Disclaimer: this post isn’t affiliated with Sketch or Bohemian Coding at all, other than me using the trial version of Sketch 3 for this experiment. Also, my point of comparison is Photoshop, an app I’ve used for about 15 years and is the second app I open every morning (after my email client). I’ve been on customer advisory boards for new and current Adobe products, but this post and experiment have nothing to do with my affiliation with Adobe. I have never received any compensation from Adobe for endorsing any products, but they did send me a sweet Photoshop pillow once.
I recently started a new project, redesigning a site for a media company. I learn better when I have an actual project with which to learn the new skill (as opposed to only doing tutorials and theoretical examples), so I dove in head first. On the first day, I had some challenges getting oriented…
… trying to overcome my muscle memory…
#sketchlive Dangit, I can't stop hitting V to switch to a nonexistent Move tool.— Dan Mall (@danielmall) September 10, 2014
…and remembering to eat because hangry.
#sketchlive Had soup and a sandwich. A super friendly PSA that lunch is as important as design process and tools.— Dan Mall (@danielmall) September 10, 2014
On day 2, I decided to switch from my current project to a slightly different one. My current project’s style guide relies on flat colors and utilitarian typography, and, even in a short day, I’m convinced that Sketch is great for designing sites like that. But, one of the reasons I continue to use Photoshop is that it’s equally flexible for all types of pixel pushing. Sure, there are features—like the ones in tools like Sketch—that would make some tasks much easier to accomplish, but for me to fully switch, I’ll need to be able to make a range of outputs with the tool.
I decided to replicate the Meet Your MX site, expertly designed by Brijan Powell. I loved this site from the instant I saw it, because it contains a lot of richness in typographic design, graphic design, and interaction design that I think is missing from a lot of sites nowadays. A good design tool should allow me to design a site like this without much friction. A great design tool should make it easier for me to design a site like this.
I think I did a decent job with the replication (using a separate model):
At the end of two days, I thought Sketch did a good job of getting out of my way in designing this interface. However, it didn’t really do anything to help me design the interface, at least not any more than Photoshop does. To boot, I do a lot of photo manipulation when I’m designing: dodging and burning, layer masks, level corrections, and more. Because Sketch doesn’t have these tools—at least for now—I still need to rely on Photoshop for them, which means I’m jumping back and forth between apps.
So far, Sketch certainly isn’t a Photoshop replacement for me, and, if I’m in Photoshop for part of the time, I’m having a hard time justifying not being in it all of the time.
I’ve continued to use Sketch for this media company redesign for the last two weeks. There are a few things that I’m really liking:
Is all that enough to be a Photoshop killer? No. At least not yet. But Sketch definitely has a pretty steady place in the arsenal.