In June of 2014 we wrote “We like Sketch but You Don’t Have To...” and talked through the fact that we were switching all of our UI and Web workflows to use Sketch instead of Photoshop/Illustrator. Well, it’s been over a year and we thought it might be a good time to revisit this and let you know how it’s going.
How's it going?
It's still Buggy. That said, if you ask a lot of folks on twitter, Photoshop and Illustrator are still buggy too. Bugs are the nature of software. Find me a piece of software free from bugs and I’ll show you a Unicorn eating cupcakes.
Aside from bugs there are still some issues that are sometimes frustrating. I’ll list a few that we are painfully aware of.
Typography is still not great - The one thing Illustrator does better than nearly anyhting else is that it handles type treatments like a boss. Small caps, alternates, etc etc. Illustrator kills it. Sketch still leaves something to be desired in that department. The one thing that makes me feel pretty ok about that though is that a lot of us are moving to designing as much in browser as in a program and that’s good for everyone.
CMD+Z is still making (other people’s copies) of Sketch crash - In earlier versions the undo command was a sure fire way to crash your program, I’ve not run into this since v3.1. Others, though a small number, are still having this issue, and that sucks. To be fair to Bohemian Coding, the are working for a patch to fix this once and for all.
PDF Export is borked - This is a new issue that’s in the process of being fixed but I can totally see people having a lot of issues with it. Several iOS Designer/Developers export to pdf to keep hq images that are then converted in Xcode.
So yeah, Sketch is a work in progress. Some people are solidly footed in opposition to paying $100 (USD) for a program with so many bugs, Especially after the Great Rollback of v3.4. To double down on that The folks at Bohemian Coding have said quite plainly there will never be a Windows version of Sketch, so that’s an alienation of around 40% of the design industry (which I’m ok with as I’m a lifelong Mac user). One of the things that benefits us in a way I didn’t expect is the community around Sketch. It’s a vibrant and dev savvy crew that writes a number of very very useful plugins. The content generator plugin is incredibly useful as is the inventory-master plugin. The community is killing it with these plugins and they’re free & easy to install.
For being a work in progress though, Sketch is pretty solid. I find my workflow to be faster and more friction free. Exporting is one of the easiest things you can do in Sketch and we’ve been #blessed in several projects to be able to output png, svg and jpg versions of the same item at multiple sizes (1x, 2x, 3x, etc.). The general ease and familiarity of the interface is also a big plus. Overall we’re really happy with Sketch and do not force a case where leaving it is in our best interest - probably…
So overall Sketch is great but there’s always room for improvement especially in a market that’s starting to catch on to the reasons why so many people left Adobe products for Sketch. Other companies are figuring it out. Affinity Designer has gained some traction for those creating vector icons and Adobe released information about Project Comet - which has the one thing that we’re all clamoring for in Sketch. Prototype animations. Animation is the missing piece of the puzzle. If we could do all the things we do in Marvel and InVision inside Sketch, that would be a major game-changer.
Other things I’d like to see include better type tools obviously but also an export/import for color palettes would be awesome. To be honest though, neither of those limit my ability to work inside the app and get the things done that I need to. They’re both “nice to have’s” but neither is a have to, nor are they needed to do good work.
So a year on from Adobe products, we’re doing pretty well. We still use illustrator and photoshop form time to time to edit photos or draw REALLY complex vectors. For day to day layout and updating UI and website components and designs Sketch does the trick and does it well.