50

I'm not happy with Sketch

7 months ago from , Designer

Hey guys,

Before my rant, Tom Reinert come up with a clever trick to make your protos act more 'native'-ish.

https://www.designernews.co/stories/94154-concept-nested-prototypes-in-sketch

But the thing is such basic thing should be a native action instead of a workaround. And lately, I'm REALLY unhappy with sketch. I've been using it since from the 'grey' diamond version (2.3 or something) It's constantly crashing, acting seriously weird. I'm aware that it's much better than Adobe and focused on UI, plugins blah blah.

I admit sketch is a life saver. But I feel like Bohemian coding digging their own grave. For the sake of realism, let's just take off pink optimistic dribbble glasses and stop praising for a second. (and I hope bohemian coding actually cares about their users and listens to them)

If it wasn't affecting my workload, I wouldn't bother creating this thread. And to be honest, every update it's a big letdown since they've changed their pricing model. And to be honest, I feel like I'm overpaying for a beta tool.

Anyway, I'll try to point out the stuff that I'm disappointed. So basically this is both an open letter to bohemian coding and a dialogue with fellow DN users.

Performance There's no performance. I'm trying to be polite as I could on this one. It's shit. Even I have the highest specced MacBook money can buy, the program works terribly. Even dragging a grey ugly square on an empty file while no program is running is laggy. No, it's not my computer. Even figma (with tons of other tabs running at bg) runs much smoother. I don't believe "performance imporvement" notes on updates real anymore. They maybe just put there to make the list look longer.

Colour Management Anything with colour is terrible on sketch and the update for that was a joke. Your eye dropper tool shouldn't depend on your MONITOR's colour profile... I mean wtf? Yeah, I'm sure you weren't aware of that. Open a jpg with finder. Pick a colour with eyedropper. Move the jpg to another monitor and pick the colour from there. Even the hex code changes. (I've tried this on dell, LG and samsung none of them were 4k. But on 4k dell ultrasharp it works fine. but still...)

Colour Tool You definitely redesign/rework your colour tool. Even thinking about your colour picker window makes me want to cry. It's a design application, not a presentation tool. There should be a dedicated space for colour and it should be much more complicated than just tiny squares that you can access their hex IF you select them.

Gradients Well, I don't gradient in sketch IF it's going to be a huge one with transparency (and if it's going to be subtle one) Bandings everywhere.

Updates This is the first application that I don't want to update immediately. You're releasing a beta version and charging yearly and I just can't believe that you can't test your applications before release. So basically, it's a thing to not to update if there's a new update released. That should be the opposite you know. It's a bloody update...

Unreliability Let me give a fresh example. Today, I copied a basic dropdown symbol. And switched to another file which had the exact same artboard size, contents etc. without the symbol i've copied. When I pasted it, sketch placed it somewhere random. Selecting an artboard or zooming in and pasting is a solution for randomness but I just wanted to challenge the app and kept pasting the same dropdown without touching anything. Every single paste was random. There's no pattern either. The app throwing away at random locations within the viewport. I know this is a rare case but still, I can have this bug a couple of times every month.

Artboards Technically they're just visible groups. I find it pretty awkward. I mean I shouldn't be able to 'delete' an artboard by ungrouping it. I can work inside a white square instead if I'd want to have such thing. Can also add some drop shadow to that box if I feel fanct lol

Smart Guides With every new feature introduced to sketch, guides are suffering. Those were huge time savers when they were first introduced but now they're suffering between symbols and all other new stuff. Also, even though disabling smart guides, why do they still keep working? There are a couple of times I had to do some fine tunings and boost performance but even though they're 'disabled' they still keep working at the background and keep snapping. So hiding them is not actually hides smart guides. It's a toggle that tricks user that they're disabled.

Prototype We already had marvel (and sadly invision) why do you need to bloat the app? Maybe you should have picked marvel to work with in the first place instead of a typical marketing-fueled American company. Tbh I'm not surprised that they're trying to release their own version of sketch. And sadly, most of the companies are going to switch to them in a few yrs UNLESS you come up with a bright new idea. Maybe a web-based sketch? Oh, wait, sketch was just keynote on steroids.

Community Create a community dammit. Just open up a forum and take some responsibility to listen to the actual problems and feature requests of your users. I never see your team getting involved anywhere. There's figma, marvel, atomic and they're literally even on DN. It's a great feeling giving them immediate feedback DIRECTLY. Heck, even Adobe is on DN. But where are you? Seriously, you're not Google you can't just ignore your users. And also pls stop replying emails with such robotic tones. I knew that I could share a couple of pints with you after work. You should be here with your users.

Sorry for the wall of text but I needed to get these off my chest for a long time.

44 comments

  • Stan Marsh, 7 months ago

    I'm all for sticking it up to get these tools to function properly. However, I've never experienced issues as bad as this makes it seem. Sure some minor annoyance issues, but it's a given with software.

    I'd consider myself a power user, I'm on a 5 year old MacBook pro with the lowest specs. When something is acting up a simple restart fixes it.

    I use sketch not because I don't have other options, I've tried them all, I use it becuase none are as simple and reliable as sketch. It may not produce the best gradients, masks, or combined objects but thats fine, I'd rather open up another tool that's designed for that and keep jamming with sketch.

    I sure as hell am not going back to photoshop.

    46 points
    • Andrew C, 7 months ago

      Yeah, I have an old Macbook for personal projects and also a new fancy Macbook that I use for my day job (it has one of those touchbar things) and both seem to work just fine for me. I have had issues with Sketch crashing a bit, but it was almost always a plugin (ahem Craft) that was the culprit when I spent time to investigate the cause. When I used to use Illustrator for this stuff crashes were much worse.

      The biggest annoyance I have with Sketch's UI is the the naming convention of putting a / in a symbol name to group things doesn't always work. The system doesn't seem to recognize some /'s which complicated structuring Sketch libraries for the rest of my team.

      2 points
      • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, 7 months ago

        What you experience might come back to the fact, that Sketch won't put the element deeper into the hierarchy if there's only one item inside. I've never experienced this issue myself, this would be the first time hearing about it.

        0 points
        • Andrew C, 7 months ago

          Ahhh this may make some sense. I don't believe I ever did this, because I thought it wasn't working so I didn't continue to put more items within the "broken" category. Thanks!

          1 point
  • John JacksonJohn Jackson, 7 months ago

    I actually have zero performance issues with Sketch. I used to all the time (a year or so ago). But as of the past year, it's been pretty smooth sailing. Could possibly be caused by any plugins you're running. It has room for improvement but it's far from being a bottom of the barrel product.

    25 points
    • Derek Fletes, 7 months ago

      I have a 2009 macbook pro and run sketch with zero lag. However, I don't use any plugins so my answer might not hold much weight.

      0 points
  • Pol KuijkenPol Kuijken, 7 months ago

    Fully agreed.

    Sketch was good when it was "Photoshop but not shitty". At some point they reached feature parity with Photoshop, and had implemented everything a bit better. It was such a good alternative back then.

    After that though, I feel like they lost direction. They had to tackle issues and add features that Photoshop didn't have yet. It seems without Adobe's example of how not to do things, Bohemian made the same mistakes. Their implementations now are leading to a more cluttered UI, or incomplete functionality, or slow workflow, or poor performance, etc.

    The mind boggling amount of "How to do X with Sketch" articles show that it's not optimized at all for a modern design workflow. The most ridiculous hacks to achieve super simple functionality. I'm so tired of seeing people show off their "design system" in Sketch, when it's just 10 levels deep of nested symbols each with duplicates for different states or colors and 200 character symbol names with slashes to have some sense of hierarchy so you can select them later through drop-downs that would even make Microsoft Office feel ashamed. Sketch has become what I left Photoshop for.

    Switched to Figma a year ago, couldn't be happier. It's a joy seeing it evolve over time. Their new features are consistently well thought through and work extremely well on their own, while also being seamlessly integrated into the product as a whole. I'm again excited to see update prompts, instead of going to check Designernews to see if this update will break my work.

    21 points
    • Todd CantleyTodd Cantley, 7 months ago

      When did Sketch reach feature parity with photoshop?

      9 points
      • Pol KuijkenPol Kuijken, 7 months ago

        Should have clarified - I meant just for UI/UX work. The other stuff in Photoshop is out of scope for this discussion imo.

        3 points
  • David SvezhintsevDavid Svezhintsev, 7 months ago

    I'll join this rant (revolution?) as well. Stopped using Sketch and have been using Figma for over a year, occasionally updating Sketch to see if it has gotten better because of the said issues.

    It only get's worse, while Figma feels like it's getting better and better with each update.

    13 points
  • Artur Eldib, 7 months ago

    The grid layout sucks so bad.

    Components should be like Figma.

    And plugins feel like workarounds bloating the app

    7 points
    • Alisha MarshallAlisha Marshall, 7 months ago

      +1

      0 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 7 months ago

      What's wrong with the grid layout?

      0 points
      • George Brown, 7 months ago

        Well lots of things.

        • Never gets aligned to pixel grid.

        • if you change anything it applies whether if you click cancel or okay.

        • sometimes the settings are bound to sketch file sometimes it's bound to artboard.

        • unless you copy and paste the artboard you have to create the layout every time.

        there are more. but these are the most annoying ones that I comes in my mind now.

        1 point
  • Alex CampAlex Camp, 7 months ago

    Ya.. I've been trying to use Sketch more because of the hype, and there are some really fantastic features in it like 3rd party plugins and great symbol stuff. But the lag is insanity, lack of color tools are weird, plus the lack of raster tools, even basic ones, is weak.

    I use Affinity Designer for all my daily design work - it's a beast. Literally have had files with 100 artboards and you can whip around and scroll anywhere as if there were only 1. Plus its got an entire raster mode -- so it really is a mix between illustrator and photoshop in a way. Plus its only a flat fee (like $40 or something) and you get free updates. I'm surprised there's not more talk about it in the industry.

    6 points
    • Greg Warner, 7 months ago

      Here here for Affinity Designer! If they allow for some kind of API integration with a dev spec tool eventually, I’d ditch nearly everything else.

      0 points
  • Stefan Lechleitner, 7 months ago

    I don't have any performance problems, even with big files. As comparison: when I got the invite from Invision Studio i tried it immediately because I was so excited about it. But the performance there was a big disappointment for me.

    6 points
  • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, 7 months ago

    To this day I still have to design long-form content within Illustrator because Sketch can’t handle multiple text styles within a text box.

    Feeling you on this.

    3 points
    • George Brown, 7 months ago

      Same feeling. I remember changing the design rules since I couldn't manipulate texts properly. And it was like 4 years ago, still nothing changed.

      0 points
  • Benoît ChabertBenoît Chabert, 7 months ago

    I honestly have not had that many issues with Sketch until I started designing for large apps (300+ screens).

    Maintaining a symbol library with images and use that across multiple sketch files makes my top of the line macbook pro agonize slowly (even if I only have a couple of artboards showing in my file). It’s crazy. There’s a project where I had to split my design for 1 website section in multiple sketch files to make sure Sketch could handle it (about 10-20 artboards total).

    I think that besides that it’s still among the top UI tools.

    3 points
    • , 7 months ago

      I think that besides that it’s still among the top UI tools.

      No argue on that. But that's just because sketch is older then the other tools and the copycat (wink wink)

      0 points
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , 7 months ago

    Thank you for this writeup! I’ve been saying this for like forever.. Sketch is buggy as hell, almost every new update comes with its own set of bugs.

    For a paid application, this is unacceptable, luckily we have options.

    2 points
  • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, 7 months ago

    The Adobe suite works pretty good, FYI.

    2 points
  • Derek Nguyen, 7 months ago

    FYI Sketch's official community is at this facebook group.. I don't like the fact that it's on facebook, but there is an official community.

    I don't have much problems with Sketch's performance, but I don't really have any files that have +300 artboards either... I can relate with the complaints about reliability, color tool & symbol management and the addition of prototyping — it's nice that sketch cloud is now a bit more powerful but at the same time, in the iOS preview app they took away the ability to zoom design to 100%.

    I've been using Figma for small projects here and there and I'm thoroughly impressed with it.

    1 point
  • Tim HelbergTim Helberg, 7 months ago

    The 2 things that frustrate me the most is the random crashes and the buggy Sketch Mirror app...

    1 point
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 7 months ago

      I've been using Angle instead of Magic Mirror. Good plugin, the only thing is the artboard and source location need to be the exact same aspect ratio. Can't remember if that was the case with MM.

      0 points
  • Richie Bonilla, 7 months ago

    I haven't experienced any of the performance issues you've described (2015 rMBP also pushing 27in monitor). I also have not examined the way some of the features function as deeply as you have, but they have never gotten in the way of me doing my job, either.

    I understand you're trying to be critical, but you could do it in a more mature tone if you're trying to spark a productive conversation. Absolute statements and insults are not helping anyone—especially if you're trying to encourage the company to engage with this site more...

    1 point
  • Emanuel SerbanoiuEmanuel Serbanoiu, 7 months ago

    Look what's in the oven https://www.sketchapp.com/beta/

    1 point
    • Product GuyProduct Guy, 7 months ago

      This bugfixing list size reminds me the case when (if to say abstract) the pot was pulled out from the bottom and everything ruined all over again

      1 point
      • Lucian .esLucian .es, 7 months ago

        Feeling the same thing, so I've stopped having expectations :) Sketch is wonderful, until we have a decent alternative

        2 points
        • Emanuel SerbanoiuEmanuel Serbanoiu, 7 months ago

          A product/company disrupts a market when it can do the things that the biggest player does in a much better way. Sketch kinda did this to Adobe when UI design started to mature and the result was visible. We also saw how much time it takes to build such a complex tool like Sketch so, in my opinion, we will have a decent alternative when the whole industry is transformed.

          2 points
  • Benito Vergara, 7 months ago

    My first comment here on DN -- so please be nice. :)

    I love Sketch, and I do want to keep loving it. I am tired of having to "innovate" our workflow. Just give me one that works, at least for another year or two. As with a lot of software, updates become diminishing returns until an upheaval requires you to reconsider.

    Works for at least another year or two -- that really is all I've wanted from Sketch and so far so good. Whatever shortcomings it has, whatever reason I may have to mumble about, I can live with. If it's too much trouble, there's a plugin there to the rescue (+1 to Sketch community).

    And while I do not have any first-hand experience with Figma, it is all because I don't have a need to shift. I don't have the performance issues described in this article (in either my 2016 Macbook Pro or my 2015 iMac), and I can live with what I would call "quirky"color management.

    The last time I switch tools was from Adobe Illustrator + Photoshop + Fireworks to Sketch. Quite happy to live in that space for now.

    1 point
  • Greg Warner, 7 months ago

    Hmm a bit too much of the negative, imho. In my experience, Sketch has largely been great and mostly stable, aside from a few shortcomings: single platform. Symbols are powerful, although investing large amounts of effort into a concrete design system can be a headache when you find that you need to make changes later, kind of fighting against the whole point. And lack of better typography tools and raster editing pushes me back to Affinity Designer. But in general lightness, focus, and plugin approach, I think Sketch is still awesome.

    1 point
    • George Brown, 7 months ago

      Let's call it realist comments mate. Like I've mentioned, I was putting away my pink basketball glasses while writing that :)

      0 points
  • Th. MTh. M, 7 months ago

    I only use Sketch for some lightweight UI components and brand artwork but for me, it lost its appeal when the whole plugin hacking started to get serious. The platform/add-anything strategy makes sense as a growth component but as we know, every design software does well until it adds email functionality...

    1 point
  • Nemanja NenadicNemanja Nenadic, 7 months ago

    Haven't had any bigger issues with Sketch in ages. Can't remember the last time application crashed. Other than that there are some annoyances like mentioned color profile issues and symbol placement. I rarely use smart guides and didn't start using Sketch's built in prototyping tools as lately I'm doing mostly front end development so I didn't have the need for prototyping.

    But as far as performances go I can't slander them. It just works for me. (To be clear, I'm currently working on a mobile app with ~100 artboards and lots of symbols, so I'm not saying Sketch works for me when drawing few icons)

    0 points
  • Jack Selby, 7 months ago

    Hi there You certainly aren't backwards in coming forward, and that's the way it should be in civilized debate. Before I go on, full disclosure: I'm with the competition https://doover.io/

    OK, so no one thing can be all things to all men. You make that point yourself when you talk about Sketch being "bloated". At do over, we know that and we designed and built our tool to be manageable and agile, aiming all the time for one thing - simple design collaboration.

    Your biggest gripe appears to be the "shit" performance, which sounds pretty fundamental. I promise you that our tool works. Consistently. And it's fast. Really fast - the upload speed is particularly delightful.

    Try it. And please let us know what you think. Here, in public, or private - we are here to stay and want to learn from authentic users. Thank you.

    0 points
  • Dan SimDan Sim, 7 months ago

    I’ve experienced most of OP’s problems and have started to feel the same way. Hopefully it’s not too late to steer the ship

    0 points
  • Bruno BarrosBruno Barros, 7 months ago

    The thing Sketch needs the most is some sort of advanced symbol manager. Some sort of UI that allows us to manage, rename, edit, organize symbols from one or multiple Sketch files.

    0 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, 7 months ago

    Your experience truly sounds awful, but I don't have that experience at all, luckily. I am very, very happy for not having to use yet another tool for one tiny bit of functionality (prototyping) - I realize that we are used to this, but this is not how its supposed to be. Prototyping directly in sketch is a great thing. I get the point of marvel, but it ultimately is a fancy imagemap generator. Its a tiny thing. I remember having to use invision for that - yuck that was awful. I am very happy that I have no need for this anymore.

    I don't know what issue you have with smart guides, they work perfectly for me.

    I agree with the colors panel and I agree that they work not fast enough. There is still a lot of stuff that needs to be done. I just wished they'd embrace web technology. I want cascading behaviour. There is a lot of stuff that is just quicker and easier done directly in code. I think sketch is missing out on that.

    0 points
  • Dan BerkoDan Berko, 7 months ago

    I have so many issues with Sketch v.50 that I'm considering ditching Sketch all together and moving to Figma. I can't believe that with each update I need to be worried about previous work becoming trash. Libraries failing. Weird glitching. Constant crashes. Font issues.

    I have no idea where these instabilities are coming from but it's gotten so out of hand that I need to consider my options.

    Sketch, my message to you is simply: "Guys, what the hell?"

    0 points
    • , 7 months ago

      Sadly, that's one of the major issues. To be honest, I never heard such thing that 'first' updates are breaking up the functionalities. I mean if everything gets broken with an update, then it's not an update. That's beta. I believe they should start building their own graphic engine, that's what's the issue. Sketch is technically (but not technically) is lab breed mutation of Keynote. They're using the same architecture. That's why they can't release a win version.

      0 points