Sketch v.s. Photoshop


September 19, 2017

Sketch .vs. Photoshop. Which one to pick? Ultimately we concluded that Sketch is best suited for designing website projects, and Photoshop remains the best photo editor due to being specifically designed for this purpose.

I discovered Photoshop on an old Macintosh LCII in the loft of my grade 11 art class in the late 90’s. The teacher didn’t know how to use it so I decided to teach myself. After learning a few basics I was pretty excited. Being able to add layers to my my designs and blend them together opened up a whole new creative dimension to art and design for me. I’ve been a long time user, fan and hater, off and on for 20 years.

Times keep on changing

I started designing websites in photoshop in 2002 when websites were built using tables to construct the design in basic HTML. It was the dark ages of interaction. We’ve come along way and so has photoshop, but there were some issues that quickly became more and more of a concern a few years ago. With the rise of mobile and retina, a big one was scaling designs across multiple screen sizes and resolutions.

We are creatures of habit

About this time Sketch came along. At first I was very resistant. Adrian Gyuricska here at Lift was keen to switch but I sat on the fence for about a year. I could tell there would be some huge time savers but couldn’t mentally break away from the familiarity and patterns of Photoshop. Another big issue was how unstable Sketch was. As they continued to improve it, I slowly warmed up to it. I decided to give it shot and committed to try one project from start to finish and by the end I loved it. Within a few months going back and opening up Photoshop felt like firing up an old sluggish beast.

Some of the biggest reasons we love Sketch

Shared styles and symbols

  • You can easily create shared graphic styles for colours and shapes

  • Shared type styles are simple and easy to use

  • Symbol library allows for shared parts of the design

One workflow for wireframes and design and dev (this is a big one)

  • Being able to take your wireframes into design without switching programs saves a ton of time.

  • It’s a lighter, cheaper program that has more development tools for pass off to front-end

  • It doesn’t make sense to license Photoshop for a front-end developer just to export a few files

Vector based design

  • Retina is the standard for mobile (and is becoming more and more common on desktop), so the vector based design of Sketch makes the most sense and scales the fastest


  • Exporting multiple layers as different file types at different sizes is extremely useful


  • The list is always growing!

  • One we use daily is Craft. It syncs to Invision (which we use to present wireframes and designs and to do some basic prototyping) so this is an added plus

Use your tools for the job they were created for

So is Sketch better than Photoshop? Depends what you’re using it for. For us here at Lift, Sketch is the best tool we can find for designing websites. Photoshop? It’s still the best photo editor— because that’s what it was designed for.