Why You Should Seriously Consider Sketch
You may ask yourself, why should I start from scratch and spend time and energy learning a new design program? I get it, as a designer I know the struggle. Time is precious and it is difficult to invest time in something that may end up being a total waste.
For me there have always been pain points when using Photoshop. First of all, it is pixel based – enough said. Second, accessing and manipulating content has always felt heavy to me. There is nothing more frustrating than sifting through endless nested layers, and of course let’s not forget accidentally making 5 empty text boxes.
Needless to say, I decided it was worth giving Sketch a fair shot and this is what I found:
#1 It is lightweight.
When first opening Sketch, I will admit my first thought was – where is everything? However, the more I designed in Sketch the more I started loving its simplicity and lightweight functionality. Moving and creating artboards is effortless. Copy and paste elements from one artboard to the next without getting the terrifying spinning wheel of death. Resize artboards to content with one click. Select a layer – one click, edit a layer – 2 clicks, can’t get much simpler than that. Commands are intuitive. Rectangle is R, line is L, type is T. The list goes on…
#2 The color panel is amazing.
This may seem like a small piece of the puzzle but believe me – game changer. Create or select a shape and all of your properties appear on your right-side panel. No more opening the properties panel, the color panel, the swatches panel, the effects panel – it is all there at your fingertips. Click the eyedropper, and you get a zoomed selection right down to the pixel. No more accidentally selecting the wrong color– we have all been there.
#3 Creating symbols is a huge time saver.
Have an element that you are using in multiple locations? No need to create it multiple times or manually duplicate it. Once you create your button, form field, drop down or whatever it may be – simply click Create Symbol on the top left. Once a symbol is created, you can insert it wherever you please. The best part, it is dynamic. For instance, have a button with a CTA and want to change the text? Simply select your symbol and edit the text in your overrides panel, you can also change the dimensions, opacity, shadow – all without breaking your symbol. If you decide you want to change one button completely, no problem, just break it from the symbol properties. How can this save you time? Let’s use a real-life example: A client wants to change the button text from 16px to 18px. Easy, change the button properties in the symbols panel and see the change across all your buttons. Can you say amazing?
#4 There are endless plugins and resources.
Sketch offers a ton of resources and plugins that can make your life easier. Click Plugins on the top menu – Manage plugins – Get Plugins. This button will direct you to https://sketchapp.com/extensions/plugins/ where you can search, find and install plugins for FREE. Sketch also provides an endless amount of resources – you can find these at https://www.sketchappsources.com. This is great for inspiration or if you don’t want to start your design from scratch. You don’t always have time to reinvent the wheel.
#5 Truly painless exporting.
Ok I think I saved the best for last. Exporting assets is not only a time suck but a total drag. With Sketch’s export options you can select a layer and make it exportable with one click – literally just click Make Exportable on the bottom right. You can also export for different screen sizes – click the plus sign and select the size (1X, 2X, 3X) and the file type (.jpg, .svg, .png, .eps). Want to make your developer happy? Try out Sketch Measure, a plugin that generates an HTML file where you can inspect CSS properties and directly download assets. Seriously, your developer will LOVE you.
This is just a small snapshot of what I experienced and discovered with Sketch. So if you are unsure if you want take the plunge, I am here to tell you – do it.