Sketch v Photoshop

ps_v_sketch_smThese days designers are being bombarded with a ton of tools to help us with productivity. New apps and plug-ins for prototyping, iconography, photography, background patterns, content creation, templates, etc. are being thrown at us every day, so much so, that it’s sometimes hard to choose which one to go with. After weighing your options, sometimes you just have to close your eyes, click “download” and cross your fingers.

When it comes to deciding on a tool for actual design creation, however, we still only have two main options: Photoshop and Sketch. This small pool helps make the decision much easier.

Old School

Photoshop is the grandfather of UI design. It’s so old it wasn’t even created with user interface in mind; it was created with photography in mind (in 1988!). As the digital design industry evolved, designers needed a tool to get the job done, and Photoshop became that tool of choice, for better or worse, because it was the only tool on the market. And without any competition in the market, it has stayed fairly the same all these years, bloated with photography tools and not logically set up for UI. In Photoshop’s defense, it was never meant to be a tool for UI. It’s still great at editing photos.


Sketch is the cool new kid on the block. Within the past few years it has been gaining significant traction within the industry. In 2008, the guys at Bohemian coding looked at the UI-design pain points with Photoshop and decided enough was enough! It was time to thoughtfully develop a tool specific to UI design. So they set out to make a better product, and the industry has responded by overwhelmingly switching over to Sketch. If you build it, they will come…

We started using Sketch at Matrix Group a few months ago, and it has considerably increased our design productivity. If if doesn’t do something we want it to, 9 times out of 10, someone else thought the same thing and developed a plug-in for it. It also integrates with other amazing apps as well, Zeplin being Matrix Group’s favorite. Zeplin is a designer/developer hand-off tool that has completely streamlined this process by importing designs and out-putting styling, CSS snippets, dimensions and assets – all right at the fingertips of the developers without them ever having to open a file, let alone a whole program.

Sketch still has a few downfalls compared to Photoshop, handling of typography being one, but for now we are totally on board with being a Sketch shop. That being said, I’m still 100% keeping Photoshop around for whenever I need to edit photos. And I’ll absolutely be checking out Project Comet when its released. Yay competition!

Have you used Sketch? Do you prefer it over Photoshop? Or are there other design tools that you like more than Photoshop and Sketch? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Andi Witmer

About Andi Witmer

Andi Witmer is an interactive designer at Matrix Group. Andi brings great talent and experience, which helps make our clients' sites look simply stunning. She has a BFA from James Madison University, and brings to Matrix Group seven years of experience, including two years of interior design.