One of the most frustrating options Sketch has to offer. After only working in Adobe for the last four years, I assumed the ‘V’ key will lead to the short cut of selecting items, rather it commands the pen tool and one has to press the ‘esc’ button numerous times to get rid of that option.
A general stereotype that people often have of designers is that we just draw squares and make them pretty colours. Well, if that is the case Sketch made my life a whole lot easier to draw squares. The best thing about Sketch is definitely the keyboard shortcuts that actually makes sense. One can press keys like ‘R’, to create a rectangle, ‘O’ to create an oval, and ‘L’ to create a line. In comparison with Illustrator where one has to press ‘M’ to create a rectangle, ‘L’ to create an oval, and ‘\’ to create a line. Why you have to be so difficult Illustrator?
Industry professionals and lecturers always encouraged us to try and use Sketch, the programme costs $99 (+- R1160), and expires after a year. The cool thing is you get to keep the last version you had of Sketch, forever! Unfortunately you won’t have the latest updates, but you will have the programme non the less. In comparison with Adobe, one has to pay $49.99 (+-R600) per month for all the applications (or just download a pirated version), which also creates an uneasy feeling.
The term pixel perfect has never been more accurate until Sketch came along. Sketch uses vectors combined with pixels (its almost like Photoshop and Illustrator had a baby and called it Sketch). For those who are not too familiar with vectors and pixels, pixels are points, more like squares, that make up an image and is usually used in Photoshop, where vectors are mathematic equations and geometric points that create clean designs and is used in Illustrator.
Designers can create crisp lines or squares and zoom in without it pixelating, but it creates pixels where we can literally adjust the designs to precision. With this programme designers will be sure to create perfect designs and no need for eye balling or guessing whether everything is accurate. Sketch also promises a better work flow, it literally removed 90% of the tools we don’t use in Photoshop or Illustrator, and made it 10 times better to use.
Just to get the elephant out of the room, Sketch is only available for Mac OS X users, and PC users won’t see a version for Windows any time soon.
Ok now I can get to one of my favourite part of Sketch- Symbols. Symbols are like creating stamps, but digital stamps. Symbols has its own page, where you can create designs, and paste them whenever you need them. Symbols creates a group of different objects. For instance, we can design a whole navigation bar in the Symbols page, and when we get to our designs we can select which navigation bar we want and just paste it on the design instead of building it from scratch each time or copy and pasting each navigation bar.
Sketch offers 100’s of awesome and very useful plugins, but I’ll just talk about my favourite one. Designers can install Craft, which really defines ‘making a designer’s life easy’. It offers placeholder text and images. We can select a text box, and Craft gives us the option to fill it with names, cities, currencies, addresses, whatever your heart desires. So if I am creating a dating app and designing the interface, I can use placeholder names provided by Craft instead of using the name of the person next to me. We can also place images of what we want, so no more downloading low resolution images from the internet and then placing them in the design, Sketch imports images directly from Unsplash (a free stock image site), which are high resolution and beautiful images that will contribute to a great design. Sketch clearly thought through their UX to make UX/UI design a lot more user friendly.
I’ll end this off by saying that as a regular user of Photoshop and Illustrator, Sketch doesn’t nearly get enough credit for the amazing software it is. Yes it makes a designer’s life much easier, but it also improves the quality of designs, creates a better work flow, and with all the extras and plugins it could help designers work faster and more efficiently. Sketch definitely wins the day!