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The limits of Sketch

almost 7 years ago from , UX Designer

Do you all think that sketch is a suitable design tool for more than stripped down web-apps or flat landing pages?

I like Sketch a lot, but when I showed it to a fellow designer who had never used it, he came away with a sense that it's very limiting. That designing with it would be like using Bootstrap: many of the pages you design would look the same - except for the colors, fonts and the image you choose for the header.

So I think this is a fair question: Are you worried about Sketch's limitations influencing you, or is it a non-issue?

For reference, here are a few sites or pages I think would be a challenge with sketch, and even a photoshop/sketch hybrid workflow: - http://whois.wildlife.la/ - http://bigcartel.com/jobs - http://www.ipolecat.com/process

33 comments

  • Matt Pinheiro, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    You should never be limited by your tools.

    Photoshop limits you into changing the body text of a whole blog because it takes time. Sketch limits you to create graphics because it's not good at it. So use them both!

    If you're creating images, do it in Photoshop. If you're creating a button, headline, setting text, creating icons, bloody hell that should be done in Sketch.

    It's not the tool that limits the designer's job, but the designer itself when he is in a tool-focused mindset.

    Bigcartel's and iPolecat's page weren't not possible because there is Photoshop, or because there is Sketch. They were possible because awesome designers/illustrator/typographers were able to turn their ideas into something tangible. The tools that got them there were just part of the process. If there wasn't Photoshop, it doesn't mean there would not be beautiful designs. People can do this in Paint if they might, it's all pixels after all .

    Try thinking it like this: Use the tool you feel most comfortable to. You shouldn't move to Sketch if you don't feel comfortable after a couple days. You shouldn't keep on Photoshop if it feels clunky and uncomfortable. And it applies to every single task you do. Feel better illustrating on Photoshop? Do it. Feel better creating buttons and setting text in Sketch? Go ahead.

    Remember: People like Dieter Rams and Paul Rand did all their work with the good ol' pencil and paper. You're only limited by your knowledge and experience.

    And, in the end, it's all going to waste. It's turned into PNGs and HTML, and your Photoshop and Sketch files won't mean a thing.

    32 points
    • Andy HulmeAndy Hulme, over 6 years ago

      Completely agree, all the tools of choice are a means to an end.

      The big pull for me with Sketch isn't necessarily what I can design in it, but how. The symbols, multiple page handling and super efficient exporting will ultimately speed up my workflow and the handover process. I don't see it as designing 'better', but designing 'smarter'.

      I can always dip into Ps/Ai as of when needed, They are all part of the tool box

      2 points
      • Zach HerringZach Herring, over 6 years ago

        "When needed" though means a $50/mo subscription service that you only use when confronted by the limitations of your main tool. That's why I'm wary of it.

        1 point
    • Chris CChris C, over 6 years ago

      Couldn't have said it better!

      1 point
    • Rolando MurilloRolando Murillo, over 6 years ago

      Ditto. Divite et imperas.

      1 point
  • Duncan ReganDuncan Regan, over 6 years ago

    Has the vector tool improved in Sketch 3? It drives me crazy as I'm used to Illustrator's tool. I have a really hard time using it.

    4 points
    • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 6 years ago

      There are improvement, but I will still stick to illustrator for complex vector. The pathfinder divide tool is indispensable.

      1 point
  • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, over 6 years ago

    I did not bought Sketch to replace photoshop or illustrator. I find sketch building smarter and faster structures for the website and also the components.. Though if it's a complex website with textured buttons and not simplicity I will use ps of course.. Sketch is just another thing to have on the table :) that's my opinion :)

    4 points
    • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, over 6 years ago

      I agree. I never expect it to replace Illustrator or Photoshop. This will be great for me to quickly get something drawn up and mocked.

      Just a fleeting thought here, but I feel like there is a lot of over designing out there today. Maybe I've just been in the monkey house too long but why do we feel the need to design EVERYTHING on a webpage. In my experience, the default browser dropdowns have been the best solution. Way too much time has been spent on designing things that users over look or don't care about or end up getting in the way. Another that comes to mind is the over use of parallax.

      0 points
      • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, over 6 years ago

        Over use of the parallax?... Every got damn website use it :p it really shows how "creative" web designers are these days.

        0 points
  • Samuel ZellerSamuel Zeller, over 6 years ago

    You don't build a house with just a hammer, even if it's the most awesome hammer on earth.

    2 points
  • Martin BroderMartin Broder, over 6 years ago

    I think sketch has it's advantages over photoshop/other design tools.

    Your imagination is your limit.

    With Photoshop you can combine both ui-design with photomanipulation, but you also have a bunch of disadvantages over sketch, for example with it's new symbols or shared styles features it is a horrible thing to exchange font's when you've already designed a lot of pages.

    I would combine both for maximum efficiency.

    When you have to do a more skeuomorphism inspired design, use photoshop to do the photomanipulation and/or patterns, textures and import them into sketch.

    That's my opinion.

    1 point
  • Clark WimberlyClark Wimberly, over 6 years ago

    The answer is in the title- Sketch.

    1 point
    • Zach HerringZach Herring, over 6 years ago

      Yeah. And the Title's supporting copy is "Professional digital design for Mac. Sketch gives you the power, flexibility and speed you always wanted in a lightweight and easy-to-use package. Finally you can focus on what you do best: Design."

      Everything I've read about it is selling it as an end-solution, not another slightly-higher-fidelity-prototyping tool.

      0 points
      • Clark WimberlyClark Wimberly, over 6 years ago

        Without raster tools, it really can't be an end solution.

        You can import a bunch of raster created in another tool, but using just Sketch to design would be damn hard.

        0 points
  • Zach HerringZach Herring, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    I've really been impressed with the speed at which I've been able to throw interfaces together. Sketch is, however, starting to feel more like a light-rail than an airplane. Yes, it will get you to production-ready designs in an instant, but only if your endpoints are somewhere on this flat, worn track. I can see myself crank through a hundred boilerplate designs in a month or two without really stretching myself; I don't know if I can really see myself doing anything that pushes my limits in an off-the-wall

    Which is fine. I don't think Sketch has ever sold itself as my sole design-solution for every project ever. It's just with all of the hype it's been getting (Popular Post Exhibit A and Exhibit B ) I was expecting a more complete complete application.

    Good tool. It just doesn't replace my Adobe tool box. That's a bit of a bummer, but I'll keep dreaming of a holistic design solution. Hopefully, someday I'll get it (and hopefully it won't be subscription-only based, or cost an arm-and-a-leg).

    1 point
    • Andrew Crocker, over 6 years ago

      Great point. I would guess that any really holistic design tool is going to eventually have all the complexity of Photoshop. After all, you'll need to be able to set type, illustrate, modify photos and work within grids.

      So if "bloat" is what you want to avoid than you may always have to work within a tool where the limitations may influence the visual style.

      That said, going back to Photoshop I have noticed several things in PS that have subtle negative influences in the choices I make while designing.

      0 points
  • Joseph BarrientosJoseph Barrientos, over 6 years ago

    For me, a tool is a tool, and as mentioned before, someone could use paint if they REALLY wanted to. I used sketch, along with AI and PS. I think these are all awesome tools to use together. Sketch helps me stay organized, work faster and stay a bit more consistent. Photoshop, i feel more free and tend to not pay attention to specific pixels or colors and It can be a problem, lol, and for all illustrations/icon creation, AI, pathfinder tools are just so awesome in AI.

    I think with the right motivation and vision, any tool can be the bets tool

    0 points
  • Sallar KaboliSallar Kaboli, over 6 years ago

    Sketch is not a replacement for Photoshop. There are fundamental differences between them. Sketch is vector based and is made for web and app design, Photoshop on the other hand is a complex graphics software made to do all kinds of stuff on all kinds of graphics. The comparison is not right. Comparing Sketch to Illustrator or Fireworks may be more accurate though. But again, Illustrator is a complete vector editing app made for professional graphic designers to make complex vector stuff. It’s complicated and confusing for me as a web and app designer. Sketch is far more simple and provides me only with the tool I need to get the job done. Also sketch doesn't make design decisions like booststrap or other design frameworks. Sketch is just a tool and provides you with tools, not decisions.

    0 points
  • Arma GetronArma Getron, over 6 years ago

    Pretty sure the purpose of sketch is to allow you to use programs for what they were meant to be used for.

    All the sites you listed are pretty much solely comprised of pictures of graphics and vector illustrations. I don't think Sketch was ever intended to replace PS and Ai for those things.

    Also I don't think the websites you mentioned are very good representatives. You see sites like those once a blue moon.

    0 points
  • Tori ZTori Z, over 6 years ago

    For now, I still can't use Sketch to make mockups like this:http://graphicburger.com/app-screens-perspective-mockup/

    0 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, over 6 years ago

      Why would you want to? I can't see a good 30% of the art boards that aren't in front.

      7 points
    • Miguel Solorio, over 6 years ago

      I can't for the life of me understand why people are using this perspective/unreadable format to showcase their work.

      1 point
    • Ed ChaoEd Chao, over 6 years ago

      (apart from whether UI should be presented this way) actually, I think you can do this in sketch. Transforming a layer group so it looks like its in perspective and adding shadows is all you need.

      0 points
  • [deleted] , over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    Comment Removed

    0 points
    • Andrew Crocker, over 6 years ago

      I generally agree with you. I like Sketch, but I think the best case would be Adobe gaining inspiration from Sketch, and stealing some of the features for Photoshop.

      1 point
  • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, over 6 years ago

    Sorry my English ftm writing on the phone and autocorrect from Swedish:P

    0 points
  • Bady QbBady Qb, over 6 years ago

    I've been using sketch since last year but until know it's not become a replacement for my main design tool because its limitation. But I started to move to sketch when working on new project.

    The limitation for me sometimes when I work with other partners/ team/ clients/ devs where they still use Photoshop/Illustrator. I'm not worried at all since I can still go back using Ps/Ai when needed.

    0 points
    • Zach HerringZach Herring, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      Switching between Ai and Ps is already a huge friction point for me. I'm trying to convince myself that adding a 3rd tool to the mix is going to be worth more friction.

      0 points
      • Bady QbBady Qb, over 6 years ago

        depend on what kind of features you most used for those both tools. If you mainly dealing with UI design, then the switch will be make more sense IMO.

        0 points