Xavier Bertels
17 Feb 2015

Sketch App Meetup Report

The first Belgian Sketch App Meetup was quite a nice meetup. I tried recording the talks, but unfortunately my camera said no after the first 30 minutes of video. And since we had problems with the projector for the first 15 minutes, video will be for the next meetup report ;-).

It is surprising to see that many people using or starting to switch to Sketch for their daily work. Here are my key takeaways from each lightning talk:

Kjelle Vergauwe uses Sketch daily at Appstrakt for their Appmiral framework. Clever use of symbols allows you to build a framework and use that to quickly rebrand / skin it for different clients in the mockup phase. All the while still working in a visual program. (Talk will be published soon.)

The talk reminded me how nice it would be to have real document-bound universal colour swatches in Sketch. Something like that is coming in 3.3. I have tested it in the Bèta version, and document-bound swatches is a step in the right direction. They aren’t quite the universal swatches yet I love so much in Illustrator. Those allow you to define one colour and use it for text and objects, which can be a major time saver. This change hints that Bohemian Coding is working in that direction though, so by 3.4, we might have universal swatches!

Peter Vermaercke showed us how Sketch fits into a larger workflow when designing for a big railway company. I still remember this quote from someone “I will never let my design department be dependent on the software of some small company.” It is nice to see that Sketch is now being used in some serious design work and it is yet another wake-up call to Adobe that the UI design community isn’t looking to them for a solution anymore. View Sketch on Rails on Slideshare.

Lorenz Vercauteren-Seghers had some neat practical tricks up his sleeve. Even though I have been using Sketch for the past three years, I still learned some new stuff. Like the dynamic button plugin, which makes buttons as big as their contents. Apparently, you can also use symbols within symbols if you detach and re-attach the master symbol. It doesn’t always work reliably, but it can be a real time saver. View Saving Time in Sketch on Medium.

Kristof Houben talked about creating plugins for Sketch. Apparently, the mix between Cocoa Script and JavaScript can give you some headaches when developing plugins. Something to take into account. Kristof also created the nice I18N Sketch plugin, which can save you some serious time if you’re designing in a multi-language environment – like Belgium often is. View Extending Sketch App with Awesomeness on Speakerdeck.

At the next meetup, we might change the format a bit. We’d love to dive into the practical stuff a bit more, or turn it into a workshop-style format where we design a UI or website together. Feel free to join the meetup group to stay informed about new get-togethers.

Xavier Bertels

About the author: Xavier Bertels is a designer and managing partner at Mono, where he helps companies deliver simple, useful & beautiful digital products. He tweets as @xavez.

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