Sketch has a solid ecosystem of plugins and resources that enables an efficient design workflow and therefore better design techniques.

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This article focuses on the most essential Sketch plugins, where and how you can get them and how to make the most of them. If your are not familiar with the professional digital design toolkit Sketch, you should definitely give it a try and see how it works. You can also download the free trial to explore the plugins and tools mentioned below.

Using plugins is one way in getting more done in less time.

Manage your workflow with the Sketch Runner plugin: The Sketch Runner plugin helps you to speed up your workflow by giving you an intuitive command line interface to run everything and jump anywhere directly from your keyboard within Sketch. You can also insert, apply and create symbols and styles as well as install plugins. Again, all directly from your keyboard. No more use of the Sketch menu. The installation is easy and so is the use of the command interface, in particular the search is really clever and descriptive. To date there is a Sketch Runner v0.9.8 beta download available, but updates of the plugin will keep coming progressively.

With the all-in-one Craft plugin from the fantastic folks at InVision you can build hi-fi prototypes with your real design files in Sketch, collaborate on flow charts and visual designs, and the like with InVision Freehand or generate dynamic content on the job. Craft also uses the Craft Manager, where you can activate, deactivate, and update all plugins directly. And did I mention that I love sketching out task flows together with my dev team in InVision Freehand?

Version management of Sketch files with Abstract: Abstract is the Git for designers. It stores Sketch files in one repository and shares them across the team. And it is really safe for your Sketch files and libraries with its underlying single source of truth concept: Abstract allows multiple designers to work on the same file without fear of changes being overwritten. Therefore, designers can branch from one master file and merge their changes of the branch to the master file when approved. But designers can also post and review feedback in context, check for design specifications such as typefaces, colors, distances etc. and review requests.

Alternatively, Versions by Sympli does the job as well, although it is also integrated with Atlassian Jira, allowing you to link Jira tasks to designs tracked in Versions. Also the visual design difference comparison through a visual highlighting of changes between design versions looks very promising.

Responsive Designs with the Anima Auto Layout plugin: Sketch artboards have to be setup for multiple devices and resolutions. Applying resizing constraints to layers helps you to determine how these layers and their contents should behave when resized. The concept of resizing constraints in Sketch are fabulous, but it is still fairly basic though and sometimes quite buggy considering margins and borders. With the all amazing Auto Layout plugin for Sketch you can design responsive screens in Sketch and adapt your contents for web, Android, iOS and all other screen sizes on the fly (and at once). Setting up Auto Layout is fairly easy and the interface quite intuitive for defining constraints and generating an overview of your design on all screen sizes.

File optimization with Reduce: The great folks of Flawless App build an elegant macOS app to compress heavy Sketch files to a light one in an instant. It is free of charge and very intuitive in use.

Prototyping is an essential part of the digital design process. There are many web design tools of prototyping around. With Sketch itself you can draw relationships between objects on your artboards and pages to simulate your users´ journeys as they navigate. But it is limited with regards to animations and flexibility through code. This is where Framer comes into game: if you love to code, you won't be limited by the drag and drop approach of static pages and objects prototype tools.

To handoff pixel-perfect designs with accurate specs, assets and code snippets automatically you should get started with Zeplin, InVision Inspect (that already comes free with your InVision account) or Simply.

The Sketch community is huge and supportive. There is a resource for nearly any design problem and most of them are free. Some of the best resources can be found at Sketch App Sources, Sketch Repo, Sketch App Hub or Sketch For Designrs.

With Sketch as the ultimate tool for iOS, Android and Web design I hope I could bring you some changes and inspiration to your design workflow for 2019. If you are interested in other Sketch plugins please also read my previous article on Sketch plugins you should not design without.

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