In our Meet the Maker series we meet with designers who push Sketch’s limits, and find out what drives and inspires them in their work. Today we’re chatting to Matthew Skiles, an icon and visual designer.
How did you get started using Sketch?
I started using Sketch back in 2017. At the time I was designing a lot of websites, and was hearing from everyone about how much better Sketch was at designing for the web than using Photoshop.
I was pretty resistant as first, as I didn’t quite see why I needed a new tool. But once I actually tried designing in Sketch, I fairly quickly realized how much better and faster of a tool it was for creating not only websites, but all sorts of designs.
From there, I found more and more parts of my design process could be done better in Sketch than in other apps. For years now I’ve used Sketch every day — and wouldn’t want it any other way.
What inspired you to create the work you’re sharing with us?
We needed an app icon design for a Mastodon app called Radiant. After exploring a bunch of ideas, the campfire stuck out the most: a mix of semi-3D elements that don’t draw too much attention to themselves, so they look right at home on your phone.
I wanted to have the icon feel both cozy and warm, and have a vibrant energy to represent the communities you can find and interact with on Mastodon.
What tools and features in Sketch do you use the most?
Gradient Fills and Gaussian Blurs — so much magic can come from those two.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to create something similar to your designs?
Start with good base shapes. If you’ve got badly drawn or ill thought out groundwork shapes for your design, no amount of layer effects or fancy gradients can fix it. So spend some extra time on shapes early, making sure that you’re happy with the canvas that you’ll be applying layers of paint to.