Many designers who have loved and been loyal to Adobe software for decades have embraced change and moved to Sketch by Bohemian Coding. Sketch is a vector drawing application made specifically for the purpose of UI/UX design for apps and websites. Some of the features offered by Sketch include:
- Vector-based functions that allow easy resizing of objects without loss of quality.
- Symbol support which allows modification of a design element as a group of layers, so that modifying one symbol applies to every instance of it.
- Smart Guides that help quickly and easily snap align objects and layers.
- Multiple Artboards on an Infinite Canvas that allow users to work on more at once, and to see multiple versions at the same time, helpful for responsive design work.
- Pixel Grids that are built-in and customizable, rather than having to create a grid layer.
- Native font rendering which ensures that text appears the same in Sketch as it does on a website or app.
- Exporting individual layers at 1x, 2x, or 3x resolution in a choice of file formats with one button or keyboard shortcut.
Comparisons between Adobe Photoshop versus Sketch for design purposes are often made. However, Photoshop is not intended for design work. With its many photo filters and 3D tools, it is intended for manipulating and enhancing photos. It is often squeezed into the role of web design because it is broad, familiar, and versatile. Sketch is more specialized and streamlined, containing only the most vital tools and elements for fast, efficient design work. We have compiled opinions of designers from around the web to help you decide if trying Sketch is a smart move for you:
- At $99, with the option of a 14 day free trial period, it is a steal. There are no recurring subscription costs. If you occasionally dabble with design, Sketch is an affordable choice. If you are a dedicated professional, then it is free to try and relatively inexpensive to keep.
- 1stwebdesigner praises Sketch’s clean, simple interface with easily-accessed features needed specifically for web, app, and UI design.
- Designer Scott Lewis writes, “What Sketch does exceptionally well is that it allows you to export different artboards and slices to different formats.”
- It is completely based in vectors. Web designer Ashley Bennett says, “Everything is a vector. It’s like a dream. I can rescale the objects on my canvas without losing quality or time redesigning something a different size.”
- Long-time Photoshopper Meng To cites the ease of working with infinite zoom capabilities and the ease of resizing shapes with rounded corners.
- “What sets Sketch apart is that it’s also pixel-aware. The shapes you draw always snap to the nearest pixel, meaning you no longer have to worry about half-pixels or blurry lines. This makes the program ideal for screen design,” according to smashingmagazine.com.
- Sketch is more connected to data and code, allowing the Sketch community to develop useful plug-ins, as highlighted by designer Sagi Shrieber.
- The Sketch Mirror app on iOS allows you to see live previews of apps (no exporting necessary) while you are designing.
- Sketch is available only on Mac, and Sketch Mirror only allows preview for iOS apps.
- Scott Lewis points out that Sketch Tools seem less developed, particularly tools for joining points and direct selection.
- Sketch does not support Adobe Illustrator files and has limited compatibility with .SVG, .EPS, and .PDF formats. Sketch’s documentation says these file formats “include concepts that are not supported in Sketch and will not be displayed.”
- Currently in version 3.4, Sketch is still a young program, a little buggy and prone to the occasional crash. Sagi Shrieber lists several of the aggravating errors on the Hacking UI blog.
- Color palettes cannot be customized and saved for each project. If the color palette is altered in one project, it will be the altered the same in all projects, notes designer Ashley Bennett.
- Because it is not the industry standard, it is better suited for an independent designer and coder, rather than in a design team, per designer Benji Moss.
- Tackling the learning curve of an unfamiliar application may temporarily slow workflow.
There is a strong Sketch community offering many helpful resources. Check out Sketch Tricks to subscribe to bite-size weekly emails, Sketch App Sources for iOS specific resources, and Sketch Land for an index of the most useful plug-ins, as well as many other online resources available.
If you have tried Sketch, what do you love about it? What features would you like to see added or changed? How does it compare to Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator?