Design, UI, UX, Insights

The 8 Best UI Design Software Alternatives to Photoshop in 2020

Today we will review UI design software alternatives to Photoshop. In this article, we do not seek to minimize the achievements or usefulness of Photoshop. Rather, we’d like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the software as well as why would designers lookout for alternatives. We have chosen the 8 best alternative programs that could help you craft your UI/UX designs faster and more efficiently.

UI Design Software Alternatives to Photoshop

Why do we need Photoshop Alternatives?

Photoshop has become the synonym for web designing software in the last 30 years with its rich palette of tools, uses, and features. In fact, Adobe’s most powerful flagship has been the standard for almost every graphic designer, from the specialized schools throughout their entire career.

Although its fame isn’t undeserved, there are also a few disadvantages that come along with the image editing juggernaut.

  • Firstly, Photoshop has always been intended as a photo-editing software. It comes with numerous photography-related features that web designers rarely use.
  • Secondly, the software can be also heavy for some devices and pretty expensive for designers who are just at the beginning of their careers.
  • Lastly, it could be expensive for a small UX/UI design agency or a freelancer

All of this has created an opening for many Photoshop Alternatives to help designers with easier to use the software, better prototyping tools, and much smoother workflow.

In this article, we will pinpoint such UI design software alternatives to Photoshop with an intuitive experience that will help you craft your UI/UX designs faster and more efficiently.

1. Sketch – Best Photoshop Alternative for Apple Users

Same as Photoshop, Sketch is standard software in the world of graphic design. It’s the number one UI design software alternative to Photoshop for Mac users. Also, it is resolved by a third party and handoff tools. The vector-based graphic editor is the leading tool for designing UI and UX of mobile and web apps. It supports PNG, JPG, TIFF, WebP and other formats and the created designs are utilized for web developers to convert into beautiful websites.

Sketch is intuitive and focuses on the UI design with a huge library of templates available in its community. Unlike its Windows counterpart Photoshop, Sketch is very light and easy to use even for those who have just started studying it. Additionally, it allows using a lot of screens that it constructs pretty well in order to open easily. The tool also pushes constant updates and offers a more convenient pricing plan of license per year. On top of that, once the license expires, the user can still work with the software only without the updates.

More pros about Sketch is that the tool has the ability to add plug-ins in order to simplify the workflow. The cons, however, include the lack of flexibility in terms of importing documents. For example, you can’t work on PSD or AI files in Sketch.

  • Available for: Mac
  • Pricing: Three Plans, Personal License $99 Annually, Volume License $89 Annually per Device, Custom Teams Plan

Tutorials for Sketch

In case you are just starting using Sketch, we recommend the following Sketch resources


2. Figma – Best Web-Based Photoshop Alternative

Due to the obvious advantages like direct access from a web browser, the online image editing services have become preferable software for graphic designing agencies. As a matter of fact, the best perk that would make some of those tools a great choice is the real-time team interaction.

In addition, Figma gives the canvas to all members in a team to design together and create, test and ship their product from start to finish. It’s a cloud-based software that makes installing, saving and exporting obsolete. It’s the fastest and easiest way to prepare designs and send them directly to the developers to work with.

  • Pricing: Three Plans; Starter: Free, Pro: $12 Monthly,  Organization: $45 per Editor Monthly

Tutorials for Figma

In case you are interested to take advantage of what Figma can offer to your team, here are the top online tutorials to learn the tool.


3. Adobe XD – Best Multiplatform Alternative to Adobe Photoshop

Many graphic designers would prefer Adobe XD to the company’s way more popular Photoshop and Illustrator. In terms of web design, the vector-based software is perfect for the creation of web and mobile apps, supports wireframing and even some interactive prototypes. In addition, the tool offers features such as repeat grid, animation, interoperability, voice design, and custom plugins; ones hard to use or unavailable in Photoshop or Illustrator.

  • Available for: Mac, Windows, some versions for iOS and Android
  • Pricing: Three plans; Starter: Free, Single App $14 Monthly, Creative Cloud All Apps $67 Monthly

Tutorials for Adobe XD

If you decided to switch to Adobe XD, here are some guides to help you with the software from beginner to expert.


4. InVision App Studio – Powerful Screen Design Tool 

InVision is another powerful UI design software tool for collaboration between colleagues, agencies and clients, designers and developers. In fact, the online-based platform offers a smooth workflow for designing drafts and collecting feedback. It also has an arsenal of intuitive tools that makes it easy to turn ideas into designs. One could prototype and effortlessly animate transitions and interactions, and can collaborate and navigate the entire process in one place. In other words, it’s one of the most recommended UI design software alternatives to Photoshop on the market.

  • Available for: Mac, Windows
  • Pricing: Five Plans; 1 Prototype Free, 3 Prototypes $15 Monthly, Unlimited Prototypes $25 Monthly, Team Plan $99 Monthly, Enterprise Plan with unlimited features

Tutorials for InVision App Studio

If you’d like to check out the powerful tool, we recommend these tutorials for InVision.


5. Affinity Designer – Professional Graphic Design Software for Desktop and iPad


Developed by Serif, Affinity Designer is one of the biggest UI design software alternatives to Photoshop in general. It’s a part of Affinity Trinity alongside with Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher. The program is a vector graphics editor and is available for Windows and Mac. Moreover, it is compatible with the most common graphic formats that are usually required by agencies and developing companies:  Ai, SVG, PSD, PDF, and EPS. In addition, Affinity Designer supports both vector and custom brushes and allows the import of Photoshop brushes. It also offers all essential color modes support, unlimited layers, color swatches, and real-time views.

  • Available for: Mac, Windows, iPad
  • Pricing: Single plan, one-time-fee of $49.99; no subscription fees

Learn Affinity Designer

We recommend you to check out these learning resources and tutorials for Affinity Designer


6. Pic Monkey – Graphic Design Tool


Like other Photoshop Alternatives, PicMonkey offers a huge library of editing tools, design templates, and a Hub cloud storage option.  The cloud makes the designs accessible and re-editable at any time. In fact, one of the greatest things about the tool is that it provides most of its features freely. Those with a membership can respectively access the full workflow. PicMonkey also offers an open API which allows developers to directly integrate it into a website.

  • Pricing: Two subscription plans; Basic $72 Annually, Pro $120 Annually

PicMonkey has also made sure to prepare an entire library of tutorials for beginners and experts.


7. Marvel App – All-In-One Platform Powering UI/UX design

In its core, Marvel has similar functionality to InVision. It allows you to create clickable prototypes by uploading and linking screens via hotspots. In fact, it offers similar collaboration features. Marvel is the simpler and easier to use UI design software that can turn any image or sketch into an interactive prototype for all devices. Unlike InVision, however, Marvel supports unlimited projects and integration with Sketch, Slack, Google Drive, and Box. The tool is recommended for one single designer or a very small group. For example, if you have a bigger team of designers, you might need better collaboration, commenting and delivering services. Such would require a more powerful tool such as InVision.

  • Pricing: Three Plans; Free, Pro $12 Monthly, Team $42 Monthly

If Marvel got your interest, here’s how to create an interactive prototype with it.


8. Origami Studio – UI Design Tool From Facebook

Origami is a tool for designing UI built by Facebook. Its specialty is building prototypes by the use of a patch editor. Those patches help the users build the entire logic behind the app. Furthermore, Origami has a rich library of switches, scoring animations and readouts from phone sensors. In other words, it is very efficient in building interactions and help to showcase how your pages will work, as close to the final product as possible.

  • Available for: Mac Only
  • Pricing: Free

Learn Origami Studio

You can get started exploring the possibilities of the tool with the following Origami Studio mobile prototyping tutorials


In conclusion

Photoshop is still one of the greatest choices for UI design software out there, but it’s not the optimal solution for everyone. Therefore, depending on the style of work, there are amazing and very efficient tools out there that could fill any important features one might miss in Photoshop.

For more Photoshop alternatives, related not only to UI design but also wireframing and photo-editing, you could enjoy a good read in GraphicMama’s article.

In case UI design software isn’t what you’re looking for and wish to search for wireframing tools, you could also check out our choices for the 8 best wireframing tools for 2020.

Which UI design software alternatives to Photoshop have you tried already? Are there other Photoshop Alternatives that you think deserve to be on this list? Please let us know in the comment section.

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