Tools do not make a better artist. But — great tools allow the craftsman or craftswoman to manifest a great vision that was previously unrealized.
I never realized the power of iteration until I started using Sketch. I start designing the new feature for the coming sprint with my first gut-thought of how it may look and function. I alt-drag the artboard right to quickly create a duplicate for the second potential direction. I get messy. I might copy the artboard 50 times until my canvas is a massive mess.
I gracefully move around the canvas from artboard to artboard, comparing and grading the pro’s and con’s of each layout.
Looking back at Photoshop, I found it hard to iterate. I did not think in numbers, math, scale and sizes very well. It definitely resulted in some what sloppy, inexact work. But once Sketch became my tool, I noticed that my care and attention to very exact and consistent scales, sizes, margins and typography skyrocketed. My managers and directors were more regularly complementing my work.
The Positive Feedback Loop of Love
In Sketch, Artboards are easy to duplicate; layers are easy to rearrange; the tools are simple and easily accessible; colors and shadows can quickly be tweaked. (I could easily try ten or twenty shadow possibilities in just a minute or two.) Alignment is insanely simple.
After some time using Sketch, I began embracing grids and metrics as a dictating force in my design. It was just so easy to know how close I was and that every layer was intentionally placed with consistent padding and margins.
There was a very incredible positive feedback loop that began.
I felt at ease with my tool. So I would try something new that I was never willing to try before. I would see positive results, so I would do it again. It became second nature to always create at the newly attained standard of quality and attention to detail. And then, again, I would take my work to the next level of experimentation, because attention to detail, grids and spacing did not scare me; it had already become second nature. The product team would praise the work and I became more confident as a designer. So I would in turn experiment beyond my comfort zone, with color, typography, and layout.
It seems that new startups are obsessed with disrupting something. I sense that the Sketch team never related to themselves as “Photoshop killers,” like people like to call them. My guess is that they did not come to disrupt, rather they came to improve upon great tools for an evolving industry. This is apparent in their level of care and sensitivity in the creation of their design tool. They were simply alt-clicking the artboard and pulling right, iterating on the great tools that previous companies shared with the design industry.
Have you had a Positive Feedback Loop of Love with Sketch? Please share! Oh, and don’t forget to show me some love.