Which App To Use

I've been trying out all the vector apps trying to decide which one to use for the project. I still don't know. All the UX apps, XD, Sketch, Figma and Invision Studio seem to assume your icons will be very basic or you'll create them in something else so their drawing tools are pretty rudimentary.

Adobe Illustrator. I sort of expected to use Illustrator but found that some SVG filters (effects) aren't rendered well plus there's no UI to control them. You just get a simple text editor or you import the code and it often throws errors when there aren't any. For example if you simply change the blur value it complains.

Adobe XD. I quite liked the idea of using Adobe XD but soon found that it's a non-starter. The drawing tools are so sparse that you can't really do much. Some things you can work around but others you can't, for example there's no way to use blend modes and even worse you can't expand strokes. They obviously expect you to use AI or PS for any drawing but I even had problems pasting and opening AI images. It's a shame as it's fast and clean but I guess they can't add too much or it will take away from AI sales.

Affinity Designer I've used since the beta about 5 years ago. But as time goes by I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with the lack of any real improvements. There is still very basic functionality missing and some bugs that have been there since the beta haven't been fixed like expanding thin strokes. Then you've got no option to snap to pixel after you've initially drawn things and effects are raster so no use for SVG's. So that's a firm no.

Figma is OK for drawing. It has their fancy vector network pen tool but I just don't get on with it, not one bit. Perhaps it's wonderful if you're doing the simplistic outline icons with no fills but for anything else it seems to make things more complicated. That plus things like not aligning to pixels when you ask it to and it being an online app makes it a no.

Sketch what an ironic name when it's so clunky when it comes to drawing. It's not absolutely dreadful but it's not exactly what you'd call slick on the drawing side of things. Also Sketch is Mac only, not a problem at the moment but I don't really like being tied to a platform.

So it's not easy to decide what to use. Ignoring SVG filters I'd stick with AI, it does everything you need for icons and far more. But when needing some filters it does fall down. So I don't know yet, I think it's between AI and Sketch.

 

 

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