Sketch for Beginners with Five Simple Tips

You’ve heard of Sketch, right? Ever since Adobe canceled the wonderful Fireworks in 2012, I had been searching for a proper replacement. I’ve tried web based tools like Gravit, as well as attempting to use both Photoshop and Illustrator, but found the former too limiting and the later loaded with bloat not needed for tasks like UX mockup and web design.

Sketch Workflow – This is Easy!

As a developer paramount in finding a replacement for Fireworks was finding a piece of software I wouldn’t have to spend a long time figuring out how to use. I’ve always been more comfortable tinkering in the code then feeling my way around a graphics program.

After hearing great things about Sketch and taking a look at the free trial I decided to take the plunge and buy the full version. Much like Fireworks, Sketch is snappy and simple to use, packed with the features you need, and nothing you don’t. (Though if you find it lacking something a strong community of plugin builders should have you covered!)

Sketch Time Savers

After working with Sketch a few months now, I’ve found a few awesome tricks and tips for people new to the software. If you’re migrating from Adobe Fireworks you’ll be delighted at the new features at your disposal. I’ve gathered together five simple tips that will help you get the most out of your new UX design software!

Get Friendly with Keyboard Shortcuts!

As always, shortcuts are the key to productivity. Give your mouse the afternoon off and get familiar with all your shortcuts. Cheetyr has a great cheat sheet for quick reference. Have a feature or plugin that doesn’t have a shortcut defined? Set one up in OSX using System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts.

Unified Design with Styled Text

Sketch allows you to convert “regular” text to styled text. Styled text carriess over fonts, spacings, and sizings. This is very handy for web design where you can quickly style your header tags, paragraph, blockquotes and more.

Symbols to the Rescue

Much like styled text, symbols are reusable elements that can be quickly inserted to your design. A symbol can be a single layer, or a group of layers. With symbols we are able to set up an atomic design heirarchy quite easily, from simple elements like text boxes to complex divs or post types, symbols cut down on design time and remove the need for cut and paste drastically when trying to quickly iterate a design or two.

What Sketch Can’t Do Plugins Can

Sketch is very robust, but still may not be able to do everything you want. Lucky for us the commmunity is very eager to add features, most of which are free add ons! I highly recommend installing Sketch Runner to help organize and find any plugins or features you’re looking for.

Build Custom Templates

Sketch comes with some incredible built in templates, but it doesn’t have everything we need. Consider creating a few templates that will help you with your clients. I recommend a mailchimp template, Business Cards, and other items you find yourself reusing often. You can even save a template with a default set of Styled Text or Symbols for incredibly fast iterations.

Start Using Sketch Today!

Practice makes perfect! Sketch is taking over a lot of what was previously Adobe only teritory. Get ahead of the competition today and get familiar with the software now. Don’t forget to add it as one of your skills at linkedin!

Need more clarification? Leave a comment or reach out to Zach today!

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