3 Best Vector Wireframing Tools for Designers

What’s the best tool for wireframing? This is a common question among designers. It’s hard to answer because each designer has different needs. What makes it harder is that there are too many tools to choose from. Understanding your workflow is the first step in finding the best tool that works for you.

Vector is a Must Because Design is an Iterative Process

Design is an iterative process that needs constant tweaking and fine-tuning. Vector tools allow you to make changes to your design at a fast speed with minimal effort. Just by clicking on an element you can resize or restyle it. You can even make changes to more than one object at the same time.

Raster tools (e.g. Photoshop) don’t give you as much efficiency. Making changes to an object takes many clicks and you can only do it one-by-one. Revisions happen often in wireframing. That’s why it’s important to use a vector tool, so that you can revise your wireframes on the fly.

Vector is a Must for Pixel-Perfection

Vector tools allow you to scale and zoom in on your graphics without losing pixel quality. Doing this with a raster tool will give you pixelated bitmap images. The blurriness will make it hard to view your designs the way you intended.

Raster tools don’t allow you to export your graphics in vector format. This means they’ll only look crisp in certain resolutions. If you enlarge a bitmap image, it’ll look blurry because it doesn’t have enough pixels. But if you enlarge a vector image, it’ll stay crisp and clear at any resolution.

Top 3 Tools for Wireframe-Only Designers

Are you a wireframe-only designer, or do you also design visual mockups? If all you do is wireframe, you don’t need a tool that’s heavy in graphical editing. A basic web-based wireframing tool should suit your needs.

These tools won’t let you create stunning graphics, but they’re enough to make wireframes. What sets these tools apart are their smart guides, pattern libraries, grids and pages feature.

1. Moqups

2. GoMockingbird

3. Wireframe.cc

Top 3 Tools for the Complete Designer

A basic web-based wireframing tool isn’t enough for the complete designer. Complete designers who design both wireframes and visual mockups need a tool more advanced. These tools allow them to add dynamic color, typography, gradients and shadows to objects.

Not only that, but they offer more wireframing features that web-based tools don’t have. These include custom symbols, layer styles, export slices and precise pixel alignment. When it comes to creating wireframes and visual mockups, these tools are a cut above the rest.

1. Sketch

2. Omnigraffle

3. Illustrator

Final Thoughts

A tool can’t help you make better design decisions. The purpose of wireframing is to find the best order, structure and layout for your content. That comes from wireframing in an iterative process. Vector tools help you do that faster and easier. Designers may have different needs, but one thing they all need in a tool is for it to support their workflow. The best tool is the one that supports yours.



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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Peter Severin Reply

    Also take a look at WireframeSketcher. It’s a specialized wireframing tool that is all vector under the hood. It’s a desktop app so that you can work completely offline.

  2. Suraj Rai Reply

    Thanks to share these tools. I am using Photoshop as my first choice but I am not a professional designer so shared tools will be helpful to create killer infographics.

  3. Ricardo Zea Reply

    Thanks for not mentioning Photoshop.

    Although some think that it’s not relevant anymore because Adobe announced they’re phasing it out, you missed Fireworks.

  4. Jan Schlegel Reply

    Hey, have you checked out Antetype yet?

    I prefer it to Illustrator and Sketch. Especially if you have to design serveral pages / screens – Antetype and its Widgets are the best!

  5. Alan Glenn Reply

    photoshop is a raster photo editing tool, that happenes to have a path tool built in because its a good way to created detailed selections.

    illustrator is a vector tool from the ground up…much better suited for the job.

    fireworks, while i dont have much experience, is both vector and raster ready – but is optimized for interface designer, button makers, and web dev. i used it like 3 times ever, to apply some preset graphic / pattern layers to a simple shape to make a button…the features should be easily lifted and translated to photoshop. i dont expect to miss fireworks when its gone.

  6. Thomas Krajewski Reply

    I always start with paper and pen to draw the rough wireframe sketches. I like to use different tools. I prefer Illustrator, Photoshop sometimes and Axure. Love the hear what other use.

  7. Marc Reply

    Glad to see Illustrator in the list and read many people use it as well from wireframing.
    When one look at job offers these days it’s like only Axure and Omnigraffle matter to recruiters. I find these two very limited, the only added value with Axure is the ability to export an interactive version but this is minor if one don’t need that feature.

  8. David Wheatley Reply

    I’ve tried many wireframe tools (Axure, Balsamiq, omnigraffle) in the end i keep coming back to Pencil and paper and then into photoshop using custom shapes to show the client. Mockingbird looks interesting.

    Thanks for the article…

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