Consider the Software “Sketch” for Creating Web Graphics
By Eric Bonzer on October 26, 2016 in Design
If you create web graphics or design websites you probably have faced the dilemma of “what web design software should I be using? Adobe Photoshop? Illustrator? Fireworks? Something Else?”
Web Design Software I Used to Use
I have been designing websites and creating web graphics for over 14 years (Whoa! Where did the time go?) My web design program of choice was always Adobe® Fireworks® (formerly Macromedia® Fireworks®). Fireworks was a program many web designers overlooked but I always liked it and pushed our designers at Spinutech to use it. The blend of bitmap and vector made it the perfect tool for web design.
Looking for a Replacement
For the last couple of years I’ve been on the look-out for a replacement. Replacement? I just told you how awesome Fireworks was, why the heck would I want to replace it? Well, a few years ago Adobe kicked Fireworks to the curb – making a lot of web designers mad. You can still download Fireworks from Creative Cloud, but from my experience it is riddled with issues, crashes frequently and disappoints designers way more than it should. So, the end of Fireworks was inevitable.
Trying Something New
About a year ago, a colleague recommended Sketch by Bohemian Coding. I downloaded a trial and tested it out. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem quite right to me at the time. I probably just never forced myself to “really try it out.” So, I continued to use Fireworks and endure the pain of crashing. Three months ago, the same colleague said, “You should really try Sketch again.”
Round two… I re-downloaded the trial, made a new document and gave it another try. This time I decided to recreate my latest web design. At first, I stumbled around not knowing where stuff was but it didn’t take long to figure things out. Within hours, I was telling our other designers how awesome it was. A bunch of times I thought, “I wish Sketch did this” and then later I found out it actually did. Since then, I’ve designed five websites using Sketch. Below is a list of features that stand out to me so far:
Top Features of Sketch
- Bitmap and vector graphics - This allows you to be more efficient by not having to jump in and out of software.
- Click objects to select - In Photoshop, you have to click the layer first to edit.
- All typography uses CSS based properties - Helpful for when converting the design to HTML. You can even right click to copy the CSS properties.
- Multiple artboards - Each page you decide to design can be an artboard. This allows you to leverage symbols for headers, footers, etc.
- Symbols - Probably the best feature. For example, you can turn the header into a symbol. Put that symbol on every page (artboard). Then, if you need to make edits to the header it is done in one spot.
- Lots of shortcuts - Pressing “R” lets you create a rectangle, for instance.
- Integration with InVision - Once synced with InVision, saving the file will automatically display updated screens in InVision.
In the end, Sketch won’t make you more creative or make you a better designer but I think it will make you more efficient, which may give you more time to become a better designer. Like any software, there are a few quirky things/bugs but so far the pros outweigh the cons. If you have a Mac and design for the web, download a trial and give it a shot. And on the plus side, it’s affordable.
If you have been using Sketch, what do you like?