From Pencil to Photoshop to Dropbox: 2015 Design Tools Survey

Which weapons designers around the world are favoring today, from prototyping to project management

Earlier this summer, web design veteran Khoi Vinh—former Design Director at The New York Times Online and now Principal Designer at Adobe—sent out a questionnaire to the public to learn what tools designers are using and favoring today. With participation from over 4,000 designers in almost 200 countries, the first annual Design Tools Survey results are now published on Vinh’s long-running blog Subtraction. Extracting findings from the submitted data, Brooklyn-based design studio Hyperakt created easy-on-the-eyes infographics that detail what designers are using for six major design tasks.

“I’m a designer so naturally I’m interested in tools, but even setting that aside, what’s happened in this space over the past two years is really amazing,” Vinh tells CH on why he launched the survey. “We have lots of new contenders and really fascinating, fully formed, highly capable major new design software releases at a pace of about once a month now. That’s really remarkable. My goal was to try and get a better idea of what’s actually happening as this market changes.”

He continues, “I just think it’s really surprising to see all the nuance in the results. There are some big stories that we knew about—like Sketch taking a big share of the market. But the data shows that there are actually more Photoshop users still, if you add together those who cited Photoshop as either their primary or secondary tools. So in many ways the stories we’ve heard are confirmed by the data, but there’s a lot of interesting smaller details hidden in there too.” Vinh is already planning next year’s survey, and it will be interesting to compare how much will change (or stay the same) in the course of the next year.

Check out the full survey results online at

Screenshots courtesy of