Just a quick post to state how much I love Sketch, the design app for Mac. I try to be a full-stack programmer, meaning being able to write complete application from the backend to the web frontend and the mobile apps, and I actually feel that I have somewhat succeeded in this very long quest. What I am still lacking are design skills, but every time I tried to acquire some, the step of learning the tools, like Photoshop of Illustrator, was where I failed. By lack of better options, interface design has been shoehorned into these tools originally created for other works. There is so much cruft that you do not need in Photoshop for UI design that using it totally felt to me like trying to create a web application before discovering web frameworks. I constantly wondered: “Should I bother with this kind of details? This is not bringing value to my project.”
Sketch is focused on digital design, and it excels at interface design. There is a reason why world class designers like Tim van Damme or Benjamin De Cock (Yep, I picked the Belgian ones, but they are not the only ones at all :-) are using it: it is the right tool for the job. (I recently read a tweet, that I cannot find back right now, unfortunately, that mentioned that a lot of designers of Facebook had made the switch too). Teehan-Lax are using it too, to the point that they released their famous iPhone GUI elements in Sketch format
So now, with Sketch, I can focus on what matters to me: trying to make something usable and as beautiful as possible. I still lack the skills, but at least, I do not feel encumbered by my tools anymore.
Sketch has been the liberating tool that allowed me to finally give it a real try in a process that does not involve tweaking my CSS/UI endlessly until it kinda looks acceptable. It also made a common bottleneck in my work disappear: having to wait for a designer to create and export a small asset that I need in one of the apps that I am working on. I am now comfortable enough to open Sketch (Did I mention that it opens a lot faster than Photoshop on my Mac?), create the things I need, and export it right away. Maybe the designer will come back and say that it is not as he wanted, but honestly, most of the time, this does not happens.
As a side note, for a rather more bitmap based editing (Sketch is a vector based tool), Pixelmator is an excellent companion to Sketch. I am sure that in both Sketch and Pixelmator, there are features that advanced users of Adobe suite could miss, but it is perfectly possible to deliver quality work anyway.
That said, notice that vectors (by oppositions to pixel tweaking) is how I think about design and I guess that it will be more natural to most developers. It is a more structured point of view on image creations.
Finally, Sketch is an inspiring success story: it has been originally made by only one dutch guy, Pieter Omvlee, helped by one designer. It has been released something like three years ago, and now, based only on awesome qualities and a friendly pricing, they are beginning to eat Adobe’s lunch (note that I do not dislike Adobe, I actually loved Flash and the whole toolchain coming with it). I am quite sure that, if they do not sell the product at some point, this could be the start of a new world class company. Tech.eu, you should cover them :-)
So, what’s not to like?