Sketch Vs. Photoshop in UI/UX: Pick the Right Tool for your Design Needs

by Claire Polansky

The Sketch Vs. Photoshop debate is still going strong. Photoshop has had hegemony over the UX/UI design ecosystem since at least the new millennium , when it reached the capacity to translate images to the screen. But Sketch is gaining on its heels.

Now that web and tech design has taken center stage from print, the designer has been faced with unique challenges to not only offer impeccable design, but they must also facilitate the user’s relationship with the myriads of devices they use everyday effectively.

So now the jury is out.  Can a new design tool on the market replace our known and loved Adobe superstar?

Purpose of Sketch and Photoshop

Photoshop was designed for photographers in 1988, but it soon became the go-to tool for the broad advertising and technology world — not to mention multimedia artists. As the industry changed, Adobe stepped up the game with each new release — offering more and more updates including libraries, smart objects, layer comps, new methods of asset extraction and slicing elements, and vectors to support their web/app design efforts. In addition, there are countless plugins specifically designed to translate design to tech. And other Adobe products like Illustrator and Dreamweaver work alongside the program.

It is no wonder that Adobe feels as if it has a monopoly on the design industry. No one has competed up until the introduction of Sketch for MacOS interfaces in 2010.

Bohemian Coding’s Sketch promises to specifically enhance the process from design to coding in the design and development process. It is like a mockup tool and a development tool in one package. You can not only design the image, but they boast that you can sync it with CSS, JSON, and HTML. You can see real-time views of your design across platforms such as smartphones, desktops, tablets, etc.  The multiple art boards are supposed to help you communicate the user flow to developers more efficiently than Photoshop. Meanwhile, they eliminate features like photo filters from their software in order to keep the focus on UI/UX while supporting plugins so the user can use the product according to their needs. There is even an icon library with ready-mades for the most common features for the web and apps.

Pro’s and Con’s of Photoshop and Sketch

I have a love/hate relationship with both products when it comes to design. It really depends on your individual preferences. Here’s my growing list of comparisons.

Photoshop Pro’s

  • Adobe keeps a coherent user experience in all of its tools. You know one, you know them all.
  • Photoshop gives you the opportunity to edit photography while working on the user experience.
  • I can create graphic assets and store them inside a smart object</strong and use them over and over again in my interfaces, while I have the option to edit them in one place. perfect!
  • I can view layers or hide them by pressing on the eye icon as I experiment with styles and features. And I can choose implement patterns and gradations into the design for quick design.
  • Layer comps for easy transition from design to dev.
  • The File > generate -> image assets facilitates lighting speed element design for fast turnaround to developers.
  • Building a vector graphic interface suitable for use in large scale resolutions (retina screens etc.)
  • Savable color palette, fonts, and graphic assets.
  • Brushes, brushes, brushes. If you ever need to edit hair, you’ll love the collections that you can get from Adobe or peers.
  • 6 different workspaces promotes diverse use of Photoshop. There are different sets of tools for photographers, 3d artists, web designers, animators, and digital artists who use the PS with mixed media (or just using the brushes).
  • Image assets are stored inside a cloud service and displayed in the library window.
  • All of the Adobe Software integrates–You can import a PSD to In Design and After Effects, drag icons from Illustrator to Photoshop, etc.
  • Syncs with Behance, so you can share your portfolio quickly. This helps with faster turnaround on collaborative projects as well as gig seeking.

Sketch Pros

  • Built in layout grids with padding options
  • Ready-made vector shapes, buttons, and icons necessary for resizing your image for responsive design.
  • Reusable elements like bars, buttons, and bubbles and automatically saved frequent colors that are easily accessible in drop-down menus.
  • Mood boards, a collection of your inspiration right inside the platform.
  • Sketch mirror syncs with all of your Apple devices, so you can preview your design across platforms as you work.
  • Scalable vectors and pixel precision helps you maintain sharp images without blur or pixelation as I stretch and shrink images for responsive design.
  • Text styles, bulleted list generator, and a content generator that can assist you with quick placeholder typography including filler names, bios, photos, avatars, and text.
  • Repeating elements so you can update all pages and sections of my app/site in one-go.
  • Color Management taken directly from your inspirational mood board, including gradients and quick color fills.
  • Drop-down menu for quick resizing for all Mac screen resolutions.
  • CSS styling, which invites easier collaboration with developers.
  • Easy to export assets quickly
  • You can integrate it with Instagram for instant image fills with Sketch squares.
  • Great documentation!

Cons of Sketch

  • It is overwhelming with its endless features. I feel like I have to start my education all over again with design.
  • Sketch can be buggy.
  • I still need photoshop to design more complicated images.
  • Some of the tools are unfamiliar to me.
  • It only works with MacOS. Say goodbye to collaborating with PC users.

Cons of Photoshop

  • I can’t easily preview it on multiple devices.
  • I have to spend more time creating stand-in content into the design than Sketch.
  • It’s not a wireframe tool (It does not have ready-made,resizable buttons and icons for the screen).
  • The software is heavy. It uses a lot of CPU and crashes periodically (However, it does save your last file as a backup).
  • The animation options are not that developed — but that’s what After Effects is for.

Verdict

While there is no definitive right way to approach website and app design, there are still standards and procedures one must follow. But It all goes down to preference at the end of the day when it comes to which tool to execute Web and App Design. Sketch is specifically for UX/UI, while Photoshop speaks to all digital artists. It’s your choice what you want to work with. Just don’t expect to create a work of art with Sketch or use it on your PC. And expect to put just a little more of your own hands into your Photoshop mockup. We still love Photoshop (and our beloved Adobe products, thus we don’t plan on making any changes anytime soon here at Hubsphere.

We’re curious what you think. What tool do you prefer to use for your UX/UI design?

Author: Claire Polansky

As a marcom specialist for online media, my background in psychology, the arts, and academia all came together to meet the needs of the ever-changing advertising market. When I am not writing, you can find me with my dogs on the beach basking in the Mediterranean sun.

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