Figma and Illustrator are two industry-standard UI designing apps. Figma has the power of collaboration, whereas Illustrator is a vast program to design pretty much everything.
What’s the difference, and which one is for you? Here is Figma vs. Adobe Illustrator comparison to find out.
What are both
Figma is a web-based UI design service to design apps, websites, logos, and prototypes. It offers some great editing options to create simple to complex user interface designs.
Illustrator also is a designing application to design flyers, posters, social media posts, UI, and more. Using it is challenging, but it offers more options than Figma.
Figma vs. Illustrator: Tools
Of course, Figma comes with the basic editing tools, but here are the options that make Figma awesome:
- CSS support for layers
- AI-based grid system
- Great layer duplicating feature
- Layer exporting
- Image support
- Layer inspect feature
If you are not interested in the advanced features, here are the basic ones:
- Rectangle shape
- Polygon shape
- Pen tool
- Pencil tool
Illustrator has over 30 tools, including:
- Line segment
- Width tool
Other than those, Illustrator offers workspaces, and each workspace comes with workspace-specific options. Some of the workspaces are essentials, painting, tracing, and web.
Illustrator is highly customizable so that you can disable and enable sections regardless of the workspace.
Note: Figma is also a competitor of Canva. Please check out the Canva vs. Figma comparison if interested.
Figma has an edge in this round of Figma vs. Illustrator. Real-time collaboration is what makes Figma great. You see all users working on a project in real-time, and each user gets a unique color to eliminate confusion and conflicts.
Illustrator supports sending designs for comments and feedback through cloud storage you get, but that’s pretty much it.
Depending on your style, one will work better. Figma offers an endless canvas to design all the project pages. As you add content, the canvas stretches. The mouse can be used to control zoom and move around.
Illustrator works on vector designs that can be stretched to any size, but size must be specified while creating a document.
In each file, multiple artboards can be created. Artboards are like project pages. Each design page can be created on a new artboard. So, if you want to work on each design separately, Illustrator will benefit.
Illustrator is better at exporting documents. Figma supports exporting in JPG, PNG, PDF, and SVG files, while Illustrator saves files as AI (Illustrator) that can be uploaded to the cloud.
It also offers to export all the artboards to PNG files quickly. Furthermore, the export menu supports exporting in:
- Autodesk RealDWG
- Enhanced metafile
- Text Format
- Windows Metadata
Related: Creative Cloud vs. Photoshop
Ease of use
This is where Figma vs. Illustrator shows the difference. Figma is much easier to use. It’s a web-based tool with essential options. You get an interface with pretty much all the options and a presenter button.
The presenter is something special to Figma, but it needs polishing because it does not work properly.
Illustrator is a world in itself. It has a toolbar with layers, libraries, effects, document setup, and artboards. Although those tools are to create unique designs, there is a steep learning curve.
Illustrator also uses GPU to perform certain tasks, so a modern computer is also something you will need to consider.
There is one integration for Figma (Dribbble), but there are several plugins to install in your project. Those are created by the community, and almost all are free. Some of the popular ones are:
- Remove BG
Illustrator also lets you install plugins. Some extensions are specially developed for Illustrator, while some work on other Adobe apps as well. In total, there are 492 plugins right now. Some of the most popular extensions are:
- QR Code Maker
- Getty Images Plugin
- Scripts Panel
About 100 extensions are free, while the rest are paid.
Both come with pre-set sizes to create the perfect size. As Figma is more for UI design, you find desktop, mobile, tablet, and iPad sizes.
On the other hand, Illustrator comes with web, art, illustrations, mobile, and other document sizes. The desktop computer sizes are missing, so you add those manually. As you create a custom size, the software saves it to the recently created section.
Figma has a mobile app that can’t create and edit designs, but you can view and share designs and browse team files. The app has some other quick options to manage projects on the go.
Adobe Illustrator has an iPad app that does not support all the features, but it’s good enough to learn to use it.
There are multiple plans that Figma offers, but the most common ones are Professional and Organization. You can create 3 Figma files in the free plan, but there is no limit on collaborators.
The subscription is just for trying it out. You will need one of the premium plans to take advantage of this program. For $15 per month, you will get:
- Unlimited Figma files
- Audio conversations
- Sharing permissions
- Team libraries
You can pay yearly and save $3 per month. The Organisation subscription is only available on the yearly contract costing $45 per month per creator. It gives you access to:
- Design system analytics
- Organization-wide libraries
- Branching and merging
- Private plugins
The plan is for established teams already making good money.
Adobe Illustrator does not limit features, but you pay according to the subscription period. The yearly contract costs $239.88, but if you can’t afford to pay this much, you can pay $20.99 per month on the same yearly contract.
The month-to-month plan, which does not bind you to any contract, costs $31.49 per month. You get 100 GB of cloud storage, Adobe Fonts, Portfolio, and future updates.
Which one should you choose?
If you just want to create UI designs, go with Figma. It will make you and your team’s tasks simple.
If you are a graphics designer covering a wide range of topics, or you think you will have to invest in other design areas in the future, Illustrator is the one to take. The program is complicated, so the sooner you start, the sooner you master it.
Figma vs. Illustrator: Links
Both work fine, but Figma is more comfortable if you just want to focus on UI and UX. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. Please let me know what you think of both in the Figma vs. Illustrator battle. You can also sign up for the newsletter to stay updated on this article.