You are a seasoned UX/UI Designer. Photoshop and Illustrator are your weapons, and you master them to perfection. You produce the screens, icons, wireframes … in no time, and you wonder: why change? Why sacrifice my efficiency and my workflows well established to the benefit of a new tool, which will have to learn and tame, to finally produce the same things?
I told myself the same thing when I was first told about Sketch. Photoshop and Illustrator met all my needs, and although I was not against the idea of adding a tool to my portfolio, the praise I had been given was not convincing enough to push me To break the pace.
Everything changed when i downloaded the Sketch trial. In a few days of use, I was conquered. Why, you ask me?
Reason # 1: Any vector and non-destructive
Sketch is primarily a vector tool, meaning that an item can take all sizes without loss of quality (Unlike Photoshop that is a bitmap based software). In the age of digital and multiple screen resolutions, it is a real advantage to be able to make models without having to worry about the final dimensions.
But the vector is by no means new, and Illustrator is already doing very well , you might say. Of course, but with Sketch, I can modify all the properties of a shape (up to the radius of curvature of a corner and the effect of blur applied) on the fly, directly in the inspector, which neither Photoshop nor Illustrator Do not allow. No need to destroy the shape and then recreate it, a real saving of time!
Reason # 2: Infinite Canvas, number of infinite screens
The canvas of Sketch is infinite, and can contain an infinity of artboards, which means that it is easy to centralize all its models of screen in a single file, even on very ambitious projects. In comparison, the Illustrator canvas has a pre-defined size and can contain no more than fifteen artboards without seeing its performances suffer a big blow. Photoshop incorporated an infinite canvas and artboards in 2015, but Sketch goes one step further by also offering pages, each containing its own infinite canvas and its own artboards, for advantages of organizational flexibility.
Reason # 3: Export function, so simple, so effective
This is one of the most magical features of Sketch. Thanks to it, I can export the same asset in different dimensions in just a few clicks! And whether it’s an entire screen or only a given selection – icon, button, header …: just click on “make exportable” at the bottom of the inspector, choose the Resolution and export format, and it’s done!
Reason # 4: Quick and easy preview with Mirror
Sketch provides free Mirror, a quick preview tool. Install the application on your iPhone, and immediately check the rendering of your screens directly on your device. Perfect to put them in situation as quickly as possible! Mirror also works in your browser, if you are on the same local network.
Reason # 5: Symbols to Stay Coherent
Stay visually consistent to provide a better user experience: this is the struggle of any UX / UI designer. And it’s extremely simple with the symbols. Any element (icon, menu, header, or full screen) can thus become a symbol, reproducible to infinity, and whose manipulation of the master immediately affects all other instances of the same symbol. The icing on the cake: easily replaceable text fields and the ability to prioritize symbols by simply adding a ‘/’ in their name.
Reason # 6: Intelligent Boolean Operations
These work like Boolean operations on Illustrator. But I have always been frustrated by their irreversibility: once a Boolean operation is done, it is impossible to go back on it in a simple way. With Sketch, no more worries: the shape resulting from the operation retains the original shapes, which can then be changed, moved etc … to modify the final shape. We can even change the Boolean operation applied, or even delete it!
Reason # 7: A mathematical precision
The position and size fields of shapes on Sketch include simple mathematical operations: + – * /, and even the percentage. It is thus possible to place an element precisely, or to put it to the right size simply. Small plus: Grouped shapes will take the overall size of the group (not the screen) as the basis for calculating a percentage. Make an icon whose height is 50% of the button in which it is placed, which itself is 60% of the width of the screen, is now possible!
Reason # 8: Direct access to colors
Sketch on the pipette allows us to recover an exact color pixel, anywhere on the screen, even outside of the software. What more can be said ?
Reason # 9: Simple Gaussian blurs like hello
With the arrival of iOS 7, the new fashion is to apply a Gaussian blur on a portion of the background. An effect that I find the most beautiful, and the most tedious to achieve on Photoshop. You have to duplicate the background image, make a shape, make a clipping mask, and add a filter that takes an eternity to apply and slows down all the software. Sketch does it all in one simple option in the inspector, without too much impact on performance – provided you do not put it all out!
Reason # 10: Easier integration for developers
At Bohemian Coding (Sketch of the creators), they understood that designer and developers work together on daily basis, and they thought of them. Sketch thus offers the possibility of exporting simply the CSS of an element or even of a whole screen. Sketch also has a whole ecosystem of plug-ins and additional tools that simplify the workflow of developer integration, such as Zeplin, which allows them to simply read the dimensions and colors of the elements.
Bonus round if you are still not convinced:
Bonus Reason # 1: The Price
The Sketch license costs only $ 99. If you stop there, you’ll Sketch for life without its updates, otherwise, expect $ 99 per year to get the latest versions of Sketch.
In comparison, a Creative Cloud subscription for Adobe Suite software is worth about $ 287 a year, and it is mandatory or the software is blocked. If you want to save money, the choice is quick.
Reason Bonus # 2: Lightness
Sketch is much lighter than Adobe Suite software: the application takes 47.5 MB of memory on disk while Photoshop takes 2.11 GB. Similarly, it is much more economical in RAM: by having both applications open with an empty artboard, Sketch takes 98 MB against 661 for Photoshop.
Bonus Reason # 3: Ease of Getting Started
I opened Sketch for the first time two weeks ago. In less than a day I had found my bearings, in less than two I was as productive as on Photoshop or Illustrator. The interface of Sketch is extremely intuitive, especially thanks to the inspector which gathers all the modifiable properties of an element, which allows a very short learning time, in spite of the operating logic quite different from the software of the Adobe suite (including shortcuts)
Everything is not rosy in the best of worlds
Like any tool, Sketch has its limits. Already, it is only available on Mac, which is a pity. And it’s a tool that’s really and definitely designed for interface design – which is both its strength and its weakness. It will never replace Photoshop in image processing, nor Illustrator on some vectorial applications (I find its feather tools – here called vector – a little less efficient, A question of habit). And finally, it seems that Sketch still suffers from some bugs and some worries of stability, even if the team of Bohemian Coding is very listening and reactive when it comes to settle them.
Sketch is, in my opinion, a combination of the best of Photoshop, Illustrator and even Keynote, designed and designed for interface design, making it a formidably effective – or even indispensable – tool for any designer. I hope that the reasons I quoted today will make you at least download the trial version, so that you have a personal opinion of the matter – but I do not doubt that you will find your own X quickly enough Good reasons to to Sketch!