Why Everyone at Your Company Should be Able to Use Sketch (& 3 Tips for Making it Happen)

I love being a maker.

In a field that prioritizes user experience, there is nothing more satisfying than working on something that is impactful.

You know what I don’t love?

Exporting assets. Resizing logos. Changing colors in presentations.

How can I focus on moving big rocks that make real impact if I’m spending 25% of my day doing tedious production details?

At Drift I don’t really have this problem anymore.

Why? Because everyone on my team uses sketch.

Why is this such a big deal? Because all of my teammates having this basic skill set gives me 25% of my making time back. In the past, I was exporting 30 icons x 8 variations = 240 assets! NOW, I am:

  1. talking to and understanding our customers.
  2. getting answers that keep our dev team humming along.
  3. iterating on our UI.

25% of my day! Do the math, thats roughly 12 more impactful hours a week — more than a full working day! Here are some examples of how I am able to reclaim that time:

Engineers don’t need me to “redline” files or export their assets.

The engineering team knows how to go into my file, check the padding, find the type sizes, export their assets. With every file I pass off, I learn a few more things about how I can name my layer structure to reflect our code base. Over time, this process has become even more seamless.

Product Management is proactive.

If a QA issue comes up with a customer, my PM — Matt — simply grabs my file and compares it to the flow that was implemented in the product. He can then see if something was cut during implementation and get the team working on a fix without dragging in extra people (me).

Marketing isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty either.

When Marketing needs a logo, they just go and grab it. They know where to go to get our HEX values and how to mock up our logo. They also know where I keep my file of illustrations that they like to use for their content!

The combined efforts of my team make a major impact on my day. Here are a few tricks for implementing this type of shared responsibility on your team so you can get your making time back:

Keep Central Files

Keep a “Component” folder in DropBox. In that folder, create a file that holds HEX values, typefaces, icons, illustrations, etc.

Every time you create something that can / should be reused… drop it into the corresponding component file. This takes about 3 extra seconds!

Give everyone read-only access

This gives your team the freedom to go ahead grab things as they need them. And because the access is read-only, any changes they make w0n’t overwrite your files. This preserves the design team’s organizational efforts.

Be a teacher

If someone on your team has a question, teach them how to do it! Ever heard this phrase…

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

…yes, it is relevant here too. Show your teammate how to export. Instead of sending them the file they want, send them the URL to it so they can learn where it is in the file structure!

Taking the time to get your team using Sketch is totally worth it. It might be some up-front effort on your end, but the ROI is glorious, uninterrupted making time.