Adobe Illustrator vs Figma

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Adobe Illustrator

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Adobe Illustrator vs Figma: What are the differences?


Adobe Illustrator and Figma are both powerful design tools widely used in the industry. While they share some similarities, there are key differences that set them apart.

  1. User Interface and Collaboration: Adobe Illustrator is a standalone software that requires installation on a local machine, whereas Figma is a browser-based tool that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Figma allows for seamless collaboration among team members in real-time, enabling multiple users to work on a design simultaneously, while Illustrator lacks this feature.

  2. Vector Editing Capabilities: Both Illustrator and Figma offer extensive vector editing capabilities, but Illustrator has a more robust set of tools and features. Illustrator provides advanced options for creating and editing complex illustrations and artworks, including precise control over individual anchor points and paths. Figma, on the other hand, has a more simplified vector editing interface, suitable for basic vector graphics creation and editing.

  3. Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud: One significant advantage of Adobe Illustrator is its seamless integration with the Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem. Users can easily import and export files between different Adobe software such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro. This integration allows for a smooth workflow and efficient transfer of assets. Figma, although it offers various import/export options, does not have a deep integration with other design tools beyond basic file compatibility.

  4. Prototyping and Interaction Design: Figma excels in interactive prototyping and has robust features for creating design prototypes with animations, transitions, and interactive elements. It allows designers to create interactive UI designs, test user flows, and gather feedback. While Illustrator has limited prototyping capabilities, it primarily focuses on static design and lacks the comprehensive prototyping functionalities provided by Figma.

  5. Subscription Model: Adobe Illustrator follows a traditional software licensing model, where users need to purchase a subscription or a perpetual license to access the software. This can be cost-prohibitive for individual designers, especially those just starting. Figma, on the other hand, offers a more flexible pricing structure, including a free plan, making it more accessible to designers with different budgets.

  6. Platform Compatibility: Illustrator is a desktop application available for both macOS and Windows. Figma, being browser-based, is compatible with various operating systems, allowing users to work seamlessly across different platforms. This cross-platform compatibility makes Figma an attractive choice for teams with diverse setups.

In summary, Adobe Illustrator offers a comprehensive set of vector editing tools and deep integration with other Adobe software but lacks real-time collaboration and interactive prototyping features available in Figma. Figma, being browser-based, provides a more flexible collaboration environment, robust prototyping capabilities, and a platform-independent experience.

Advice on Adobe Illustrator and Figma
Needs advice

Hello, I want to start an unlimited graphic design service. (yes, yet another one, but bear with me)

It’s the second week that I’m working on this project, my goal is to test the market as soon as possible.

One element that is missing is the solution to handle communication between the clients and the designers.

• Mandatory: it needs to communicate instructions, progress/status, and design files (exported from Adobe Illustrator or similar). • Optionally it would also display the design inside the app so the files don’t need to be opened. • Optionally it would let the client easily mark the design where he wants revision.

• Mandatory: it needs to have unlimited clients and unlimited projects (I’ll have hundreds of clients and each will have at least one project) • Optionally it would auto-assign a new project to the first available designer, or let the designers choose themselves which project they want to work on • Optionally it would have groups (corresponding to a subscription plan) with different clients and different designers in each • Optionally it would communicate with other apps so that client and designer management tasks (access, payment, etc) can be automated

I’m open to all suggestions, not just the selection above. Ultimately I guess I’ll have a custom app developed on a no-code platform, but to begin with I need something simple and ready.

Reminder: it is only for graphic design, between my designers and my clients

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Replies (2)

Zeplin is great for Developer handoff and setting as source of truth for Design and Developemt. InViosion is the standard for communicating/testing design ideas and prototypes with stakeholders. Both applications offer unlimited projects. I use them on a daily basis at big enterprises and for small weekend projects.

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Mert Torun
Product designer at Mert Torun · | 3 upvotes · 145.6K views

I have been using Basecamp since 2008 to handle my client communications. I have gone through all of its three iterations.

I'd recommend Basecamp above the others because:

  • It is a communication tool through and through. Looking at your description, that seems to be what you need. Zeplin is a developer handoff tool. It isn't designed to cover a more broad use case as you describe. Invision has some features that you want, but it is primarily a tool for building quick low-fidelity prototypes from website mockups. Figma is a great design tool. For the last two, communication is a secondary feature.
  • It was designed by a design agency (37 Signals) for their own needs, which were quite similar to yours. (They later closed the agency to focus on Basecamp as a product full-time)
  • It has flat pricing that doesn't count the number of projects, clients or team members you have. You don't have to think twice about opening another project or inviting another user. You always pay the same price.
  • It can separate team and client communications. The team can talk about something without the client ever seeing it, in the same context.
  • It can keep todo lists, which I think you will need anyway.
  • Access control is based on projects. Every team member or client will only see the projects they are invited to. They will not even know the existence of others. (Except admins. They can see and join all projects)
  • It is easy to understand and use. The design is free of clutter and easy on the eyes. Your clients (especially the tech-averse ones) will appreciate it.
  • It has mobile/desktop apps with the full functionality of the web app. You won't have to wait for someone to sit down to get a quick approval.

The only real downside for me was the lack of language support in the user interface. You will be fine if your users understand some very basic written English. Some of my clients did not, so I had to walk them through it.

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Pros of Adobe Illustrator
Pros of Figma
  • 2
    Vector Creation
  • 18
    Web-based application
  • 10
    Intuitive interface and perfect collaboration
  • 8
    Free software
  • 7
    Works on both Mac and Windows
  • 7
    Highly Collaborative
  • 6
    Great plugins, easy to extend
  • 5
    Works on multiple OS's
  • 5
    Imports Sketch files
  • 5
    Large community, tutorials, documentation
  • 5
    Hands done the best design tool for collaboration!
  • 4
    Prototyping, design files and comments all in one place
  • 4
    Interactive, event-based prototypes
  • 3
    No more syncing between Sketch and InVision

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Cons of Adobe Illustrator
Cons of Figma
  • 3
    Massive disk space usage
  • 3
    Adobe Updater to slow you down even more
  • 2
  • 1
    Not really a tool for web design
  • 1
  • 6
    Limited Export options

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What is Adobe Illustrator?

The industry-standard vector graphics app lets you create logos, icons, sketches, typography, and complex illustrations for print, web, interactive, video, and mobile.

What is Figma?

Figma is the first interface design tool with real-time collaboration. It keeps everyone on the same page. Focus on the work instead of fighting your tools.

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What companies use Adobe Illustrator?
What companies use Figma?
See which teams inside your own company are using Adobe Illustrator or Figma.
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What tools integrate with Adobe Illustrator?
What tools integrate with Figma?

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What are some alternatives to Adobe Illustrator and Figma?
Adobe InDesign
The industry's leading page layout and design software enables you to create, proof and publish documents for print and digital media. Ir has everything to create posters, books, digital magazines, eBooks, interactive PDFs and more.
Adobe Photoshop
It is the best in the world of graphic design and image processing software that will realize any of your ideas. Create and enhance photos, illustrations and 3D graphic objects.
It is professional quality vector graphics software which runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This software can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings.
Easily create complex shapes with our state-of-the-art vector boolean operations and take advantage of our extensive layer styles.
Affinity Designer
No bloat, no gimmicks, just all the tools you need, implemented how you always dreamed. It is a stripped back, pro-end workhorse that will always get your job done. It was created to thrive on the electric pace of the latest computing hardware. Live, responsive and incredibly fluid, it’s simply a joy to use.
See all alternatives