This free brand-new digital design app wants to take on Adobe and Sketch

Following its initial launch last month, InVision has announced that its brand-new digital design and UX application will be free for all users.

The announcement was made at a demo of the software in San Francisco last night.

While the InVision Studio software is free, it's of course designed to be used with the company's website- and app-prototyping platform. Demo/testing accounts aside, pricing for that begins at $25 (£19) per month for single users and $99 (£75) per month for teams of up to 5 (larger 'enterprise' subscriptions are also available).

Studio is pitched directly against Adobe XD, which has grown from a digital design tool to include prototyping and client feedback tools – seeing Adobe pushing into territory occupied by the likes of InVision. Now InVision is pushing back – launching a desktop design application called Studio that’s a rival to XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch or whatever tool you use to design apps, sites and other digital products.

Studio’s available for Mac and Windows, and includes both design and prototyping features. You can design elements and layouts, and add interactivity and animation using quick and simple tools.

You can work on layouts for one screen size or type, and see that design adapted automatically for other devices and orientations. Libraries of assets can be shared across teams, and updated elements can be rolled out across designs. And designs can be quickly uploaded to the InVision platform to share with others in an organisation (or clients).

You can see InVision Studio in action in the video below.

InVision says that Studio is designed to be as easy as possible for users of tools from Photoshop to Sketch to pick up and start using. Even so, why would you take the time to move from tools you already know intimately to a brand new one?

InVision’s CEO Clark Valberg says that Studio’s big benefit is that it works seamlessly with the rest of InVision.

"We started as a cloud-based collaborative extension to Photoshop,” he says, “as Photoshop was all we had. We were a complement to those desktop design tools, but the missing piece for the customer was that those tools are still very focussed on graphic, aesthetic-oriented design. The craft of digital product design has many more dimensions: interactivity, animation, the fabric that ties the design team together – that’s where Studio comes in."

InVision sees the integration with its wider platform as a big differentiator between its platform and Adobe XD. Clark says that XD has relatively basic collaboration tools compared to InVision’s, which the latter sees a making its platform more suitable for larger organisations such as its clients including Airbnb, Amazon, Nike and Uber.

"Adobe is super-good at making desktop tools for individual participants in a creative process,” says Clark. "InVision is an evolution of this, thinking about how those people work together.”

InVision is also attempting to beat Adobe on price, at least for current InVision customers. While the company hasn’t announced pricing for Studio yet, Clark says that it will be ‘incredibly competitively priced”.

Clark says that InVision has developed Studio as an app rather than an in-browser design tool like UXPin as users get greater accuracy from a desktop tool – and to help designers focus on the creative process

"It’s very difficult for designers to get orientated in a tab among a hundred others,” he notes. "Also, even with modern web technologies, there’s still a fidelity issue and a performance gap."

Studio is currently in closed beta – which you can sign up for – but should ship in January 2018.

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