New Suite of Creative Tools Challenges Adobe

By Alyssa Wyngard, Interactive Designer

Published: January 19, 2015


Rumor on the street is there may be a Photoshop killer lurking around the corner. Where Photoshop is an all-encompassing design tool – including edit features for photos, user interface, postcards, t-shirts, animations, and more – the new kid on the block is taking more of a single purpose approach.

Launched in 2011, Sketch ‘is built for modern graphic designers, and it shows in every fiber of the app,’ giving designers the power, flexibility and speed needed in a lightweight and easy-to-use package.

Why all the hype? Sketch 3 is being hailed as a better design tool on the Mac than Photoshop. And at $50, it’s a lot cheaper too. So here’s the breakdown…

Drawbacks of Sketch

Since Sketch was designed to be a Mac Only program, it is obviously only available for download by Apple users. Compared to Photoshop, which is widely and well supported, this narrows the audience of potential users – eliminating any designers on a PC.

The main purpose of Sketch is hinged around designing a well-optimized user interface. As such, Sketch does not try to be everything to everyone, as Photoshop may. For example, Sketch is not a photo-editing app. It can handle photos allowing for basic editing like grayscale, masking, cropping – but it doesn’t have the full range of white balance, color toning, etc. that other tools offer.

Benefits of Sketch

On the opposite hand of its lacking in widespread functionality, Sketch brings value in its singular focused approach. Referenced often as single purpose apps, these types of programs focus on one thing and do it extremely well. We’ve seen this trend come to fruition over the last year with apps like Facebook Messenger, which pulled the direct messaging component out of the Facebook app into its own entity.

What we’re finding is that today with modern technology, and modern consumer preference, people who are using mobile phones, tablets and more to access the Internet at their primary viewing screen don’t want portals. They don’t want apps or circumstances that have all kinds of stuff baked into it, because they quickly become difficult to navigate. What we’re seeing, instead, is very specific uni-functional apps that do one thing, and do it well.

In the case of Sketch it is designed for a user interface designer with features like global updating of symbols, infinitely scalable vector images, and wire framing capabilities that incorporate the design services that UI/UX, interactive designers need most. The goal being to design with development in mind.

While its unclear how Sketch and other like-tools will impact Photoshop in the long run, it is perfectly clear that digital designers these days are open to trying new platforms if it means making their jobs a little easier.