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How do you work with multiple designers on a Sketch File?

9 months ago from , UI/UX Designer at Ticketmaster

I'm wondering how your enterprises work when you need multiple designers to work on a single Sketch Files? Do you use a version controls application (ex.: Abstract) or other stuff?

And how you make it work ? :)

15 comments

  • Art SevaniArt Sevani, 9 months ago

    Hi Chloe, we have recently launched a Sketch plugin, Plant, a version control and collaboration tool for designers. I would like to invite you to try https://plantapp.io, let me know if you have any questions

    9 points
  • Keith F, 9 months ago

    We use Sketch libraries to keep our symbols in sync, which solves a big part of the problem.

    For working on the same Sketch file, we have a manual system set up. For better or worse:

    • There's a "master" Sketch file which only one person controls, the "gatekeeper".
    • It contains all the workflows and states for a project.
    • The master file is what we use as a source of truth and is what feeds Zeplin.
    • Every designer on the team copies that master file, and appends their initials to the filename. These individual files become sandboxes for designers to work. They create new pages in the document as necessary.
    • When changes are ready to be merged, they are sent to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper pastes the new artboards in to the master, examines/tweaks them as needed, and notifies team that a new master is available.

    Yeah, Figma would be a lot easier for this. Still, having designs funneled into a single “master” file helps us to ensure consistency because we have a human gatekeeper in place.

    Would love to hear how others handle this.

    7 points
    • Oly R, 9 months ago

      We have something similar. A main library (buttons, type, colours, layout etc) that feeds separate sketch libraries (lists, navigation) specific to that product. Having a "gatekeeper" seems the best option for us at the moment too.. once the main library was built it doesn't get changed that much.

      Haven't found the perfect version control yet, Abstract was a bit of an undertaking for our team because of moving all the files to their system. We use git simply to create a log of whats changed and it allows designers to pull from it when there's been an update.

      2 points
      • Andrew CiobanasiuAndrew Ciobanasiu, 9 months ago

        I'm curious to hear about how you are using git. Is your gatekeeper stashing all the sketch files in a folder within a repo and going from there? Is everyone documenting their "commits" individually then passing them forward?

        Our team is pretty excited about Abstract, but we're holding out for a built in dev handoff and hopefully some kind of API for programatic export of master branches.

        Also, we're trying to leverage google team drives per project. Bit of a head scratcher there, but promising nonetheless.

        1 point
        • Oly R, 9 months ago

          Yes, we have a repo with the main library on there.

          The gatekeeper is the only one that can commit and log changes because merging is not an option. We've got a couple of channels on Slack, one is for suggested component changes (a place of discussion), the other is hooked up to git and notifies everyone when the library has been updated. Then people can load up Sourcetree (git gui) and see the commit message, do a pull and overwrite their main file.

          It's not the best option because everyone relies on the gatekeeper to keep the file up to date but we've found after several months that it only gets updated every couple of weeks and it's never going to be urgent enough to block people from working.

          Overall I think merging would be nice so more than one person can use and update it at a time but people have got used to waiting for the gatekeeper and he knows the components better than anyone, everything is built and named the same way.

          1 point
    • Michael G., 9 months ago

      Really nice response. I'm in the process of helping convert our small agency team to Sketch, and I've been building out a pattern library using Libraries for a few months now. These are great tips and mirror some of my thinking.

      One thing we're trying to do (using atomic design) is create a variety of organisms and templates that are reusable and built from our core set of atoms and molecules. Do you use a system such as atomic design to organize and control the things people can freely modify (ex: group of product cards as template), vs. the things that should never change (ex: form fields)?

      2 points
      • Keith F, 9 months ago

        I'm in-house, so we have a core library that contains the elements of our company's design language system. For each individual project, we create an additional library which contains new components and anything we needed to customize from the core design system for that specific product.

        0 points
  • Mariz Melo, 9 months ago

    Use Figma

    3 points
    • , 9 months ago

      Can you develop your answer, please?

      2 points
      • Andrew Richardson, 9 months ago

        Not the OP but I'll expand:

        Figma was built exactly for this. It's not too much different from base level Sketch so it's a easy transition. You can have multiple designers working on the same file without any additional plugin's or complex workflows. It just works.

        A team pattern library is easier to use than Sketch and is easy to maintain (IMO).

        There are some drawbacks: no plugin support being the main one. Sketch has become it's plugin support for better or worse so it's something to consider if your designers rely heavily on plugins.

        Abstract is probably great (haven't used it) but I've found the number of times where I would have benefited from a true version control system to be pretty small on the design side of things but it heavily depends on what kind of work you are doing.

        0 points
  • Ben KroghBen Krogh, 9 months ago

    For multiple designers on a Sketch file, the answer is Abstract. Using it here at eBay and it makes life so much easier.

    It gives everyone visibility into what folks are working on, commits have annotations so you can see the reasoning behind designs changing and adapting. You an add annotations to screens and use it as a feedback tool with your overall design team, and it handles any types of conflicts beautifully.

    I've seen some folks say "Use Figma" because of versioning or multiple folks in the same file at once. I think Figma is brilliant from a web-based and collaboration perspective, but Figma does not have true versioning. Revision and version history is different than true version control, which is sometimes hard for designers to grasp.

    Abstract allows you to have a source of truth without folks adding initials, V1, V2, V3, final.sketch etc. It allows people to have their own working space that even others can branch off of to make updates! It's become so integrated into our design flow that I have a hard time even describing how valuable of a tool it is.

    1 point
    • , 9 months ago

      Do you find Abstract slow ? Also how do you structure your files inside Abstract?

      0 points
  • ahder junior, 9 months ago

    i prefer abstract than plantapp

    you can go to this link --> https://www.designernews.co/stories/90572-abstract-vs-plant-performance

    1 point
  • Matt KMatt K, 9 months ago

    We use a combination of libraries and Plant for version control (similar to Abstract).

    Shared colours, icons, components etc. are all in libraries. We also have a starter Sketch file with the styles, artboards, layouts and anything else we need ready set up.

    Starting a new project means pulling any latest changes to the libraries and cloning the template into a new project.

    All colours, icons and components are symbols, so it's really easy to customise components, such as changing colours by using overrides.

    After each project we agree what needs to go back into the libraries and starter template for the next project.

    1 point
  • Will Danner, 9 months ago

    Well, see, there's this thing called Figma...

    0 points