytime during the project.
- Sketch also works offline
- Endless plugin updates causing glitches
- Messy underlying code
- Poor site performance
Founded in 2010 by Pieter Omvlee and Emanuel Sá, Sketch is a powerful tool helping designers all over the world. A MacBook-specific design platform has many features and collaboration tools equipping individuals and teams to work efficiently.
Sketch allows developers to build plugins and integrations in their own apps, and move their work anywhere outside of the platform. Designers can work locally and privately, or share the design and work with a team.
One of the most popular Sketch features is their Symbols matching the component developers work with. They provide designers and developers with a single source of truth, making their collaboration much smoother.
Pricing: Sketch offers a 30-day free trial before picking between the Standard or Business plan. A standard plan is best for individuals and teams while a business plan is best for organizations with advanced needs.
Best for: Designers using Apple software and looking for a Figma alternative. Its collaboration features enable teams to easily work together on UI and UX Design of mobile, web, desktop, and wearables.
- Libraries sync across multiple layers.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Integration with other design software.
- A number of custom keyboard shortcuts are required to work efficiently.
- Dozens of plugins result in creating bugs.
- Poor user experience
Bubble is a visual programming language and a no-code development platform that enables designers with no-code skills to bring their applications to life. Drag and drop building tool enables designers to "develop" visually with the code being written underneath. The platform offers its own API integrations, templates, and plugins to make the workflow even more efficient.
Pricing: Like most other platforms, you can pick up Bubble for free to learn about the tool and build your first app. When you want to add more sophisticated functionality, you can pick between 4 different plans: Personal, Professional, and Production.
Best for: Designers that do not have a coding background and want to create fully functional and complex Web apps. The tool is also a popular choice for building MVPs since it allows its user to work fast and with zero code.
- Rich library of pre-made templates.
- Create superior workflow functionality.
- Big and helpful community
- Poor performance.
- You can't upload the project to the App store.
- Limited plugin and integration options.
Founded only in 2015, Pagecloud is one of the newest website builders on a mission to make website building more accessible. The tool is a drag-and-drop website builder that enables you to design and deploy websites without writing code. It is a no-code tool that equips you with pre-designed sections and the freedom to customize them to the smallest detail.
The platform enables you to copy and paste external content directly into your site, allowing designers to continue working in other environments. as well. The tool also instantly reorganizes and optimizes the page for mobile after every change you make in the desktop version.
Pricing: Pagecloud offers your first 1-page website for free to allow you to learn if the web builder is the right for you. Once you are past learning and want to create a professional site, you can pick between 2 different pricing categories: Website and E-commerce plans.
Best for: Designers looking for a good Webflow alternative to build simple websites. Being easy to use, it is a viable option for small teams lacking design and development resources.
- Copy and paste external content directly into the page.
- Full code access for custom web solutions.
- Easy access to advanced SEO tools.
- No mobile editor is available.
- The lack of grids can make the designing experience overwhelming.
- Hard to manipulate the design to look good on desktop and mobile.
Vev is a collaborative website builder for designers, developers, and marketers. Founded in 2017 in Oslo, Vev is yet another no-code platform that makes website building accessible. The tool focuses on creating engaging landing pages or interactive articles called scrollytelling.
Vev combines the best of the no-code development and design world. It takes the animations and engagement features from tools like Webflow and put them in a Figma-like environment. This enables designers to work in an intuitive environment and create beautiful live pages.
Pricing: Vev offers 3 different pricing plans with the first being free of charge. To get rid of the watermarks on your published site and to add more features, you will have to choose between the Professional and Organization plan.
Best for: Designers or non-developers that lack coding skills and want to go beyond just design. VEV enables everyone to set up and deploy a website.
- Great front-end no-code capabilities.
- Easy to create engaging online content.
- Easy to use.
- Buggy platform.
- Small community.
- Expensive pricing plans.
Starting a designer career can be overwhelming enough. Becoming a professional designer is a long journey. You have to learn and understand design fundamentals and gain practical skills that will translate into your paid projects. Finding the right design tool is another crucial first step on your career path.
It will shape your design journey and help you become an expert in a specific niche. In this article, we have gathered the top 10 design tools that can make your decision easier. You will find no-code website builders and design tools that can be used collaboratively or independently.