Today we will learn what Sketch is and why it has become the new standard in the web design industry. Today, we are aware of how much web and mobile app design has impacted our day-to-day lives. The digital age has transformed our daily tasks. In that context, Sketch presents itself as a specialized application to create what we need.
In today’s article, you will learn all about what Sketch is and its features, as well as its advantages. It is nothing less than an interface design program that has revolutionized the web development and UX & UI design industry.
what is Sketch?
Sketch is a vector design software for web and mobile interfaces. This app is used as a web development tool and prototyping program, it is also used to make logos, brand identity elements and graphics.
It is a program created by designers for designers, so it will be perfect for all your interface design needs. When we open Sketch, we can start working on its infinite canvas, which will allow you to have a large space to develop your ideas as you want and as many times as you want.
uX and UI design projects ask us to use Sketch, as the interface design tool will help us to capture the user’s understanding in our digital projects and it will be very easy to demonstrate the prototype to the client .
It is impossible to define what Sketch is without explaining what interface design is, which is the construction of the graphical set for the presentation and navigation of a web page or a mobile application, which enables the functionality of a system.
Now that you know what Sketch is, let’s see who can use this application.
Image: Apple Effect
who can use Sketch?
Well, first of all Sketch is a Mac application. So, if you don’t have a Mac, unfortunately you’re not going to be able to use it. There is a Windows application that can interpret Sketch files.
So you can open Sketch files in that application, but you can’t edit them, since you can only work the Sketch application on a Mac.
Now, Sketch is a really very lightweight program, so you don’t need a super PC to run it. For example, you can work on a MacBook Pro without it being the latest model. If your computer keeps specs like 16GB of i7 RAM, you’ll be pretty good. However, it’s so lightweight that it runs well even on the cheapest Mac available, which right now is a Mac Mini.
In reality, anyone with design skills can use Sketch. As mentioned before, it can be used for web design, UI design, mobile, icon design, and just about anything you want, except maybe things like heavy 3D renderings.
You can even use Sketch for wireframing, which is a sketch where you visually represent, in a very simple and schematic way, the structure of a web page, or with the help of some plugins you can use it for prototyping. But we will expand on this function when we talk about the features of Sketch in the next section.
what are the features of Sketch?
We know what Sketch is, but what makes it so special? The application has many attributes that made it a favorite among interface design and web development professionals. Below, we will leave you with the features of Sketch as listed on its website.
It has all the basic tools
Sketch has everything you need for interface design. In the toolbar at the top of the screen, you can find all the essentials from designing icons to creating complete concepts for a new digital product.
And they are suitable for beginners and experts alike! The web design tools work intuitively and allow you to have pixel-level precision. Likewise, you now know that Sketch is the only interface design app with which you have a non-destructive workflow, i.e. changes can be made without modifying the original file and are very easy to revert without ruining all your work.
Focuses on design
The layout of the platform and its functions are focused on providing the best features to present the best web design and prototyping work possible .
In the same way, Sketch gives you grids and an interface to keep your work very organized and clean, as well as options to customize the main screen to suit you better.
Among other tools to create a web design in Sketch, it allows you to resize the constraints of the elements to facilitate scaling, provides shortcuts to rearrange and resize layers and gives you infinite control over typography.
Insert components and layout system
Sketch is designed within a system that gives you access to shared libraries of symbols, text and styles, as well as reusable components that you can send to your collaborators, and at the same time works to keep your team up to date with updates to your design system.
There is also a function to create a color palette for use in all your designs and then share it with others. Through this, we can standardize the aesthetics of our digital products such as web and application interfaces.
Also, the interface design application contains the Smart Layout option. Through this, the symbols or text you use will automatically adapt to the available space, saving you a lot of time.
Finally, Sketch’s interface design will allow you to display in a separate window the components saved in your shared library so that it is easy to find them. All you need to do is open “Insert Window”, type the name in the search engine and drag the element to the canvas in just a few seconds.
Prototyping in Sketch
If we want to talk about what Sketch is, we should mention that it’s a great option for prototyping a digital product, such as a website or a smartphone app. It has never been easier to share your projects and receive feedback from your customers.
Through Sketch you can link the parts of your interface design very easily and create prototypes to test all your ideas in the Mac software or on your own iOS digital device in Sketch Mirror app. Changes appear automatically, allowing you to work with better visibility and more quickly.
Collaborate in real time
As previously mentioned, Sketch software gives you the opportunity to create a shared library of all symbols, text and color palettes for a cohesive interface design, all made possible through the Sketch Cloud!
Similar to Google or Apple’s cloud, Sketch has its own file sharing system to make it easier to work with other collaborators. The cross-platform tools allow you to add feedback, use shared items and the ability to keep all team members on the same page.
It also gives you the option of Smart Sharing, i.e. you can manage your files in the cloud and assign who to share them with, which documents are private and place them in the shared space. you can customize the folders according to your needs!
Designed for macOS
Sketch’s interface design will be very familiar to people who are used to the macOS system. The software has been perfectly adapted to the operating system, presenting features characteristic of Apple-branded computers. For example:
Dark and light user interfaces
Full support for Retina and non-Retina displays
Touch Bar support
Local document version control
Super-fast performance on Apple silicon
Work locally and offline
Built-in spell checker and RTL support
Customizable toolbar and shortcuts
Extensions to enhance the experience
Sketch allows you to customize the application through extensions, plugins, digital assistants and other integrations to add features and optimize your tasks. Even major prototyping tools have their own plugins for use in Sketch.
everyone needs a hand from time to time! Get help identifying interface design issues, staying consistent with the system, and other tasks. For example, there are Sketch2React Conventions, Accessibility and Organizer.
According to IONOS, a platform specialized in hosting and cloud solutions for SMEs, plugins are defined as “small complementary programs that extend the functions of web applications and desktop programs”. In other words, plugins for Sketch will help you speed up your work with additional tools. For example, there are Stark, Chart, Overflow and Vectary.
Add new elements to your workflow with other applications that integrate with Sketch to take interface designs to the next level. For example, there is Lokalise, Maze, Flinto and Abstract.
there, you know what Sketch is and its features, now it’s your turn to learn about its advantages and why you need to start using this vector design software.
what are the system requirements to install Sketch?
Now that you know what Sketch is and you’ve read on, you’ve made up your mind to use it. The million dollar question is whether your computer supports Sketch. Sketch 82.1 and above requires macOS Catalina (10.15.0) or later, and a working Internet connection, in order to install the software and receive updates and upgrades.
If you are working with an older version of macOS, then you should check the Sketch updates page for links to download older versions.
But if you want to upgrade your macOS version to the latest version of Sketch, then follow the instructions on Apple’s website to upgrade your operating system.
To sign up for a Sketch account as an editor, you will need to be using version 56 or later of the Mac app. To use the real-time collaboration explained in the Sketch features section, you will need to use version 71 or later of the Mac app. You can download the latest version at sketch.com/updates.
If you work with more complex documents, with multiple pages and many artboards, a Mac with a decent amount of RAM, a powerful CPU and a good GPU will give you the best results.
The Sketch Mac application uses Mac-specific hardware technologies and therefore it is not possible to run it on a virtual machine (VM). If you are unsure about compatibility, you can make use of the free 30-day trial to test your computer’s performance.
Like native Mac applications, Sketch provides you with a friendly user interface with a toolbar, browser and inspector. As a result, new users who want to explore what Sketch is will give them a much more accessible experience because it doesn’t get in the way of producing simple designs.
In keeping with the macOS design language, the Sketch toolbar is customizable when you right-click. You can set up all your favorite tools by dragging the ones you want. If you like keyboard shortcuts, it is advisable to save the ones that are hard to remember, but frequently used.
Some of them are only activated when it is possible to use them, so having them in the toolbar is useful. Some of the favorite tools you can use in Sketch are: Symbols, Scissors, Contours, Round to Pixel.
Artboards, the artboards
Artboards are the screens of your Sketch application. Each Artboard represents a screen or an interaction within a screen. Having an efficient workflow is crucial for modern designers.
Now you can avoid spending all your time on visual design, because prototyping, asset delivery and coding can actually bring your designs to life instead of being stuck in a vacuum.
In the past, designers used to save one file for each screen they designed, resulting in dozens of files to manage. Now, thanks to Sketch Artboards, you can have your entire application, with dozens of screens, within a single Sketch file.
In the Sketch application, each page represents a completely different platform or resolution. For most projects, you’ll have more than twenty Artboards for a platform like iOS.
Then, you must create another page for Android, Web, Apple Watch, tvOS, etc. This way, you can have a complete project within a single Sketch file. This saves you a lot of time when switching between screens and platforms.
You can open the pages by clicking on the arrow next to the page name. In addition, you can quickly switch between pages using the drop-down menu. The keyboard shortcut is Fn ↑ and ↓.
User interface templates
The Sketch program comes with content preloaded with a number of UI templates for iOS, Material Design and Responsive Web. To access them, just go to File, New from Template. The iOS and Material Design templates are especially very comprehensive and will be a great starting point for any designer, beginners and experts alike.
Short learning curve
This means that learning how to use Sketch is very easy. The web design program is very intuitive. After a few hours familiarizing yourself with the platform, you will find it a natural choice to work on it for web and mobile interface design. Also, if you need it, it has a very efficient technical support department .
Even for projects that involve teamwork, such as ux design, the layout is very accessible and will be easy to understand for people who do not have expertise in this discipline; such as, for example, the area of development and market research.
sketch is super lightweight!
Sketch software weighs only 40 to 60 MB. It will run on virtually any processor. On the other hand, you will work in a vectorized environment; therefore, files and deliverables for clients are also very light. However, we should mention that, for the moment, Sketch is only available for Mac computers.
You don’t lose your progress
Sketch is a very stable interface design program, but if it should crash, don’t panic! It continuously saves the progress of your work and prevents you from losing your hard work. Besides, it works as a timecapsule, so you won’t have to save thousands of final versions.
Unlike other web design programs, Sketch has a very affordable price for people who are dedicated to this discipline. According to the Sketch website, for only $99 you will have the software available for one year. There is also the possibility of purchasing the program on a monthly basis for $9. Finally, if you are not 100% sure about your purchase, the platform offers a 30-day free trial.
Ease of use
Once you know what Sketch is, you realize that it is much easier to use than an application like Photoshop. It weighs in at just 45 MB of disk space, compared to Photoshop’s 2.17 GB.
From a web designer’s point of view, one great thing about the Sketch program is the quality of the rendering, which means that the designs you can create are very close to the results you get from programming languages like HTML/CSS or a finished web page. Because of this, you can perfect a design, even in the coded version.
The Sketch program, as we said, is vector-based, which means that every shape you draw can be resized to any size without losing sharpness. So your designs will look great, even on a retina or very high DPI (dots per inch) screen.
We hope that today’s article has been useful for you to learn what Sketch is and why it has been an application that has been adopted as a standard among interface design experts.
We have not only learned what Sketch is, but also its main features and its most important advantages. Now, are you ready to start an adventure with this web design tool?