Sketch is a versatile vector graphics-based UX design tool for building interactive web and mobile layouts. Sketch users can design layouts optimized for device screens of any size and effortlessly add complex interactive elements to their web designs using Sketch’s symbols tool. If you feel Sketch may be too big a challenge, this guide will help you understand the best methods for learning Sketch and what you should study first to make the process easier. This way, you’ll be successful however you choose to apply your new skills.
What is Sketch?
Sketch is a design tool for creating user interface (UI) layouts for webpages and mobile applications. Sketch is a vector-graphics design program, meaning that the assets created can be modified and resized for optimal performance on screens of any size. Sketch’s significant features include its easy customization tools, digital collaboration tools, and, most importantly, Sketch symbols. Sketch symbols let users create reusable design elements that can be modified individually, allowing users to build layout assets like buttons and drop-down menus, which all look the same but function differently as the design demands. Advanced Sketch users can use the built-in tools to make even more complex, interactive symbols to optimize their workflow and the functionality of their design.
Sketch originated on the macOS app store and is only available on machines that run off macOS. Therefore, the program can be slightly limiting but is built with the specific functionalities of this operating system in mind. Sketch has features common to almost all macOS native programs, such as touch bar support, Retina and non-Retina displays, and native font rendering. These features allow macOS device users to learn Sketch more efficiently and quickly pick up advanced skills. Web designers can also create layouts designed to operate on devices like next-generation iPhones. The functionalities of Sketch designs won’t be limited to these devices, but the program gives users the tools to optimize their layouts for specific platforms.
In recent updates, Sketch has added new features to make collaboration and prototyping easier for teams of users. Sketch lets designers work together to build clickable prototypes of their webpages that designers can distribute for testing and iteration, a crucial feature of any user-interface design software. And Sketch is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its users.
Read more about what Sketch is and why you should learn it.
What Can You Do with Sketch?
Sketch allows web designers to create layouts for webpages and mobile applications. Users can create vibrant, interactive webpage models for testing and development using text, images, graphic designs, and artboards. Because Sketch is a vector graphics illustration tool, these designs are easily reusable and scalable. They can be optimized to work on any-sized screen and used in multiple contexts in any design layout. Sketch also recently added advanced features for collaboration and prototyping, allowing team members to work together more efficiently to build model user interfaces.
Sketch’s most unique features are symbols and reusable digital interface assets that can be replicated across multiple pages. Sketch lets users define symbol characteristics to repurpose them as the design warrants. In addition, users can manually override the function of individual symbols, letting users give each asset a different interactive functionality without having to start from scratch. More advanced users can build complicated, multi-purpose symbols that make designing interfaces a breeze.
Sketch also has a robust community of designers and developers who are constantly building new adds-on and templates for Sketch. Users who learn Sketch can take advantage of these resources to make working with the program more straightforward and efficient. Since this community is so active, new resources are available daily.
Is Sketch Easy to Learn?
Sketch is a user-friendly program, and new users should be able to pick up the fundamentals quickly. A few hours of tutorials should prepare users for experimenting with the design tools available. However, the more advanced features of Sketch, particularly the ones that set it apart from its competitors, might take students a bit longer to learn. There will always be more room for improvement and training for students dedicated to learning Sketch.
What to Know Before Learning Sketch
While Sketch has no formal prerequisites, it does have a technical prerequisite and a few general skills that users should be familiar with as they get started. Users must first ensure that their device can run Sketch, since it is native to the macOS platform. Additionally, students may wish to brush up on the basic philosophies of UX and graphic design so they can make informed decisions when designing webpages.
Since its release in 2010, Sketch has been exclusive to macOS machines, having been available only on the Apple App Store for much of its development life. So, anyone hoping to learn Sketch must have access to a macOS device. The program is not incredibly system intensive, but you must have macOS Big Sur.
User Experience Training
Aspiring Sketch users may benefit from cursory UX design training before experimenting too deeply with the program. Sketch is a powerful design tool, but it doesn’t provide much benefit if a user doesn’t understand how they should design a webpage's functionality.
Graphic Design Training
In addition to UX design knowledge, it will also benefit Sketch users to gain background knowledge in graphic design. Knowing how to use colors, typography, and graphics to communicate a message quickly is a vital part of web design. Sketch users will greatly benefit from learning how to use these tools before experimenting with the program.
Sketch is a versatile, easy-to-use graphic design tool. While the advanced features may require more training to take advantage of fully, new users should be able to start using Sketch to experiment with web layout design with only a few hours of training.
While there are no formal prerequisites to learning how to use Sketch, it is only available on machines running macOS Big Sur, so users should be familiar with their devices before attempting to learn Sketch.
New Sketch users may wish to brush up on UX design theories to help them build better webpages. Sketch can help creatives make effective webpages, but users would benefit from training to help them make informed design decisions.
Similarly, since Sketch is a graphic design tool, knowledge of the fundamentals of graphic design, i.e., color theory or philosophies of composition, can help students ensure that their webpage layouts communicate the messages they wish to convey.
Regardless of the training you seek, Noble Desktop has Sketch training options that can help you master the program and its prerequisites.
Learn Sketch with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop
Students looking to master Sketch may wish to consider any Sketch classes and bootcamps offered through Noble Desktop. These classes, which range from short seminars offering students a basic understanding of Sketch to in-depth career skills training courses, give students the tools they need to use Sketch in their personal and professional lives. These courses are available in person at Noble’s Manhattan campus or live online from anywhere in the United States. Courses are taught by experts with whom students can interface directly, and class sizes are kept small, even online. So, students can ask questions and receive timely, personalized feedback on their work. Plus, courses include a one-year free retake option. Students can repeat the course to review a lesson that gave them trouble, attend a seminar they missed, or just get more hands-on practice with Sketch.
Students seeking in-depth training in Sketch should consider Noble’s Sketch Bootcamp. This intensive skills training course teaches students to use the basic and advanced features of Sketch, such as its layout design tools, interactive elements, and prototyping capabilities. Students get hands-on instruction in building web layouts using text, shapes, and images, all built with Sketch’s vector graphics illustration tools. They then learn how to optimize those illustrations for web and mobile viewing, including Hi-res and Retina displays. Finally, students receive hands-on training in using Sketch symbols, including how to override symbol functions to make them work differently and how to alter their functions universally after they have been implemented.
Noble also offers Sketch training as part of its immersive, career-focused UX & UI Design Certificate program. This course is designed to help aspiring Web and user experience (UX) Designers receive comprehensive career training and mentorship. Students learn to use an array of design tools, including Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD, and receive hands-on training by working through practical exercises that reflect the work they will do professionally. Students also learn the best practices of UX design and how to best conduct user research and analysis. By the end of the course, students get the opportunity to have one-on-one career mentorship discussions with trained experts in the field of UX/UI design, and they will have built a sample design portfolio to take with them into the job market.