In the early days of Sketch, we had a simple goal — to help people design better products. We built a lightweight, intuitive tool and the design community has done amazing things with it. Over time, we started to think about how we could make it easier for designers to work together. So, we laid the foundations for better teamwork with Symbols, Libraries and Shared Styles.
Design is now the foundation of almost every business, and having the right tools to build and use design systems is more important than ever. So today, with Sketch 60, we’re introducing some important new features that not only make it easier to work together, but also speed up the process of creating, sharing, using and maintaining design systems.
A new home for Components
As design systems make Libraries more complex, navigating through nested menu items of Symbols and Styles can really get in the way of a productive workflow. To help solve this, we’ve been working hard on a major update to Sketch’s interface — the Components Panel.
The Components Panel brings Symbols, Text Styles and Layer Styles into a single place — in a new tab to the left of your Canvas. And, with it, you’ll get a clearer view of the components in every Library you’re using.
Pick a Library from the list, filter between Symbols, Layer Styles or Text Styles, then navigate through your Components with ease. You can even use search to find what you need in a snap. Clicking on any Component reveals a nice, big preview at the bottom of the panel, making it super easy to distinguish between Symbols or styles with minor differences. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can just drag it straight onto your Canvas to start working with it.
The new Components Panel also makes organizing your Libraries easier. You can double click on any Component to rename it, and if you want to organize them into folders — simply drag one on top of the other.
Onboarding in an instant with Cloud Libraries and Sketch for Teams
When you join a new project or team, there’s a lot of new information to take in and plenty of files to track down before you can dive in and start to work. Reducing the friction here has been a missing part of the design systems puzzle — until now. With today’s update, we’ve made that onboarding process faster and discovering shared Libraries easier.
Under the Libraries tab in Preferences you’ll now find all of the Cloud Libraries for any team you belong to. Instead of waiting for colleagues to share download links or searching for the right Libraries yourself, you’ll automatically find exactly what you need — all in one place.
You can scroll through and find the Libraries you need, and when you’re ready to use them, just click Install.
A smooth transition from local to Cloud Libraries
Since we launched the Sketch for Teams public beta, we’ve been listening to your feedback and working on ways to make the switch from your existing collaboration tools as painless as possible. With today’s Sketch update, we’re continuing our Libraries theme and making it simple to take a local Library, share it with your team on Cloud and relink all the Symbols and styles in your documents.
And when we say simple, we mean it. Just upload your local Library to your team’s shared Cloud workspace, make sure it’s enabled as a Library in its document settings, install it via Preferences in the Mac app, and delete any local copies you have. Symbols and styles from the local Library will automatically relink to the Cloud version so you don’t need to lift a finger.
Say hello to a better workflow
With the new Components Panel and Improved Cloud Libraries support, we’ve laid a solid foundation for building and managing your design system. By combining the collaborative power of Sketch for Teams with a host of new features in the Mac app, you can:
- Create powerful, flexible components that automatically resize to fit their content with Smart Layout, reducing the size and complexity of your Libraries.
- Upload and share these Libraries with your whole team in just a few clicks with Sketch for Teams, creating the foundation of your design system.
- Onboard new team members in an instant by letting them discover and download all your Team Libraries right from the Mac app.
- Get fast updates whenever a collaborator changes a color, rule or component.
- Quickly organize, find and use the components in your design system with the new Components Panel.
And the best part? You can do all of this today. Simply head to sketch.com/updates to download Sketch 60 and go hands-on.
We know that design systems don’t end with design files. So we’re working on the next generation of tools that will help you bring the whole team into the design process. Here’s what’s next for your design systems workflow:
- Developer Handoff — Soon, developers will be able to inspect any Sketch document shared with your team in the browser and get the information they need to take your designs to production.
- Annotations — Take commenting one step further with contextual feedback on your Artboards.
- Assistant — Bring your style guide to life and ensure consistency with rules and warnings right inside every Sketch document.
We’re excited about what’s next for design systems in Sketch, and we can’t wait to share more details about these features in the coming months.
Organise your Fonts with Suitcase Fusion
If your design system is text style heavy, you’ve probably run into situations where team members don’t have access to the right fonts or even end up using different versions of the same font and it can really slow down your workflow. Our friends over at Extensis have been working on an exciting new plugin, to help you organise and manage the fonts your team uses.
Suitcase Fusion is a professional font manager that lets you preview, manage, and activate, all your fonts in one place. And now, with their handy new plugin, Suitcase Fusion integrates directly with Sketch so you always have the right fonts, when you need them. Find out more over on the Extensis website.
Update: We’ve received a lot of feedback after this week’s release about your experience with the new Components Panel. We wanted to let you know that we hear you. We know these changes affect your workflow and we’re already hard at work to improve it.
Our goal at Sketch is to build features that help designers and teams work better and the best way to do that is to use your feedback to improve and and iterate. We’re always listening and we’re already focusing on a few key areas:
- Updating UI to improve visibility and readability
- Improving previews for Text Styles
- Improving search functions
- Improving keyboard support
As always, we’re grateful for your feedback — it helps us to create a better tool so we welcome your comments, good and bad.