Sketch Tutorials

Material Design System with Sketch Symbols

Learn how to design smarter and faster using material guidelines built into nested symbols

Apr 11, 2018 · 7 min read

I want to present you Plaster a mobile design system made to simplify working with Material guidelines by implementing fundamental principles and Sketch app best practices into nested symbols, granting the user with a fast and reliable component-based design approach.

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Guide contents:

  1. 💡 Intro — Backstory, and idea behind creation.
  2. 👀 Overview — A quick look at the main sections.
  3. 🎛 Setup — Control panel for every detail.
  4. 🔧 Components — Material components with symbols.
  5. ❣️ Summary — Use cases and FAQ

1. Intro

Why the world needs another Sketch design system?

Mostly because I find the classic Material look been outdated, and after conducting small research, I was convinced of this. Most of the people (*Designers) would find it worn-out or “too shady” to just blindly use it in their products since it could lead to a non-unique app UI that can get easily lost among all other applications that are already on the market.

But the whole design system is beautiful. It’s not only visuals, but it is also precise design decisions and human-driven patterns working with displayed components. The foundations of all, is a solid structure, primary consisting of the component-based design approach, gold 8-point grid, clean typography, and existing metrics on user mobile experience.

That’s why I believe it possible to implement these universal ingredients into a single UI library that will grant it’s master with huge advantages towards customization of mobile app design by utilizing the power of symbols, eg.

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2. Overview

Plaster is a Mobile-first Toolkit designed to help validate and generate ideas faster using bulletproof guidelines packed into Sketch ecosystem. The master file is divided into 5 separate pages, each having its purpose and lots of pre-designed contents to make it a perfect playground or checkpoint for a new project.


  • Get Started — The starting point and a control panel for a new project. Adjust your colors, styles, and fonts here to propagate the changes through the whole system quickly.
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  • Style Guide — Color schemes, styles sheet, icons, and typeface, all together serve you as the ultimate source of truth for your brand or a project.
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  • Components — The system building blocks are made in 3 different color themes, showcasing vast customization options towards each element and component.
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  • Screens — This page contains an always growing collection of pre-designed screen patterns built with system components, that can be freely customized and used as working materials.
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  • Symbols — The heart of the system, the place for all symbols that are categorized and manually sorted according to its type. ♥️
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All pages are combined into a powerful toolkit to cover a massive amount of use-cases when designing mobile applications, by giving anyone familiar with Sketch the ability to create UI kits, design systems, wireframes and prototypes much faster and easier. 💪

3. Setup

To setup Plaster and have your unique version of the system, it only requires to overwrite the default Layer and Text properties.

Yeah, It’s that easy. ☝️

To do so, go to the Get Started page, select layers and styles you want to adjust, change them in a group or one by one, and apply. The rest will be done with the help of Shared Styles magic that will sync all existing symbols with latest chosen styles, including text symbols.

Tip: Remember to update your primary brand text color, as is shown in the video.

Having this page under your control allows to easily create new themes and styles within a few clicks, through quick access to each visual parameter of the system, including a style guide which always stays in sync.

4. Components

The concept of Plaster aims to bring wide-ranging benefits in both short and long-term run, by dividing the UI into compact building blocks that are easy to adapt, scale and reuse for both Android and iOS platforms.

Components — with them, you can quickly design many screens within a single iteration by just placing them in the right place on the artboard. But, what more important is the fact that you can update them with new details when it’s time to come for a new feature, and spread the changes through your app seamlessly with no additional efforts.

To explain the workflow with symbols, here is a short video of me using Plaster components to build a user profile screen.

Tip: By using the same components, it’s possible to make changes to multiple symbols at once.

Note: All of the Plaster components have the same unified symbol structure that shares identical override properties with all system components without exception, making it very easy to understanding and work with the overrides panel.

Here is a closer look at the typical List component structure.

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Tip: You can lock individual symbols to hide from appearing in the overrides panel.

In this example, all 4 symbols are nested into a single component, representing visual properties that are possible to adjust or swap, such as shape, color or shadow (Material) text (List item), separators (Divider), an icon (R Icon).

Note: you can add Plaster as a library 📚 to have all components always ready to be used through all of your documents, at any time of the day, using both Symbol menu or a cool Sketch Runner plugin.

To show you in a more detailed way how components are used, I have prepared a Demo file with a simple UI screen, feel free download it and see them in action to get a feel of the system capabilities.

👉 Download the Demo File

5. Summary

Plaster is a tool made to test and solve product goals in the shortest possible time. Once setup you’ll save yourself a lot of hours on every next mobile design project thanks to the diversity of the use cases this kit can offer.

Use cases

  • Validate ideas faster. Having pre-designed components in your inventory saves a lot of time prototyping from scratch for both designers and developers, through reusing the proven and existing solutions.
  • Generate a beautiful style guide, and use it as a source of truth for your project, create new themes and styles based on it.
  • Create animations, and user flows using Sketch native features or export components to any other app of your choice.
  • Learn guidelines and Sketch app best practices, in a fun and interactive way, become more expert in this design fields.
  • Sync and Share the library with your teammates to collaborate and stay up to date with every change using numerous plugins and apps.

Do more in less time, build bold and beautiful applications. 👊

Visit the Plaster Design System Website to get the full version of the product, or download the Demo file and explore it more closely.


How to get the latest version?
We send email notifications via Gumroad and tweet when the new version is released so be sure to follow us, and if you already bought Plaster go to the Product page and download the latest version.

Does this mean that Frames will no longer be updated?
No. Both systems will be updated separately, our goal is to create the best possible UI libraries for Sketch app, and we do not intend to stop innovating our products.

Want to suggest a feature or a component?
Great! Feel free to reach us and discuss it via

What differs your product from other UI kits?
is built into a system through constant improvements and is based on the existing mobile design patterns, granting the user with an ability to control and scale mobile design systems for mid/large clients in a fast and confident way.

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