Good version control tools for designers

3 years ago from , Senior Interaction Designer

Our team is actively using Abstract but I'm wondering if there are any other alternatives out there. We've looked at Plant but it didn't seem as stable.


  • Matt Pinheiro, 3 years ago

    Move away from Sketch, and start using Figma. You can tag versions, it autosaves some for you, and you can go back in time to copy stuff from older version without leaving the file.

    In terms of distributed teams and history keeping, it is a dream come true. It might seem daunting to make the move at first, but you will not be looking back in a couple months.

    16 points
    • fsdgerh wrheherfsdgerh wrheher, almost 3 years ago

      It seems lots of designers are switching over to Figma, looks like I gotta give it a fair shake. I can't place what it is, but something about the interface puts me off. I love the way Figma handles symbols though!

      Did you happen to see this?

      3 points
      • Brian MoonBrian Moon, almost 3 years ago

        Yeah Figma is great. I primarily use Sketch because of the 3rd party plugins but if Figma had a community building plugins around the platform, I'd happily move over to it and work on my PC instead.

        2 points
      • Gavin McFarlandGavin McFarland, almost 3 years ago

        Yeah I felt the same. I think it was because it doesn't look like a native app. I've gotten used to it now and I much prefer it over Sketch. Once you experience the smart guides and try selecting shapes and text you realise how much easier it is than Sketch (in my opinion).

        2 points
      • Matt Pinheiro, almost 3 years ago

        Yeah, it is indeed strange for the first hour. But after that, it feels as good as Sketch, or event better. We're 4 people that have switched from Abstract+Sketch to Figma and felt all the same way. This is what Sketch felt like when we were used to Photoshop. I guess it's the same, and it just takes a little getting used to.

        I don't think making it native as Sketch would be a good move, since it defeats the whole purpose of what being web-based means. When other people can comment and extract info from your file without asking "where the latest version is" and "have you uploaded the latest to Zeplin" you will see why your design file being a link is incredible.

        2 points
      • Michael RurkaMichael Rurka, almost 3 years ago

        My friend hates the look of Figma, too. Regardless, I got hooked on its utility and integrated design system capabilities. Been a sketch user for ~4 years before "switching".

        Oh.. and the live action design capabilities is super dope, too. Can be helpful on remote calls with collaborators :)

        1 point
  • Stefano Vitagliano, almost 3 years ago

    Figma. I can't recommend it more. No other tools needed. No more invision and avocode. No retro compatibility issues on your files or when there is new release. No more files on the server. Every design file has it's own url and is accessible from everywhere and with every machine. Versioning and prototyping.And you can use it for free if your team has just 2 designers. Import your sketch files and you're good to go.

    9 points
  • Art SevaniArt Sevani, almost 3 years ago

    Hi Brian, Art here from Plant. Let me know if you would like to get on a call and discuss your concerns you may have had with Plant. We have some amazing updates coming this year, which I'm sure will improve the overall experience with the product.

    8 points
  • Richard SisonRichard Sison, 3 years ago

    I'm an Abstract user and while there have been some little bugs I've run into, it's fairly solid.

    Where does it fall short for your team or what answer are you looking for exactly?

    4 points
    • Brian MoonBrian Moon, almost 3 years ago

      We have a team of designers working on multiple files. One change in the library affects all branches and we have to go through every single one to resolve conflicts (sometimes this ends up being 600+ changes). Also, we are looking into replacing Invision completely and the only thing we are missing is the inspect feature. Overall it's been a good experience and just curious what other options were out there.

      1 point
      • Richard SisonRichard Sison, almost 3 years ago

        Ah right. Regarding the library affecting all branches, I can't see any way around that other than trying to separate library updates before anyone else does their work?

        Are you using Invision for anything else other than designer-development handover…? Invision's core feature is its prototyping. The only one that comes close in that regarding (with a Sketch workflow) is Marvel. Marvel also has a handover functionality, though I can't speak to how good it is.

        If you're just trying to replace the Inspect feature though, Zeplin is much better in my opinion. Even with a paid Invision subscription, I have a Zeplin subscription for development handover. I'd recommend Zeplin if the only feature you need to use from Invision is Inspect.

        But Abstract is also going to be releasing a handover feature soon-ish. Which I'm guessing you're waiting for too.

        I'm keen to see what it's like. Though I still like having Zeplin as the platform for handover. My Sketch files (and Invision too) tend to be messier than is required for developers due to the versions that float around and the mini-deliverables to clients. Zeplin affords you an environment to keep things separate and clean for your developers. I like that about it.

        0 points
        • Brian MoonBrian Moon, almost 3 years ago

          We use Flinto for prototyping. When it comes to flow prototyping, I found that this is best tool out there so far that has advanced animation capabilities. The only downside is that you don't have an easy way to share with remote testers.

          I've used Zeplin before but for the time being, we might just stick with Abstract. Other than the library affecting branches, it's been great and they'll be releasing inspect really soon (as you mentioned). We'll probably be looking into replacing Invision completely once it has that feature.

          1 point
          • Richard SisonRichard Sison, almost 3 years ago

            Yeah nice. Flinto is fantastic but prefer it as an interaction prototyping tool rather than flow prototyping.

            The most annoying thing is its discrepancy with features vs Sketch (i.e. no inner shadow comes to mind…). It makes it difficult to keep things in sync and maintained.

            Do you find that or does it perform pretty well?

            0 points
            • Tank XuTank Xu, almost 3 years ago

              Inspect feature has been supported by Abstract since version 72.

              0 points
              • Richard SisonRichard Sison, almost 3 years ago

                True, but not with asset extraction as far as I'm aware...? Didn't see it in the release notes from 73. But could've been eclipsed by the sketch data loss drama...

                0 points
  • Matt KMatt K, 3 years ago

    Abstract is the best. A recent update also has handoff so no need for Zeplin.

    We used to use Plant but ran into a bug where the whole thing stopped working if there were more than about 30 projects. Think it's been sorted, but the fix came too late for us – can't have a roomful of designers sitting about with no access to their files for a week.

    Kactus is interesting, but expensive for a hastily-hacked version of the Github desktop client.

    I wrote a (fairly poorly written) article here reviewing the options.

    1 point
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, almost 3 years ago

    Doesn't it make you miss Layervault?

    1 point
  • Nathaniel BlackburnNathaniel Blackburn, almost 3 years ago

    A recommend taking a look at Avocode (https://avocode.com), it's a fantastic tool which supports a bunch of formats from Photoshop to Figma.

    1 point
    • Brian MoonBrian Moon, almost 3 years ago

      This looks promising! We were looking into a tool that has inspect and handoff and this does it along with version control. Thanks for sharing.

      1 point
    • Alberto OrsiniAlberto Orsini, almost 3 years ago

      Currently in the process of trying out products for my new company and this looks interesting. It seems most of the products out there have the right features, but I still struggle with scale: core team members + contractors + agency resources collaborating through the same source files with a single source of truth.

      I guess this can be solved with the right process as opposed to the right tool?

      0 points
  • Alex KukharenkoAlex Kukharenko, almost 3 years ago

    https://www.jointrunk.com/ is also good option to stick with

    0 points
    • Elliott Risby, almost 3 years ago

      Hi Alex - Elliott here from Trunk. Thanks for the shout out! We are relatively new to the scene but have some huge updates coming out in the next few weeks. Cheers, Elliott

      0 points
  • Ronald Harris, almost 3 years ago

    Folio -simple version control for design teams based on Git

    0 points
  • taha fakhruddin, almost 3 years ago

    Abstract is a good version control tool. It lets you create a master file and then branch out to create different iterations of your design. Helpful especially when you have multiple designers working on the same project but on different components.

    0 points
  • Robin GoyalRobin Goyal, almost 3 years ago

    It's good that I came to know about abstract but hey, I won't be able to use since I am the only designer in the organization.

    0 points
    • Alexey LapenkoAlexey Lapenko, almost 3 years ago

      Thought the same, but turned out that it's really handy even in a one-man-band. For example, commenting on your commits make everything more clear and transparent even if you're doing it for yourself. Memory is a weird thing ;) Also, it embraces to think through your file management. And It's free for personal usage, so definitely recommend.

      1 point
  • CJ CiprianoCJ Cipriano, 3 years ago

    Abstract is definitely the best around, what are your issues with the platform exactly?

    0 points
  • Nick Dominguez, almost 3 years ago

    There is also Kactus https://kactus.io but don't have any personal experience using it so I can't comment on how good it is compared to Abstract or Plant.

    0 points
    • Brian MoonBrian Moon, almost 3 years ago

      We've heard of this but thought it was less user-friendly than the options mentioned above. Thanks for chiming in though.

      0 points