2017: Another year of innovation
With 2017 coming to a close we wanted to take a moment to reflect on all the new features we’ve brought to Sketch over the last 12 months.
This year was a busy one — we shipped seven major updates (from Sketch 42 through to Sketch 48) and with those came hundreds of new features, iterations and fixes.
We asked for your feedback and you delivered. Many of your suggestions have become features that designers are putting to good use everyday!
We’ve added a host of headline features to Sketch since January including Libraries, Symbol Scaling, Color Management, improved vector editing, smooth corners, Find and Replace Color, and many more. Here’s a roundup of our favorites:
This is one of the biggest features we shipped in 2017 and probably the most requested. We introduced Libraries in Sketch 47 to make life easier for teams and collaborators by allowing you to store all your most important Symbols and components in one shared Sketch file and use them across all of your documents.
When you update a Symbol in a Library, those changes will sync everywhere it’s been used meaning your designs are always up-to-date and your whole team is on the same page. You’re already doing exciting things with Libraries and it’s added a whole new dimension to collaborating and creating design systems in Sketch.
We’re not stopping there though — there’s plenty more to come for Libraries next year. Look out for shared Text Styles, easier ways to share Libraries and more in 2018.
We’ve made a whole series of changes to vector editing in Sketch over the past year and they all add up. We’ve worked hard to improve the look, feel and functionality of the vector editor to allow for more precision and accuracy when drawing or editing vector shapes.
Some of these changes include adding smart guides, a shortcut for opening/closing paths (Option-Command-O) and improving how we edit rounded corners on points that aren’t right angles.
We launched Sketch Cloud back in 2016 making it easier than ever to share your documents with clients and colleagues, and this year we’ve made it even better.
Sketch 46 added the ability to share your private documents with others via email so in progress or confidential designs are only seen by the people they’re meant for.
As well as that, you can now download Sketch files directly from Sketch Cloud making collaboration a breeze. There are big plans for Sketch Cloud in 2018 — we’ll tell you all about it soon.
Even small changes can make a big difference
Adding headline features to Sketch is always exciting but we know it’s the little things that make all the difference. We understand designers, which is why we’re always trying to help speed up your workflow, improve your processes and make your life easier.
Alongside the bigger updates we released in 2017, we’ve been hard at work improving and iterating on the app in less noticeable ways and improving your overall experience in Sketch. Here’s our top five smaller updates:
SVG clean border export
We made some big improvements to SVG exports when dealing with inner and outer borders by making paths simpler and avoiding the use of masks. This may sound simple but there was some fiendishly complicated math involved! Our work on this also allowed us to clean up outlined paths too.
Replace missing fonts
Sketch notifies you when fonts are missing and allows you to replace them easily so you can collaborate on documents with people — without worrying that a missing font will subtly change the design.
We dramatically improved resizing controls giving you more power and control over how your layers behave when their parent is resized. In addition, you can now set Artboards to resize their contents as they resize so you can create responsive designs simply by changing the size of your Artboards.
Vertical text alignment
Sketch 46 introduced the ability to set whether text aligns to the top, middle or bottom of its layer. When resizing that layer vertically, the text behaves according to those alignment settings.
We improved the selection of Artboards on the Canvas. Now, when you click-and-drag a selection area, any Artboards fully-contained within the selection will be selected, rather than their contents.
It’s not all about us though. Over the past year we’ve seen some incredible work being done in the community around Sketch too. The introduction of our JSON file format means that more developers have been able to create more amazing plugins and extensions. Here’s some highlights from 2017:
Abstract’s version control app for Sketch files lets you collaborate, iterate and integrate your designs into one final master, without losing any work along the way. They rolled out a same-day update the day we launched Libraries, adding initial support for the feature and have since added Linked Libraries that allow designers to use and share Symbols across different projects inside Abstract.
With Kactus you can bring the all the power of Git to your Sketch files. This open source app uses a familiar set of tools to allow for powerful version control, letting you create branches, commit changes and keep your team in sync. Best of all this app was created by our very own Mathieu Dutour.
Lona by Airbnb
This year Airbnb created Lona — “a collection of tools for building design systems and using them to generate cross-platform UI code, Sketch files, images, and other artifacts.” It’s still early days but if you need to test your designs on multiple screens and translate those designs into code for multiple targets then Lona is the perfect Sketch companion. We can’t wait to see what the team behind Lona has in store for 2018.
Airbnb’s React Sketch.app is a really useful tool that lets you render React components to Sketch. This makes it possible to manage your design systems, use real components and data in designs and build new tools on top of Sketch.
Polaris Telescope by Shopify
Shopify’s Polaris design system is expansive and well-documented but the team needed a quicker and more efficient way to switch between Sketch and polaris.shopify.com. The solution was Polaris Telescope, a plugin that lets you quickly search for Polaris guidelines and code snippets, all within Sketch.
Powered by html-sketchapp, this plugin lets you quickly generate Sketch libraries from HTML documents and living style guides. By adding a few hooks to your HTML you can use this plugin to create ‘Almost Sketch’ files that can then be converted in Sketch to documents containing all of your Symbols, Text Styles and colors.
We really appreciate all of the hard work that talented developers are putting in to expand the power of Sketch and we’re very lucky to have such a great community around the app. Thanks to all our users for helping to make Sketch better with every update.
Reflection is important but we’re not going to rest on our laurels. We’re looking forward to the year ahead and we’ve got big plans for the next 12 months. There are already a lot of new features and exciting updates in the works and we’ll tell you all about them soon.
We hope you’re having a peaceful and relaxing holiday season and we’ll see you in 2018.