Returning to Sketch
There are tools that mark a milestone in your life.
To me, Sketch is one of them.
I remember the first website I ever designed by myself was my first portfolio, back in 2015.
My knowledge on design was scarce, but I had Travis Neilson’s YouTube tutorials, a pirated version of Sketch1, and my will to get my first web design job.
Sketch was so easy to learn, that I nailed it on the design, and got actually the job.
At the time, my job was mainly coding HTML and CSS, and the designers used the Adobe Suite, so I had to abandon Sketch then.
It was only years later (8 years, to be exact), in 2023, when I decided to give it another try. And, oh boy… How I missed it.
It’s just a well-designed tool all around. The care for detail that their team has is amazing.
Now, after using Figma for a long, long time, there are a few drawbacks, so I thought to document my recent experience with it in this post, and update it every once in a while.
The Good about Sketch
Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?
- It’s a native MacOS app — fast, reliable, and the UI looks good. What else can I say?
- It’s offline-first — it means you can open the app while flying on a plane and actually do work2.
- Your files are yours. They stay in your computer, and there’s no fear that the company will train AI models with your designs3.
- It has a pay once option, where you actually buy the software and keep it forever (no subscriptions). I missed these…
The Bad about Sketch
Unfortunately, after many years of using Figma, you become spoiled by the amount of features that speed up the process.
Here are the things I miss the most when using Sketch:
- Auto Layout — I design mostly for the web, which makes dealing with paddings a pain in Sketch. I’m hoping they’ll improve their Smart Layout soon.
- OpenType Features — Yes, Sketch does have the option, BUT it’s buried inside many menus.
- In-app CSS Inspector — It seems to only be available with a subscription, and it’s not as easy to use as Figma’s.
- Symbols and Shortcuts — it’s not that it’s bad, I just need to re-map these things in my mind. Very different from what I’m used to with Figma.
I’ll keep using Sketch for personal projects, and hopefully fully transition at some point?
A lot of the people who work/have worked at Sketch are people that I deeply admire, so I have a lot of hope for the future of this product.
I had no money for a license back then, since it cost over 1/2 of my salary at the time. ↩
Figma will not work, unless you keep your files open on your desktop app. Bummer. ↩
Don’t be naive. What do you think Adobe has been doing with Figma? 🤫 ↩