Sketch and Adobe Photoshop were previously the biggest contenders in the ring when it came to designing for digital.
Up until semi-recently, Calm Digital were in the Photoshop corner, mainly just out of necessity. While it was originally developed as a photo editor, it was adopted by UI designers due to the lack of a suitable alternative. We made the move to Adobe XD in January 2017, and have definitely put it through its paces in that time. Here are some reasons we’ve never looked back!
The main benefit of vector-based design is that instead of being based on pixel patterns, it uses particular formulas to draw lines and shapes, meaning they are more easily scalable and you won’t see the ‘blurred’ or pixelated effect, no matter how far you zoom in. Photoshop is bitmap-based which works with pixels, so it would limit how far you could zoom to add accurate detailing to your design. Another benefit of this is that it equates to smaller, easier to share files.
Adobe XD was developed on the premise that it should be used for screen design, meaning that it is easier to use and there are fewer unnecessary tools that you would rarely use, if at all (such as the image manipulation and retouching tools that you would find in Photoshop).
This also makes the tool more lightweight and easy to use. The lack of in-program clutter means that it also has quicker performance, and you can even batch export all your design assets in one go.
XD enables you to send your progress with one simple online link, whilst also allowing you to build a better workflow than you would be able to demonstrate through Photoshop or Illustrator. There is also a prototyping feature that enables you to link screens together with interactions and animations to show a more ‘live’ demonstration to clients, showing how certain elements of your designs function in practice which makes it easier to translate to both client and developers alike. As the prototyping feature is built directly into XD, users can seamlessly switch between workspaces.
Adobe XD offers seamless integration with Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch, all of which are some of the most common design tools. The ability to integrate with all 3 gives XD a huge advantage in terms of familiarity and preference and the translation of projects into new programs. Additionally, shortcuts from other Adobe design tools remain consistent in XD.
XD offers a repeat grid feature that makes it incredibly easy to replicate similar content such as product listings or image galleries - saving designers a tonne of time! This help to A/B test different designs and even assists in presenting them. The ‘symbols’ and ‘font style’ features also have the ability to create master versions of re-usable UI assets that can be changed all at once wherever they’re used, making it a much more intuitive environment for UI design.
Another benefit of XD is that they are constantly adding new features on a monthly basis. While we love the software, there are some obvious features missing that you’d generally expect from this type of program such as: guides and rulers, better integration for items like the Bootstrap grid, the possibility to work with .EPS format and being able to copy attributes out at CSS, but these are not glaring enough to impact Calm’s workflow. Something we really like about Adobe XD however, is that they are constantly adding features that the design community are asking for, rather than just releasing a pre-packaged piece of software that they think will have all the capabilities required.
Find out more about what we do by visiting our Brand Identity, Graphic Design, User Interface Design and Marketing Collateral sections. Want to get in touch with our design team? Give us a call on 01642 903030 or fire a quick email across to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.
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