Using sketch to format and organize mass assets

OpenGov sells powerful financial tools to governments. Every product sold is personalized for the customer. This process includes formatting the entity’s logo or seal to be hosted on their new OpenGov platform in a way that compliments both the product, and the government’s specific visual identity. By formatting all customer logos in this way, we encourage clean, consistent, and cohesive look across all of our customer’s product pages, regardless of the dissimilarities in the customer logos themselves.

The Problem

When I first interviewed with OpenGov the company had less than 50 customers, now — almost 2 years later — we have over 600.

Previously we had been using illustrator to copy and paste artboards and place them at random somewhere in the workspace while we format the new customer’s logo. The problem arose when trying to retrieve logos. We didn’t have the logos organized in any specific manner, and once we did find the logo in question, exporting it out of illustrator in various formats was — at times — more time intensive than we would have liked.

It didn’t take long for my co-designer and I to realize we needed a better way to handle our customer assets. I was given the task of crafting together a long-term solution. At that time, Sketch App was at the heart of many design debates among those seeking out an illustrator alternative. I was looking for an excuse to dive in and give it a try.

Sketch proved to be perfect for the task of formatting and organizing hundreds of customer logos on the fly. Here’s how I went about doing it.

Initial Organization

I decided to organize customer logos based off of the common naming conventions I observed, this lead me to arranging them into two main groups: prefix and suffix. Prefix logos have subtext before the name (i.e. ‘City of’ Beverly Hills). Likewise, suffix logos begin with the entity title and follow with subtext (i.e. New York City ‘Fire Department’).

Here’s where sketch shows its magic

Step 1: Create Pages

I created one sketch file with 6 pages: prefix 1, prefix 2, suffix 1, suffix 2, suffix 3 , & unique (the numbers refer to the # of lines of subtext).

Step 2: Create template and convert to symbol

Within each page I created a template and converted it into a symbol, allowing me to make changes to the templates across all the logos within a page by editing elements within a single symbol (if you don’t use symbols yet, now is a good time to start).

Step 3: Avoid Carpal Tunnel, use ‘Arrange > Make Grid’ instead of copy+paste

Step 4: Format and Export

The next step is to grab the customer’s seal either off of their website or out of an email (if they sent it to me). Slap it into the template, change the text, sample the text color from the seal, then export to my heart’s content.

Finding and exporting assets is now a piece of cake

Conclusion

We now have nearly a thousand logos stored in a single sketch file. Initially we worried about sketch slowing down and crashing with such a dynamic file, but the updates they’ve made over the months have allowed the file to run faster now than it did when I first built it.

The real victory came when a design firm that was working on redesigning our website reached out to me and (very apologetically) requested that I send them 120 customer logos reformatted from .png to .eps. This was a task that would have taken hours using our previous method, but with sketch I was able to locate and select all 120 artboards, export them all as .eps in one big batch, and send them all over in under 10 minutes. They responded immediately with shock as to how fast the turnaround was. Using sketch in this way has saved a tremendous amount of time and, thereby, money.