Sketch vs. Photoshop, all you need to know

Simon on Oct 19th, 2016

It seems almost unfair to compare Photoshop and Sketch.

Photoshop is an image editing software that was built on to add User Interface designs capabilities that were required over the years. It has many issues due to its size and memory consumption, but it is still considered the best option for many.

Sketch is the tool of the moment. It’s filling the need Adobe Fireworks left for some, and its versatility and lightweight are a nice plus.

This is a tool created for designers and if it manages to iron out its still present issues, it could be a tremendous asset in the near future.



In true Mac form, the Sketch interface is clean and simple. Very easy to use, and the fact that you can customize the toolbar is pretty amazing to us.


Hands down, Photoshop wins this one.

Photoshop has been going on for years and it is platform agnostic, so it will run everywhere. Sketch only works for Mac and from a market standpoint, riding the Apple wave can be a good thing, but they are disregarding a large population of designers thirsty for something better.

With the upcoming release of Adobe Comet, we can’t tell for sure if Sketch will ever have a corner of the market on Windows users.

Speed and Stability

Sketch has a really small footprint. It’s fast, lightweight and it doesn’t need a lot of RAM to work. However, the multiple bugs make it unstable and some designers report some unexpected behavior that can be a deal breaker for some.

As opposed to Sketch, Photoshop can be real slow, it is a memory hog and at times it does feel a bit sluggish. Having said that, it runs perfectly on Mac and Windows devices and it’s really stable.
Sketch wins on speed, but Photoshop is the clear victor when it comes to stability.

Plugins and Community

Photoshop has a lot more tools for designers but the current up rise of Sketch has created a strong fan base and there is a very large library of plugins available you can download and make Sketch work for you.

What stands out in Sketch

A Layout Grid

Unlike Photoshop, you don’t have to manually create guidelines and rely on plugins to create a barely passable grid. Sketch has a very neat built-in layout grid that you can easily tweak and even turn off easily.


This is a huge asset from when creating responsive designs. With just one press of a key (A) you can have multiples artboards ready for you to work with and it will show you the 28 most common screen icon sizes to choose from.
Features like this one is what makes Sketch feel like a tool made for UI design.


Moodboards are an excellent project resource and Sketch just makes it easier. All of your files are added into one single document, and the page drawer in the artboard sidebar makes it easy for you to navigate between all of them. This is particularly helpful on big sized projects, and it’s so easy to move back and forward to make changes to your design.
For these alone, we think Sketch is a great tool to add to your repertoires.

What web designers are saying

“Sketch isn’t a complete replacement for Photoshop or Illustrator, I find myself jumping back to both of them for various reasons. But it is undoubtedly one of the better tools I’ve used for designing interfaces that I find recommending to others. Lastly, the ideas surrounding a need for ‘aesthetic, usable interfaces’ and the general growth in UI design in recent years could also be attributed towards the success of a tool that was geared towards doing the aforementioned design task really well.” – Moaaz Sidat, Designer & Dev. Have had the pleasure of interviewing for Product Design roles.

“Because Photoshop was the wrong tool for the job. People “painted” websites with PS and then sliced and diced them into web pages. Responsive design killed PS as a web design tool. PS was a temporary diversion caused by the period of skeuomorphic design. Folks discovered how inflexible image-based design really is. …. No matter what type of interface you are designing, the flexibility and fluidity of a vector-based tool is your best friend. For a lot of folks, that’s now Sketch.” – Chris Howard

Our experience

Here is what our team says:
“Ever since Sketch first came out, Photoshop has always tried to match its competitor. With each upgrade, Photoshop has tried to match Sketch’s characteristics, like with the multiple artboards feature. But they have seem to hit their stride with the development of Comet, another tool completely dedicated to UI design.

Personally, I believe that they have been trying to understand what the best path for Photoshop would be, continue to add on more features or just try with something new, and even though I think they’ve tried, the new Adobe tool has been a complete letdown for me so far. I’ll guess we can only hope that it’s newer counterparts turn out to be better.

I believe many of us will still be using Photoshop but Sketch is coming in strong.”

Jomag Heredia, Tarful Designer.


Sketch is a great tool for designers.

It was built for designers and it does its job very nicely. However, the fact that it only works on Mac it’s a huge downside to many. There is a whole world of designers that work on other platforms and reaching them is what could make Sketch go from tool of the moment to the tool of a lifetime.

The opportunity is there. Even windows-only tools have made to jump to Mac, why can’t Sketch do that too?

Share your experience with Sketch!

In our Dribble account you will see different shots made with Sketch and Photoshop, show us some love!

We would not recommend a full jump from #Photoshop to #Sketch just yet, but it’s a must-have #UIDesign tool to have on your belt.