First things first, I’m going to say that I’m no expert when it comes to this topic, but I want to talk about it from a ‘not so professional’ point of view. So if I get any of this wrong, please feel free to correct me on Twitter or email me. Okay, on to the blog.

So I’m a front-end developer who wants to get better at design. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do a bit of graphic design (nothing paid, just drawing things, copying flyers I’ve picked up, etc). So I loaded up photoshop, made a coffee and sat down. Thankfully, my uncle gave me a wacom tablet some years ago. So I got it out, dusted it off, plugged it in and opened up the pen tool.

Now, I don’t have a lot of experience with the pen tool, but I have a brief understanding of how it works. So I started to draw and I managed to replicate a picture of an eye from a flyer, but it was a nightmare to do. That was when I remembered about Sketch. I downloaded the free trial, fired her up and got drawing. I drew the same eye but in about half the time. The pen tool on Sketch is awesome. With Photoshop, I could never adjust the points with out completely botching the whole thing. Totally different story with Sketch. Now, this may be down to experience, but I’d spent about the same time on each app.

I know that the two apps are very different, but I’m trying to compare similar aspects of the two.

Photoshop is very a common tool in web development. The web designer will pass a PSD on to the front-end developer who will then slice it up and make the site. You can do this in Sketch too, but a little better I feel. Sketch has this feature called “Artboards” which gives you a workspace exactly the size you need it. For example, there’s one for the iPhone5, the iPad, A4 paper, the list goes on. What this allows you to do is design all of the screens of your application or website, display them side by side and see how they flow together and then slice them all up in one go. Because you know you can export multiple slices from Sketch? Oh yeah. It’s that awesome. No need for third party apps.

I still can’t get over how easy Sketch is. I was a bit skeptical about how good it would be at making mock ups of sites, as I believes it’s primarily used for vector graphics and icons, but I was wrong. I had an idea in my head and I was able to quickly replicate it in Sketch. It was fairly simple, but it was then that I realised it’s a lot more powerful than I thought.

I know this post might seems like a massive circle jerk about Sketch but it’s really not. I just want people to know that there are other options out there besides Photoshop. And with Adobe moving everything to Creative Cloud, people might want to look for different apps and make them industry standard (or so I hope). And with CC being £46 a month, and Sketch being only £35 out right (£17.50 if you got it on sale) it’s the more economical option. Now, I know with CC you get more than just photoshop but really, are you going to use anything more than Photoshop and Illustrator? Maybe, if you’re a photographer, but for web and graphic design, I feel like Sketch is definite contender. If you haven’t already, go and get the free trial.