I’ve always had a huge dislike for using Photoshop to design websites. Sure, Photoshop is an industry-standard when it comes to photo editing software, but using this to design user interfaces? Around 6 months ago, after hearing lots of positive feedback from friends and fellow designers on the internet, I decided to try Sketch 3 by Bohemian Coding. Here are a few reasons I recommend you check it out:
File Structure / Size
With Sketch there is no need to have a separate file for each page you design. You can have as many artboards as you require; all in one file. This makes organisation much simpler and helps you keep your designs consistent. Sketch files are also very small in size compared to PSDs.
Sketch uses Apple's built-in autosave feature to version control your files. Need to revert back to a previous state? It’s as easy as: File > Revert To > Browse All Versions. This in combination with a backup system (such as CrashPlan) ensures you won’t lose any of your work.
During the later stages of building a website you often need to export assets (such as images, logos, banners etc) for your team’s developers. With Sketch, exporting these assets is extremely fast and efficient. Simply make an asset exportable (bottom right) and click export. You can even export at multiple resolutions and in different formats all in one process.
Whilst you can download grid templates for Photoshop, this becomes awkward to manage if you need to adjust your layout (or use multiple layouts). Sketch has customisable grids built-in; allowing you to adjust layouts whenever you need to, per artboard. This comes in handy when designing for responsive websites / devices.
Symbols are by far my favourite feature of Sketch, and have helped my workflow and design consistency. Need to change the colour of a button? Rather than manually changing each button (on each PSD), just change the colour on the symbol. This will update the colour across all artboards. Simple.
With Sketch, your colour swatches are stored directly in the .sketch file. This ensures you handle colour management consistently across multiple artboards, especially if you are working within a team. No longer are separate .aco files required; everything is built-in.
Is Sketch perfect? No, not at all. For example, it’s exclusively available on OS X. This isn’t a problem for me as a designer but when handing off the file to our developers (who use Linux / Windows) it requires additional work. However in my opinion the benefits of Sketch far outweigh its limitations.
Is Photoshop useless? No, far from it. I still use Photoshop everyday but for editing images; not for UI design.
Thanks for reading.