Is Sketch3 the New Go-To Design Tool?

October 7, 2014

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Is Sketch3 the New Go-To Design Tool?

As a veteran Adobe Creative Suite user with over 12 years in the weeds, I was pretty thrilled to test out a new software called Sketch. Developed in The Netherlands by Bohemian Coding, Sketch promises to be faster, more nimble and more powerful than the industry stalwart. Here’s what I found…

 

Details




Autosave



Sketch autosaves but it’s driven by a system preference. If you want to turn it off, you have to disable it system wide. Photoshop also has an autosave, but you can adjust the settings to stipulate how often it saves. (This is a nice feature and something I‘ve seen in Sketch.)






Mobile Preview



Sketch has a plugin and app available for purchase called Mirror. It allows designers to test straight from desktop to mobile – as long as it’s an Apple device. Photoshop can also be viewed on mobile devices, not just Apple products, through a workflow involving Adobe Edge. Adobe has said, however, that they are looking at streamlining this.




Symbols



Sketch has a feature called symbols, which allows designers to instance, duplicate and reuse objects (called symbols). The best part? If you edit a symbol, Sketch edits every instance, keeping your design consistent. Photoshop and most Adobe programs have this; it’s called smart objects. I prefer smart objects because it’s an outside file that you can easily drop into multiple projects and edit all instances, over all projects, by editing one file.



Vector



Sketch is a vector-based program that reads raster images. Photoshop is a raster program that can create both raster graphics and vector shapes. It produces a very similar outcome, but Photoshop has a leg up in terms of versatility.



Type Styles



Seeing this feature in Sketch made me wonder why Adobe doesn’t do this in Photoshop. After a little digging, it seems that it is available, though it’s very hidden. It’s called Character Styles. Kudos to Sketch for making this so accessible and for helping me uncover a Photoshop feature.


CSS Styles



My mind was blown by how helpful exporting css from an object is. Again, I didn’t know that Photoshop has this capability, but it does. Like type styles, even though both programs achieve almost the same goal, Sketch does it better, it’s also easier to execute.


The Verdict

 

Sketch does a lot of things really well and is incredibly user friendly. In fact, the design is very reminiscent of Keynote. Its straightforward interface makes this a great tool if you need to bang out a design quickly. It perfectly contains everything many UI/UX designers need and offers it at an extremely competitive price. That said, it just doesn’t offer everything Photoshop does. Though intimidating and expensive, Photoshop offers a richer platform for complex projects.

Over all, Photoshop is the better tool. The huge user base, endless hours of tutorials, and the shear depth of this software is staggering, but if UI/UX design is all you need to do and you need to do it quickly, Sketch is a reasonable choice.



Will Truran, UX Designer, GeekHive

Will Truran

Designer
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