Over the past twelve months I've done much less designing and much more running the business and handing stuff over to freelancers, but recently it's just made sense for me to do a bit of designing again.

I've always designed website in either Photoshop or Illustrator but a few things have made them super frustrating:

  • Speed. It feels like as Photoshop's feature set has grown, it has got slower and slow. It's cool that it has all that 3d stuff in there, but I'd sacrifice it if it shaved 3 seconds off the start up time.

  • Paragraph and Object Styles. This is the biggy for me. We're increasingly producing style guides - like this one - for our clients. The principle being that all HTML elements that serve the same purpose, look the same, or at least have common attribute. We use Sass and BEM to make this clear and straight forward in our development workflow, but it's a sod in the design process. Although Photoshop has object styles of sorts, and Illustrator provides both Character and Paragraph Styles, all seem much more difficult to use than they should be.

  • Fixed Canvases. This has been resolved in Photoshop 2015, but I ain't forking out on a subscription for the full package, so when I crack open Photoshop I have the option of one artboard, which I need to provide fixed dimensions for. It just feels wrong, and leads to comps which create unrealistic expectations for our clients. Unlike the hipsters out there who are producing Style Tiles or something similar, we still end up producing comps for clients really early on in the process, but we show multiple canvas size and emphasis that these are just a guide to the look and feel and not pixel perfect. Photoshop makes this a pretty painful process, as multiple document can't share styles.

So, I've switched to Sketch. Three weeks in, it's going well. Although some of the behaviour is a bit inconsistent (like Undo almost never works), on the whole I think how Pages, Symbols, Object and Paragraph Styles work in Sketch is much more fitting to a web design workflow.

Photo credit: Web Designer Depot