I’ve not long since made the leap from Adobe XD/Photoshop to Sketch App (best thing I’ve ever done) and I’ve just experimented with Sketch’s possibilities and plugins. Here are the top 10 from my point of view that I think can really make a difference to UI and UX work and make it much more efficient.
Craft by Invision (Free. Need an account with InVision)
This plugin helps integrate InVision within Sketch with a click of a button.
Gone are the days of having to export artboards, compress them, and upload to Invision one by one. Simply link your Invision account through craft when you start, then once you’re ready simply click the ‘sync’ button in Sketch, choose the invision project you’d like it to export to – and away you go!
Craft also has lots of handy additional features too such as:
- Repeat grid: Simply click one button, specify how many repetitions you’d like, along with padding and you can repeat your grid layout quickly and easily.
- iStock/Getty Image: Link your accounts, find images and place them on your artboard all from within Sketch.
- Content: Built in placeholder text and imagery to populate your artboard.
Zeplin (Free trial, then Paid subscription)
Zeplin is the link between great design and great front-end development. This is the software to ensure standards are met and quality is assured, although this is a paid subscription service it couldn’t be any more worth it.
When you’re ready to move your designs into development, use the Zeplin plugin to export your artboards to a developer friendly link, where they can view measurements, export assets, view style sheets and even export CSS and HTML code right from your designs.
Developers won’t need sketch installed on their machines and will no longer need access to software such as Photoshop to measure and crop assets and visuals!
This free Mac app can be used to compress any large image file to a much smaller file without using quality, and i can’t recommend it enough!
ImageOptim also offers a free sketch plugin which basically runs the exported graphics from sketch through the app automatically, meaning whatever you export from Sketch is already compressed before you share with others.
ImageOptim compresses the formats JPG, PNG and GIF.
The clue is in the name for this one: generate content within Sketch from this plugin.
Creating a module for profiles on your design? Use this plugin to quickly populate the profile photos, names, emails, phone numbers and locations with just a click.
Creating a module for Events or Shows? Quickly populate them with dates, times, and placeholder text with this plug-in.
This plug-in alone will make working as a UI/UX designer massively efficient!
Midnight Theme (Free trial , then $8 to buy)
If you’re someone like me who just loves dark interfaces, this plugin is a great customisable theme for Sketch. For just $8 you can turn the software into a warm dark theme (slightly grey) or truly dark theme (fully black), to allow your design to stand out, with cool vibrant icons and text for your tools and elements.
Midnight theme doesn’t only offer dark themes though, for those who prefer light themes, Midnight also offers a super-light theme that makes the interface bright enough to see when working in direct sunlight.
Rename It (Free)
Although it sounds simple, this is one of the most handiest plugins available, and something that software like Sketch should really have as a standard.
Tired of having to go to each artboard and having to rename each one individually? What about layers or groups? This plugin makes renaming faster and more consistent. Use this plugin to rename multiple groups, layers or artboards all at once.
I’m still playing around with these myself yet, but from what i have seen so far these are a great bit of kit for demonstrating effects to not only clients, but also developers. Both of these plugins do the same thing, however the Timeline plugin by Anima is part of the AnimaToolkit plugin which for me makes managing my plugins easier!
In these plugins you have two options:
A) Animation: Simple keyframe animations that play automatically, with the ability to export as Code, GIF or Movie files.
B) Interaction (beta): Clickable interactive animtations, great to show examples of CTA rollovers and interactive elements.
For those who haven’t come across it yet, Unsplash is a website for fantastic imagery uploaded by the community that is Licence-free for Personal and Commercial use. If you don’t already use this as a designer, you definitely should.
This plugin is similar to ContentGenerator, if you’re looking to quickly populate imagery within your designs, click this plugin and you will be prompted to enter a search term, hit enter and your visual will be populated with random images under the search term from the Unsplash library.
Anima Toolkit (3 Plugins in one): Launchpad, Timeline, AutoLayout. (Free with upgrade subscription options)
Autolayout: Tired of having to create multiple artboards at different break-points to demonstrate to developers how the website is designed responsively? With this plugin you can pin elements to areas of the artboard, so when you resize the canvas it demonstrates (live) how the page should work responsively. Ground breaking!
Launchpad: Export responsive websites directly from Sketch. No need to code.
Simply design and get your HTML & CSS ready to publish. You can publish your website live, with options to upgrade to remove logos and ads.
Timeline: Similar to the AnimateMate plugin, create simple animations and transitions right from within Sketch. Share your animations and transitions with developers and websites like CodePen with the click of a button.
Find & Replace (Free)
Lastly, something that I find incredibly useful as a victim of poor grammar and spelling mistakes!
The clue is in the name for this one: find text and replace it, really helpful when you have multiple artboards and layers and need to reword/rename text that applies across them all.
There are rumours online i’ve come accross, stating that they are looking to expand on this plugin to add additional find and replace features such as Colours, Font Styles and more, so look out for that!