Posted by Gracie Clemens

Beneficial when you have it and frustrating when you don’t — at Hi Mum! Said Dad, we love creativity and anything that fosters it. One thing that helps is experimenting with new tools and software to push creative boundaries. Most recently we’ve been playing with Sketch 3, the popular graphic design package, so I sat down with our senior designers, Ra Taibi and Anthony Prior, to get their thoughts.

How would you say the software you use affects your work?

Anthony: I would say programmes affect the speed at which you can work and experiment; the better the software, the better your end project will be.

Ra: The industry has been limited to a small range of software, so I see it more as a tool to express your creativity, rather than affect it.

So, what are your first impressions of the software?

Anthony: It’s a specialist tool for user interface design. It goes back to the basics and focuses on designer necessities.

Ra: It’s intuitive, easy to use, simple and focused. I didn’t like the software’s UI because it’s very basic with few elements, but I suppose it’s good not to overwhelm the user with too many options.

What are some of your favourite features of Sketch?

Ra: The best feature I’ve found is having the ability to work on different art boards on one page and being able to create a style and apply it to different elements. For example, you can create one style for a call to action and if you work on different resolutions, you can easily apply it to all whilst maintaining the proportions.

Anthony: The natural copy and paste nature of the app seems fast and intuitive. The single letter shortcuts for shapes, art boards and tools sped up my workflow. The art board layout is a revelation that allows you to visualise the user journey so you can design in steps. You can also show the history of iterations and compare concepts side by side, something Photoshop doesn’t allow you to do.

Name some of your least favourite features of Sketch?

Anthony: If you have an object at the bottom of your layers, for some reason it’s difficult to pick the lowest object and move it up.

Ra: They didn’t integrate any Android libraries. You can still design Android interfaces, but you have to find or create your own libraries and assets for Android devices. Also, when working with icons the transition between Sketch and Adobe Illustrator for vector elements isn’t integrated very well.

Given its price (£54.99 from the Mac App Store), do you think it’s worth the price?

Anthony: When you consider software prices in general — yes, it’s an amazing price.

Ra: Absolutely.

How does Sketch compare to Photoshop?

Anthony: Well, they’re both different products so it’s difficult to compare. Photoshop is focussed on photo editing, whereas Sketch is predominantly about creating user interfaces and wire frames.

Ra: Sketch needs to grow a bit before it can be compared to software that’s been on the market for over 20 years!

Do you feel like Sketch enables, or inhibits, your creativity?

Ra: It’s just a tool to express my creativity. I don’t feel limitation necessarily — it works, and that’s what I need.

Anthony: Enables because it allows you to experiment efficiently. Basic functions happen faster — if you want to copy and paste a layer you can do that how you would copy and paste anything on your computer. Whereas Photoshop, you have to wipe it and duplicate it.

Do you feel like Sketch sped up your design time, or slowed it down?

Anthony: Speeds it up — they have some great aligning tools.

Ra: Right now it’s slowing me down just because I‘m still exploring the software and its’ features.

Lastly, would you recommend this software to other designers and/or businesses? And why?

Anthony: Definitely. If you’re a relatively new business Photoshop is a considerable financial commitment so Sketch is a great middle ground, specifically for user interface. Secondly, it has a great community with people constantly building products and plug-ins so there is continuous support. I’m enjoying working with it and find it much quicker to work on Sketch than I would do on Photoshop.

Ra: I’d recommend it based on price. However, even if you had Sketch you’d still need to have photo-editing software.

The HMSD view

Having long been the only game in town, Photoshop seems to have a credible contender for UI design in Sketch 3. As with anything, it’s about having the right tools for each job, so we’re a fan of anything new that helps us create great mobile experiences, which is what we love doing.

Have you used Sketch 3? Let us know what you think! Tweet us @HiMumSaidDad OR email me.

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