Of the many UX/UI design products available these days, Sketch has retained its place as one of the most popular tools. It is well designed and multifaceted, but it also hosts a large community of contributors whose engagement helps bolster the product’s quality and efficacy. Thanks to its prominence in the design sphere, it is possible to find an answer to nearly any question one may have about Sketch across the hundreds of online tutorials, blogs, and articles available on the topic. This even includes some of the most challenging issues users have encountered.
Sketch developers listen to their community, too, soliciting and monitoring feedback, which allows them to address any deficiencies and improve their product. The platform also sports a significant team effort of software professionals who create a lot of specialized Sketch-specific plugins of both the free and the paid varieties. These apps allow the already powerful Sketch application to stretch its capabilities even more broadly.
But with so many plugins, how does one know what the best available option is? We have compiled a list of the 14 best plugins for UI/UX designers and will share them here.
Sketch’s Best Features
Sketch already comes equipped with some fantastic features. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the artboards used to limit the area and view of UI/UX designs and connect them. Three clicks are all it takes to export your artboard to wherever you need to use it. The library is stocked with handy functions, some native to iOS and Android controls. Tons of time is saved when all you need to do is drag and place elements right onto the dashboard and customize them for any subsequent reuses.
Hundreds of plugins are already available in the giant repository, allowing UI/UX designers access to tons of valuable features in seconds. Even better, the extensions list only grows on a nearly daily basis, allowing for more choices to apply to everyone’s needs more impactfully. This is particularly important if your field relies on application development, UI/UX design, responsive web design, or prototyping.
Out of these hundreds of plugins, what are some of the most useful, and which are hidden gems that developers need to know about? Let’s talk about 14 of them.
Sketch Measure Tool allows for an optimally collaborative process, allowing users to quickly and easily share information among team members, developers, and project managers. The tool also properly measures defined elements and permits exports into HTML/CSS.
If you need to generate dummy information like text strings, icons, geo-data, avatars, and more to your designed page, the Content Generator is your go-to extension. This extension auto-populates various fields, generates different items randomly, automatically downloads selected elements from open-source repositories, and features several options for icons indicating required fields.
According to UI/UX design agency Clay.Global, designers must supply developers with pertinent data, including information like dimension, scope, spacing of elements, text formats, and the entire layout of the project in a preemptive mockup. Marketch allows for verification of layout parameters, auto-generation of an HTML page, CSS styles copying, unit conversion, and slicing and dynamic annotation.
Any designer not leveraging prototypes is designing wrong. But various aspects of prototyping can take work to seek out. Luckily, Mockplus affords designers advanced prototyping features with notes and collaborative communication features. It even allows Sketch designs to be exported to MP files.
In the UI/UX design business, you are likely familiar with InVision LABS to some degree, as it is a leading digital design platform from InVision. But did you know that Craft is a toolset by the same creators which serves as one of Sketch’s most effective plugins? Using Craft, Sketch designers can download project data from the web, generate dynamic prototypes, cloud storage for project assets, sync prototypes between Sketch and InVision, duplicate UI elements, and use the Freehand tool, which permits real-time collaboration.
With all of these great plugins available for Sketch, one might find the need to manage them all. Enter Sketch Toolbox, the plugin management solution. Its capabilities are immediately apparent upon installation. Designers can browse, find, access, and install numerous Sketch plugins with ease, manage how they are stored, customize them to their liking, and even receive automatic updates when they become available for the included extensions.
Since there is typically much manual work involved in sharing resources with developers, why not automate the process with the indispensable Android Asset tool. Not only is the device capable of exporting the projects into a variety of platform-friendly formats (iOS, Windows Phone, Android), it exports the background patterns and graphic elements automatically.
As its name implies, Looper is a plugin that allows repetition, namely of automatically generated patterns. But it’s so much more than just a repeating instrument, and it also can rotate, set opacity, scale, and ease the burden of performing duplicate tasks. You can rely on its capabilities to create illustrations and patterns using existing objects.
Any Sketch project involves using copied and pasted versions of existing mockups or designing styles from scratch. Both of these processes are time and effort-intensive when done manually. Luckily, the Style Inventory plugin is specifically developed to address this issue. It allows for styles to be stored and renewed and quickly added to existing projects. It has an intuitive interface and can import colors, text, and style laters automatically.
If you have a lot of content, you need to manage it to keep things in order and keep your sanity intact. The Compo plugin allows a quick way to define the content types and sections accessible through easily generatable buttons (as simple as one-click). It will enable users to resize and reposition display elements to customize for convenience easily.
Overall, Compo excels in performance against similar tools like Dynamic Button. One example of this is when we consider changing the text size or content inside a button. Most plugins do not account that the button size will need to be resized to fully and legibly display the updated text. Compo, however, dynamically applies changes to the buttons as necessary to account for proper resizing.
One of the trickiest aspects of design is the creation of mockups, especially when applying distortions and perspective transformations to the design’s layout. Most designers end up accomplishing this by using the combination of Sketch and Photoshop, but Magic Mirror alleviates the need for this by adding the necessary functions right to Sketch. This handy plugin no longer requires using Sketch in tandem with another expensive application to accomplish perspective transformations.
Tools that assist in a team’s collaborative efforts are at the top of the list for increased result efficiency. Simply delivers a solution for that exact need. This full-stack platform aims to optimize workflow by bolstering the ability of design team members to communicate through comments, mentions, and annotations on all of the project’s components. This plugin automates the delivery of assets from designers to other team members and stays current with control and track versions.
Another complication that many designers encounter is synchronization. By storing all relevant and significant data, Sync Sketch allows all team members to stay on top of the latest and most important changes related to the project. Some of the prominent features include storage of color palettes, text, layer styles to Google Sheets, and easy sharing of relevant data among team members.
Your design may look flawless, and it may be just that, but to be sure, it is always helpful to preview the final product in a browser. The plugin can render a preview of the artboard in a browser with the ability to scroll through the entire project to get a good sense of what it would look like to the user, adapt to the specific DPI, and automatically adjust the layout.
Perhaps Sketch isn’t an all-powerful, trendy, mainstream app hotly discussed among professional designers, but it is a simple, capable, and precise UI/UX design tool. But when factoring in all of the helpful plugins, the conversation shifts. The best part is that the extensions are constantly updating, and new ones are getting added, vastly expanding Sketch’s already respectable capabilities.
Professionals need to use the best instruments available to accomplish their work quickly and efficiently. If you are a Sketch user, check out all or any recommended plugins. We bet it will significantly improve your experience with the platform and boost your productivity and standing as a designer.