There’s no doubt that 2019 has been one of the biggest years in Sketch’s history — from announcing our first funding round, to launching the Sketch for Teams public beta it’s been an exciting 12 months. But we’re even more excited for what lies ahead. Before we show you a few sneak previews, though, we thought we’d reflect on this year’s highlights.

Back in March, we announced our first capital raise since Sketch began almost ten years ago. In our Series A round, we took $20 million in funding from Benchmark to help us grow and focus on areas where we knew we could make a bigger difference to the design process — like Collaboration.

Taking funding wasn’t just about raising capital, though. With a portfolio that includes the likes of Elastic, Twitter, Uber and Zendesk, Benchmark have become an incredible partner — helping us bring on COO Matt Langdon and scale up our operations across the whole company.

And of course, this wasn’t the only big announcement we made. It was also the perfect time to share that we’d passed one million paying customers — a huge milestone for us and one that inspires us to continue our mission to help designers do their best work, every day.

In July, we launched the Sketch for Teams public beta and the response has been amazing. We’ve had more than 5,000 teams sign up — and the feedback we’ve received has helped us shape the future of the product and make improvements.

Since the public beta launch, we’ve introduced Mentions and Projects, as well as better Cloud documents and Cloud Libraries support in the Mac app. And we’re not done yet. Sketch for Teams paves the way for greater collaboration across organizations, bringing the right people into the design process at the right time, and we can’t wait to share what’s next with you.

While Sketch for Teams might have been our headline launch for 2019, we’ve still been working hard across the whole platform. On the Mac app, we launched a whole host of new features and improvements. Here are some of the highlights:

Smart Distribute

Smart Distribute

Powerful controls that make it easier than ever to create and manage complex layouts.

Variable Fonts Support

Variable Fonts Support

And better support for OpenType features, for more control and flexibility over typography in your designs.

Components Panel

Components Panel

A new way to organize and use Symbols, text and layer styles.

Smart Layout

Smart Layout

The first native solution for flexible components in a design tool.

In 2020, we’ll kick off the year with some important improvements to the Components Panel and Popover based on your feedback. Then we’ve got something big coming. More on that later.

Our Sketch Ambassadors continue to amaze us with their dedication, commitment and support to hosting fantastic events around the world that bring local design communities together. There are now over 100 Sketch Communities, spanning almost every continent and collectively, in 2019, they hosted 216 events across 35 countries. We couldn’t be more proud to support them.

If you haven’t already, head over to sketch.com/community to find your nearest local group or event. This year alone, new communities launched in Croatia, Pakistan and Japan, just to name a few. And if there’s no community nearby, why not apply to become an ambassador and start one? We’d love to have you on board.

As we’re already well underway with our big projects for 2020, with Sketch 61 we took the time to take a step back, address some bugs and ship a handful of small but significant improvements.

There’s no headline feature in this release, but there are plenty of small updates that should add up to a better all-round experience, including:

  • A performance boost, particularly when it comes to navigating large documents
  • More helpful error messages for Cloud document downloads (and some fixes so they show up less often)
  • The option to copy a Cloud link by right-clicking on a thumbnail in the Documents window
  • And plenty of smaller, but equally important bug fixes.

Sketch 61 is available right now. Head to sketch.com/updates to read the full release notes.

2019 has been an incredible year for us, but with 2020 just around the corner, it’s time to look ahead to what’s next. Over the past year we’ve said hello to 46 new team members in almost every department, and with so much new talent behind Sketch, we’re ready to ship some incredible updates.

With so many exciting plans for 2020, we decided to take just a handful of the things we’re most looking forward to and share them with you in this short film:

We’re very excited about our plans for the coming year, and we can’t wait to share more with you. In the meantime, from all of us at Sketch, we hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday season. We’ll see you in the new year.


A designers view: Part 2.

Simon Fairhurst

After the success of my previous article, reaching over 25,000 reads and shares, I wanted to do a revision on comparing these two tools.

For those that didnt read my last article you can find it here:

Okay, so basically as expected, after continuous updates of Adobe XD I take back everything I said against it, and here’s why.

Now, although this article leans more towards Adobe XD, all opinions of UI/UX software generally comes down to personal preference, I mean, let’s be honest – they all pretty much do the same thing, right? Plus, most of them can communicate with each other these days too.

Anyway, let’s get started on comparing Sketch and Adobe XD.

Sketch has been around now for years. I remember being told 8 years ago by fellow designers to stop using photoshop and use Sketch because ‘everyone uses it’.

It took a while before I took the leap, and don’t get me wrong, I’m totally glad that I did, but the more I started experimenting with Sketch and other tools, the more issues I have found with it.


Plug-ins are great when it comes to tools that can make your day more efficient, but how much more efficient is it if the plugins are continuously breaking, updating, or crashing the software? UI Faces, Lorem Ipsum inputs, Unsplash image populating… all sound great, but when you‘re designing an e-commerce platform that’s 60 artboards, alongside mobile designs, symbols and styles, they don’t seem to work as efficiently as you think. Numerous times I’ve opened a sketch file ready to crack on with a deadline, only to find that plugins have corrupted, or need updating for 10 minutes before I can even start, and at least 30% of the time crashing Sketch entirely.

Now I know most plugins are 3rd party developed which is always unreliable, so we can’t really blame Sketch as such for this.

But all this said, plugins are everything to Sketch users from what I’ve gathered at events and talks with other UI and UX designers. Without plugins, Sketch is simply just a basic, vector format, design tool like any other.


As mentioned above, Sketch hasn’t been very efficient for myself or my design team of 6 who tested this alongside me. Working on large platforms it’s been great to be able to house everything in one file to share between designers, and the symbols are extremely handy when your entire project relies on module re-use, but the software is forever crashing!

Now I know you’re probably sat there reading this thinking “that’s just your machine not the software” – just to clarify, myself and all of my designers currently work on brand new 15” MacBook Pro’s – we’re definitely not lacking in equipment.

Not only does this software crash a lot, it also corrupts quite a bit too. Multiple times now we’ve packaged up a sketch file to send between each other, only to open it on another machine and the symbols be corrupted or the font styles disappearing. Not fantastic when you’re under pressure for a big deadline and need to work with another designer.


Overall sketch feels like it’s very bulky, almost becoming as bulky as photoshop did after a long time of adobe adding more and more to it. When designing a website more than 5 pages it begins to lag massively. Even when compressing imagery and assets prior to importing them, it’s still not great to work on when you’re on a tight deadline. Due to this tool becoming bulky and laggy it also feels like the UI of the software is also becoming more and more overwhelming to use — there are so many options and functions crowding my canvas i barely have enough space to design!

I can’t help but feel that Sketch is going down that same route as Photoshop, and eventually they’ll hit a point where no one wants to use their laggy slow software anymore and wants to jump to the next big thing.


If you’re the type of designer who works with templates and modules and wants to quickly create webpages that look the same, by all means Sketch is for you: symbols, font styles, plugins like Abstract… are fantastic for efficiency. But if you’re the type of designer who wants to push the limits of design, create truly immersive experiences and build something unique, Sketch just doesn’t do this in my opinion.

No matter how many updates there are, I still get the feeling that this software has become dated, bulky and a chore to use, compared to others out there.

Maybe Sketch has overstayed it’s welcome in the Experience Design world? I don’t know, personally I just don’t like using it, and neither did my peers.

This software is still pretty much brand new, and it excites the crap out of me!

I know that I said in my last article that it’s very basic based on the BETA version, but the updates and improvements that I’ve received over the past 3–4 months have really turned this around for me and I genuinely think it’s up there with the best tool for UI/UX work alongside the likes of Figma.


I can honestly state, that this software has not once crashed on me nor the other 6 designers that use it alongside me, after using it for approximately 12 months. No matter what size images I put in there, no matter how many art boards or symbols/components, it’s honestly been truly reliable.

Adobe have recently introduced third party plugins too, just like Sketch, and it seems no matter how many plugins you add, the software maintains its reliability. No lag, no crashes – seamless. I’ve still yet to experience any of these corrupting too!

Sharing documents is also minimal effort, they’re (somehow) compressed so the file sizes aren’t ridiculously huge, and when opening on other people’s machines there’s never any corrupting of symbols or fonts or art boards, making it massively efficient to handover to someone else on your team in an instant. Symbols/components even link to your previous documents on the cloud (somehow) so even if you don’t have the original designs on your machine it still displays it exactly how it should be instead of a “missing link” thumbnail or prompt.

Adobe XD — Clean and simple software UI design and layout


The layout of Adobe XD just feels massively intuitive to me. Adobe have successfully cut out all of the bulls*** and stuck to basics – the way I as a designer, love it. There’s nothing spectacular or unique about the interface, just the tools you need, when you need them.

The speed that the software processes things is incredible, and has a massive drive for efficiency, there’s absolutely no lag when using it – how Adobe have managed this, I’ve no idea, but it’s fantastic as a designer to work on something that feels so solid.

It’s incredibly simple – dragging a photo into a shape in XD quickly makes a mask for you. Dropping in an SVG icon instantly converts it to an editable vector shape that you can play with straight away, resizing modules is done responsively so you don’t have to fiddle with the layers… these are the simple things that make your life as a designer so much easier, and you don’t realise just how incredible these things are, until you experience this with XD.



Just saying “auto-animate” gives me goosebumps as a UI designer. I want to show a CTA roll over, I want to demonstrate to a client which direction a carousel should scroll, I want to present an experience not just a flat graphic. It all adds to the selling of an idea, the up sell of an experience over just a design, the push for more budget to really do something cool.

Before Adobe XD, we struggled for time and budget to create motion video to demonstrate these ideas using software such as After FX and Premier Pro, and for me, 50% of the time that impacted the effect that the concept had on the client for buying into the experience. Now, we don’t have to worry about the time to create videos, because it’s just so ridiculously simple to do in Adobe XD.

Within XD you can even screen record your prototype auto-animations, exporting a short video to demonstrate these animations. Useful for both client presentations and hand overs to development to build!

I won’t bore you with a step by step guide specifics on how to do the auto-animate, this article isn’t a tutorial, but it’s so simple and effective you will kick yourself if you don’t try it.

Simple, custom, animations and transitions, that help you sell the dream. By far the best feature. No plug ins required. Well done Adobe.


I used to absolutely HATE having to export visuals from photoshop/sketch to upload them to Invision, and do the same every time there was a slight amendment. And before you ask, Yes, i did use the “Craft” plugin for a short while, but this alone had many of its own issues: art boards not appearing, things accidentally being overwritten, comments going missing from Invision when you replace an art board, artboards being duplicated…etc what a loads of hassle! On top of this, I also used to use the app ‘Overflow’ for pretty much every client, which is essentially a glorified user journey diagram.

With Adobe XD you don’t have to worry about any of this, it’s all built into the same software. You can rapidly switch between “Design” and “Prototype” whenever you like. Got a quick text change? Make it and publish it within seconds, no exporting visuals. No exporting and replacing, so no duplicates are made. When you’re linking it all up under the “prototype” tab, you see all of the user journeys right there in front of you, no need for another piece of software to demonstrate this.

And the best part (in my opinion) about all of this, is when you export a prototype link that opens in a browser for your client, it’s all displayed as vector format, meaning everything is super high-resolution, making your work look 10 times better than it ever did as a pixelated JPG export on InVison.

There are still downsides to this which I’m hoping Adobe rectify in upcoming updates.

  • Storing prototype links is an issue. With Invision it’s easy, you login, and all of your prototypes are there in one place. with Adobe however the links seem to be nested within multiple pages of your adobe account, and can be difficult to find when you’re in a rush. Majority of the time, it easier to find the core XD file, open it up, and export the link again.
  • Commenting on prototypes – I as a designer, don’t like this in general. I personally think it’s great when working with internal teams to comment on sections as you discuss them, but from a client to designer perspective I think it’s poor communication and client management. It’s hard to keep track of what the amends are, it’s easy for the client to scope creep under the Account manager/Project managers nose, and there’s always risk of losing comments when updating visuals, meaning you’ve no backup document to rely on in future (if there’s any circumstance you’d ever have to). But this is a broader issue across multiple prototyping tools like InVision in my opinion.

Development Hand Over

The first time I used Zeplin as a plug-in for Sketch I was amazed. No longer would I have to export all assets for development, no longer would I have to explain every decision on padding and font sizes and alignment, I simply drag my sketch file into Zeplin, and invite the developer to it, everything they need is there.

Adobe have (thankfully) incorporated the best parts of Zeplin, into their software. No need to export from XD, no need to drag the file anywhere to generate the link. Simply click “share” in the top right, and “Share for Development” from the dropdown. A quick URL is generated and away you go. Once again, this is built into the software, so cut out the monthly fee of Zeplin and do yourself a favour.


Adobe XD is dope. It’s fast, it’s reliable, it’s efficient, it’s intelligent, and it’s bloody free! That, I can’t wrap my head around, something THIS useful, owned by Adobe, is FREE. Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Thanks for reading. If you want to hit me up on social, feel free to!

Twitter: @ siimonfairhurst

Instagram: @ siimonfairhurst

  1. Work better, together

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    leave comments, and see every design iteration with built-in, automatic versioning.

  2. One Seamless Experience

    Automatically save documents to Sketch Cloud and share them with your team. You can even view, manage and
    open Cloud documents from right inside the Mac app.

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    upload designs. Better still, you can manage it all easily from a simple, central dashboard.

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    roll back and pick up where you left off.

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    Add new team members, edit their roles and keep on top of billing from a single, simple admin dashboard.
    Managing your team with Sketch has never been easier.

Coming Soon

We’re just getting started with Sketch for Teams. Here’s what’s coming next:

  • Launch Sketch for Teams Public Beta
  • Use mentions to keep everyone in the loop
  • Organize your documents with Projects
  • Download production ready assets from Cloud
  • Hand off design files with Cloud Inspector
  • Integrate with your favorite tools and services via the Cloud API
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Per Contributor

Billed monthly

  • Unlimited Viewers
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Join the Beta

Includes a fully-featured, 90-day free trial.

  • How much does Sketch for Teams cost?

    When you sign up for Sketch for Teams you’ll get a 90 day free trial — so you’ll have plenty of time to test out the new teams features, without having to pay. Very soon we’ll be adding a license exchange feature that will allow you to convert your existing Sketch license(s) into credit towards your team account.

  • How does the Sketch for Teams public beta work?

    The Sketch for Teams public beta is open to any team. To join, simply sign up and choose a billing plan. We’ll add more features to the beta over time, and we’ll of course welcome any feedback you have! This is a paid beta, but every Sketch for Teams account includes a fully-featured, 90-day free trial.

  • Will Sketch for Teams replace volume licensing?

    We know there are lots of reasons why a team need to stick with volume licensing over Sketch for Teams. Right now, you’ll still be able to buy and renew volume licenses as normal, but we’ll contact volume license holders if this changes in the future.

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    If you join Sketch for Teams as a contributor, you’ll get access to the Mac app (along with regular updates) as part of your team’s subscription. In other words, no more license keys!

  • Does Sketch for Teams include live document collaboration?

    The initial public beta does not include live document collaboration. This is in development right now and we’re working hard to get it right. We’ll have more information and a release date for this later in the year.

  • Will Sketch for Teams replace Sketch Cloud?

    No. If you’re not part of a team, you’ll still be able to make the most of Sketch Cloud with a few added benefits, such as versioning and the ability to store all of your Sketch documents on Sketch by default.

  • Will I be able to use Sketch in the web browser with this beta?

    In the near future, we’ll be bringing some aspects of Sketch to the browser, like developer handoff. As for real-time, collaborative editing, our aim is to bring this to the Mac app later this year.