Sketch and Evolphin: A Match Made in Designer Heaven

Sketch and Evolphin: A Match Made in Designer Heaven

For designers, Sketch is a breath of fresh air. Unlike Photoshop or even Illustrator, Sketch was built from the ground up for digital UI and UX design. With its support for symbols and ease of use working with pixels, vector graphics and more, Sketch was made with the 21st century digital designer in mind.

One of Sketch’s most attractive features is its support for symbols. Sketch lets users create a single master file for individual symbols that, when altered, changes each appearance of that symbol. Want to change all of your toolbars or navigation menus, without having to do so manually throughout dozens of different pages? Done. Sketch also lets you embed your symbols within other symbols, so if you need to change the text on an icon that appears in multiple toolbars, for example, you’re free to do so.

Most of the attributes of your symbols can be overridden with instances. Although this isn’t always the case (you can override text, but not colors), it provides enough flexibility while retaining the ability to make changes efficiently across a wide set of pages.

But anyone familiar with Sketch probably knows that it isn’t perfect, particularly if you’re working with a large design team.

The problem stems from an inability to effectively share and sync assets securely. Until recently, there was no way to share symbols between users, or even between Sketch files. You could only copy and paste symbols from a sketch file to another. This created a problem for large organizations that needed a way to efficiently share their symbols, as it would negate the benefit of symbols to have each designer create new symbols every time they create a new screen.

To solve this problem, companies began creating their own “style guides” that contained a copy of all of their symbols in a single Sketch file. Every time a designer needed to create a new set of mocks, she would open the style guide and copy the symbols into her new file. But this creates a lot of problems. For instance, how do you easily and securely share your style guide? Google Drive and Dropbox are meet neither the security nor efficiency requirements of large corporations. Also, how do you deal with updates? Who can update the file when and how to ensure everyone is working with the most up-to-date file are questions without good answers. At best, it results in a significant waste of time, as designers try to coordinate every change they want to make, big or small. At worst, it can result in designs being submitted as final with outdated symbols.

To their credit, Sketch saw this problem and has taken steps to remedy it. And third parties such as InVision have created tools that let users collaborate on the same Sketch prototype from the cloud. It works pretty well too, at least for smaller projects. Issues arise with projects that include hundreds of screens, which typically cause decreased performance and screen failures. The InVision plugin also doesn’t allow symbols to sync across libraries. This is problematic. Most organizations want to keep separate libraries for products, but would also like to sync certain aspects, such as icons, across them. Without the ability to do so, they must recreate them for each new product library.

The final problem with the InVision plugin is that it doesn’t enable organizations to set permissions. Most companies want their designers to be able to see some libraries, but not all. Neither InVision nor Sketch’s latest patch make this possible.

Enter Evolphin Zoom

Evolphin will soon be releasing a Sketch plugin for its Zoom Media Asset Management (MAM) platform. The Zoom Sketch plugin looks and functions just like the Zoom Adobe plugin. This means that teams have access to MAM search, sync and ingestion from within Sketch. You can add assets from your co-workers quickly to your project without having to leave the app. It also lets you collaborate securely from within the MAM, so any user with Zoom can view and comment on your Sketch projects, even if they don’t have access to Sketch itself.

But perhaps the most essential feature of the Sketch plugin is its ability to convert a page into a symbol library. The symbol library can be accessed from the Zoom plugin window directly in Sketch, and automatically syncs across users. As with all Zoom integrations, the Sketch plugin is built with the enterprise in mind, and has already been stress tested by hundreds of designers working on projects of over three hundred pages. Best of all, it keeps all your assets in the MAM ecosystem, so security and regulatory compliance are never a concern.

Stay tuned for the official Sketch plugin release from Evolphin.

To learn more about Sketch, Zoom, or all things MAM-related, contact Evolphin today.

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