Freeform deformation (FFD) is a well established technique for 3D animation applications, used to deform two—or three-dimensional geometrical entities. Over the past few years, FFD technique has aroused growing interest in several scientific communities. In this work, an extensive bibliographic survey of the FFD technique is initially introduced, in order to explore its capabilities in shape parametrization. Moreover, FFD technique is compared to the classical parametrization technique using B-spline curves, in the context of the airfoil design optimization problem, by performing inverse airfoil design tests, with a differential evolution algorithm to serve as the optimizer. The criterion of the comparison between the two techniques is the achieved accuracy in the approximation of the reference pressure distribution. Experiments are presented, comparing FFD to B-spline techniques under the same flow conditions, for various numbers of design variables. Sensitivity analysis is applied for providing further insight into the differences in the performance of the two techniques.