Why I Switched to Sketch

It's been about two months since I decided to redownload Sketch and see what all the fuss was about. Surprisingly, I ended up liking it. Quite a lot. I've switched from grumbling about having to use Photoshop to, now, just mocking up a few components and playing with layouts in Sketch outside of the context of browser constraints or grids already set in sass.

But first, let me put in context why I even using a program to design at all.

Being a designer and frontend dev, my ideal workflow is to do everything besides design assets in browser. If I'm working alone, this workflow is excellent for quickly iterating. But, when a project's team expands from a solo adventure to an expedition (yes, complete with guns, machetes and porters), it's tough to iterate in code. (Of course, that all changes if I'm designing an app.)

My creative director and my client aren't going to understand that I'm trying to carve a Statue of David out of content and code and by iteration 4, it'll be there. They want to see how it'll look. In two days. So sometimes you need to make sacrifices in your own ideal process to fit a team balance. That's where a design app comes in. There's nothing wrong with using photoshop. Lots of designers use photoshop and produce great work. Some of them code, some of them don't. We all have different processes that work for each of us.

You do you.

Things I enjoy now that I've been using sketch exclusively for the past two months:

Artboards & Pages

Yup. I totally realize that you get this with illustrator. I don't disagree with you illustrator users! Artboards are awesome! They make iterating ideas quick by just drag-copying entire artboards. I can see what different interaction states look like right next to one another. If I need to create traditional comps because I know another designer may take over the work, it's easy to store a whole set of pages in one file. The organization is already set up to use and it's easy to understand.

Symbols & Shared Styles

Photoshop has this, but, let's be real, it sucks. Yesterday I imported a fellow designer's comp from Photoshop to Sketch and create a symbol out of her button style. I ended up not using the button at all in the initial design I created, but when the edits came back from the client, I needed that button and it was easily stored for me to add in a second.

Type Rendering

I'm not spending 5 million years switching between crisp, strong, mac, mac lcd, etc. Type in Sketch is closely rendered the way it'll look in modern browsers. I like that. Then I can spend less time wondering why it doesn't look similar and move on to spending 5 million years adjusting my margins.


I can geek out by exporting all my artboards and pages with one command via Alfred.

Things I've noticed need a bit of work:

  1. Sketch can get a bit slow if you have a ton of artboards. I've gotten around this by moving artboards to pages when I'm mostly done with them.

  2. Shared styles also share a color, so if you have type in a font and at one size, but want to change the color to white because it's on a dark background, you have to unlink the style first.

  3. Sometimes resizing icons imported from illustrator can be strange. The inner shape might not resize exactly the right way.

Overall, I've been pretty happy with the switch and have only opened Photoshop if another design gets handed to me. I've really been loving all the plugins that keep popping up. It seems like the majority of users are really into open source and already are active on github. Sketch has been working great for me. If you're struggling with one tool, maybe you should give something else a try for a while. If you're not, then keep on designing! It's all a means to a polished final product and whatever's going to help you produce the best work is what you should be using.