The reign of Photoshop and Illustrator is slowly coming to an end. Designers everywhere are searching for more agile and nimble tools with which to create amazing graphics. Sketch, though just for Mac users, is rapidly gaining in popularity as the go-to tool in the world of UI design.
While many are quick to surmise that Sketch—created by Bohemian Coding--is slowly replacing Photoshop because of all that Photoshop doesn’t do, or in light of all the features that it seems to be lacking, the truth is that Sketch in terms of UI design, just reacts better, offers more, and tends to be easier to use then some of its more cumbersome predecessors.
Why the Immense Popularity of Sketch?
For one, Sketch focuses on what it does best. That is to say, it is not a photo editing tool nor is it trying to be. It is a highly effective design tool intended to work with UI design and layout. Tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator continue to strive to do more, add more components, become as exhaustive and all-encompassing as possible, and yet in the end, what they end up doing is creating a bulkier experience that the fast and furious UI designer simply doesn’t need.
- Cost. Available for $99 for Mac users, Sketch is a one and done purchase. You escape the monthly billable loop of Photoshop, and at such a reasonable price point it is incredibly accessible.
- Perfect for the Individual Designer. Price aside, Sketch represents a tool that for the UI designer just starting out, is an ideal choice. Its ease of use and navigation, and its arsenal of tools help you create highly relevant interfaces. It’s a more streamlined experience that lets you focus 100% on the job of UI design.
- Attractive Preview and Presentation Modes. Preview your app interface as you work, thereby helping you identify those areas and layouts that may need tweaking. A comprehensive presentation mode in which controls are hidden also enables you to showcase your awesome designs for clients.
- Renderings Much Closer to Actual Web Experience. Again, this simply helps you put into perspective how your graphics, layout and overall design will actually look online. Photoshop’s web rendering mode tends to suffer in comparison.
- Faster Workflow. In the world of UX/UI design it’s all about a quality job done quickly. Designers have little time to spare. The tortoise like pace of Photoshop is a far cry from Sketch’s quicker and easier to use tools, and more transparent, right-in-front-of-you features.
Why Do So Many Choose Sketch Over Photoshop?
Again, this comes down to need, plain and simple. Photoshop is a brilliant photo editing tool that is also trying to be a UI design tool. In the process, something has to suffer. I believe the saying goes, jack of all trades, master of none. That logic can certainly be applied to the great Photoshop versus Sketch debate.
Sketch is a designer’s tool. It is a veritable “master” when it comes to these types of projects. Its intent is to help people create precise and electrifying interfaces. Photoshop—much more time consuming and difficult to navigate—proves less flexible in terms of the UI designer’s needs, as it is consistently striving to have a hand in all “trades.”
The Artboard Showdown
An artboard is the designer’s canvas, a place for all of the elements of your design. In Sketch, as in Photoshop, your artboards will show up in your layer panels. However, in Sketch the ability to create multiple artboards has been made much easier than with other such design tools. This allows the UI designer a far more accessible way to access their much-needed canvases.
Many Available Plugins
In the interest of creating a superfast, streamlined experience, Sketch opted to omit a lot of the tools that Photoshop and Illustrator have. It does however, offer UI designers some incredibly helpful plugins that enable it to compete with even the big boys.
- A flowchart Plugin allows you to reference the website on which you happen to be working, thus saving you from having to download a slower, more cumbersome program.
- The Sketch Mirror plugin, as previously mentioned, enables designers to immediately preview their design and consequently check out changes along the way. This is great for understanding exactly how your design looks on an iPhone or iPad.
- Sketch Palettes lets you save and important virtually every color imaginable.
These are just a few of the numerous plugins available. As a UI designer you have a handle on the types of tools and features you are most likely going to need in order to create stunning and functional interfaces. Sketch’s variety allows you to customize your design experience and tailor it to your specific needs.
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