New Edition of My Sketch Beginner Course

Two years ago, I launched Sketch Master with two courses: Getting Started with Sketch and User Experience Design in Sketch. Since then I’ve received feedback from countless students, about what they loved and what they’d love to see added.

Today I’m releasing a new edition of the Getting Started course that listens to that feedback, incorporating hundreds of improvements both big and small.

Check out what’s new!

I’m committed to keeping these courses up to date with the latest features in Sketch, the best design workflows, and the improvements that students have suggested.

All students who previously purchased this course have already received the update for free!

The Closest Solution to Hyperlinks in a Sketch Project

On a recent design project, I discovered a super easy trick to navigate huge Sketch documents more efficiently. It uses Symbols to create what are essentially hyperlinks to the most important areas of your project.

The implications are so exciting (hint: a hyperlinked table of contents for your Sketch document), and it doesn’t require your projects to be organized a certain way—or at all! I’ve also made a Sketch file available as a demo and template to get you started.

Here’s to a faster workflow!

Insights from an Unconventional Creative Project

I recently finished a massive design project for French Press Films, completely redoing their brand identity and website. Early in the process, we were inspired by iconic posters and jazz albums from the 1930-50s, and envisioned a website made out of cut-out paper and basic printing—a digital product seemingly made with pre-digital tools. So even though the final deliverable was a website, the creative process bore little resemblance to a typical web design project.

Of course, embarking on an uncharted creative process can affect everything from visual design, to engineering, to billing—but it’s so worth it. This article shares how I navigated those uncertainties, and insights that you can use in your own projects.

Stuff at the Top of an SVG

In preparation for the upcoming course SVG Workflows in Sketch, I’m wrapping up a few resources about specific topics surrounding Sketch and SVG. One of them is a new article I just published, explaining all of the mysterious code at the top of SVG files, and when it’s safe to get rid of it.

Although this is a technical topic, the article is intended to be practical and understandable for designers who don’t know how to code; an easy guide about which things you need and which you don’t. If you’re still unfamiliar with the basics of SVG code, don’t worry—I’ve got a couple sections in the course that make it easy to learn.

I wish I had resources like this when I was learning SVG, so I’m determined to provide some of those missing pieces for other designers like you.

Introducing SVGito

Remember that SVG optimizer I mentioned a few weeks ago?
It’s out! And it’s called SVGito.

SVGito is a web-app with new optimizations for your SVG files—especially those exported from Sketch.

It automates a few improvements to SVGs that you would normally have to do by manually editing the code—including an optimization for cleaning up Sketch’s extra inside/outside border markup, which I mentioned recently.

You can learn all about the tool and its optimizations in today’s release article.

I realized that SVGito was a tool that had to be made while working on my upcoming SVG course. Rather than wait until the course is finished, I’ve decided to release SVGito now. It’s publicly available and free to use. If you don’t quite understand what the heck an SVG optimizer is, you can start by reading this article about how to think about SVG. The course will dive even deeper. Happy optimizing, my fellow nerds!

Article: Sketch Borders in SVG

In the new version 43 update, Sketch quietly made a huge improvement to SVG export. I’m so excited about this that I’ve written a short article explaining how the new feature works, and why it will make your SVGs more reliable and smaller in file size.

For those of you who are familiar with SVG markup/code, the article also highlights something strange about how Sketch exports certain layers. This has inspired me to create a little SVG optimizer tool, to automatically clean up your SVGs for you.

Updates on SVGito & SVG Course

I’m almost finished with this optimizer, which will be available as a free web app from the Sketch Master website. It also includes a couple other optimizations that you won’t find in other tools, specifically aimed at cleaning up SVGs made in Sketch. I’ll send out an article and email when I release it next week.  
(UPDATE: The optimizer and article are now available; see above)

I’m releasing all of these SVG-related articles and tools leading up to the next Sketch Master course, SVG Workflows in Sketch

So when is that SVG course coming out?

I’m making great progress on it every week, and am just as excited as you are for the course’s release. These courses take time. Each one I make also inspires me to create new articles, tutorials, and resources surrounding the course topic; these become an important component of what you’ll learn and use in your daily workflows.

Rest assured that you will be the first to know when it’s about to be released. With that, it’s time for me to get back to work! :)

Article: Understanding SVG

It’s all about understanding SVG, especially from a designer’s perspective. The article covers everything from what’s possible with this unique graphics format, to how it impacts our workflows in Sketch or any other design tool. I know it will change the way you think about vector graphics, and excite you to explore SVG!

Upcoming Sketch Master SVG Course

Today I’m also announcing the next Sketch Master course, which will build upon the article with deeper and more practical lessons. I’ve found this to be a big topic, and want to share all of the related best practices and Sketch workflows that I’ve developed over the last few years of working with SVG. The course is about to enter post-production and is due to be released in March.

Podcast: Scaling a Side Project

Hacking UI: Podcast Interview

The HackingUI podcast recently interviewed me about my design work and how I turned my online courses (Sketch Master) from a side project into a business. We talk about how to manage your time when doing creative work, how to finish big projects, and why your personal goals are more important than creating a massively lucrative company.

Listen to the episode on their website or via iTunes.

Net Magazine Article: Typography in Sketch

Advanced Typography in Sketch

In case you missed it, I wrote an article in Net Magazine’s August-September issue about advanced techniques for creating beautiful typography in Sketch. The magazine is still available for a few dollars through their iOS app and Android Newsstand, so look for this cover:
 

Net Magazine Issue 284

I’ve also made all of the resources and examples from the article available for free on my website.

Awesome Typography Resources

Sketch Resizing Cheat Sheet

Sketch just released version 39 this morning, introducing a new flagship feature—symbol & group resizing. Check out their announcement article here... you may even recognize a familiar voice in the video!

Sketch 39 Resizing: Cheat Sheet

While making the video for Sketch, I uncovered every nuance of the new resizing features. There’s more to these 4 options than meets the eye, so I know you’ll find it useful to have this cheat sheet on hand.

Speaking Events & More

I’ll be speaking at a couple events in San Francisco this month:

General Assembly: Teach Me How to Freelance

This free panel discussion next Thursday (July 21) promises to be an interesting dialogue about navigating contracts, client relationships, and the tax implications of being a freelancer. I’m looking forward to sharing tips about client management and structuring your lifestyle and projects. Hope to see you there!

Mobile Interactive Prototyping (Event Series)

This series of evening events, from July 25 - 28, cover everything from prototyping tools (Sketch, Flinto, Adobe XD) to iOS design-development workflows. I’ll be speaking on the 28th about pixel density, and doing a Q&A afterwards. Tickets are cheap and available per-night or for the whole series.

 

What I’ve been working on...

A lot! I’ve written an article for Net Magazine about advanced typography techniques in Sketch. These 3 tips & tricks have never appeared in any tutorial before, so I’m excited to share the knowledge. The article will come out on August 11, in print and via their app.

Lastly, I’ve begun developing the next two courses for Sketch Master. Responsive Web Design in Sketch, and Advanced Typography in Sketch. Which topic are you most interested in?

Pixel Density Article & Video

Pixel Density, Demystified

What the heck do terms like “1x” and “DPI” mean, and what’s the difference between a “PT” and a “DIP”? These days designers need to have a solid grasp of pixel density in digital screens and how it affects their designs. I originally wrote this article as part of the UX course in Sketch Master, and now I’ve turned it into a fancy animated video too! 

In other news...

If you haven’t heard about Sketch’s shift to yearly licenses, be sure to read up. I also shared my thoughts in a short response. Some people found the time to complain about the change; meanwhile, professionals just nodded their heads and got back to work.

Introducing Sketch Master

Sketch Master was released to the public this morning! In case you aren’t up to speed, Sketch Master is a collection of training courses for professionals learning Sketch—the popular design tool. I’ve been working on this project for many months, and I’m so excited to finally share it with you.

Check out the courses and let me know what you think!

Icon Design Case Study & Event

Designing the Icons for Flinto’s UI

The folks behind Flinto, the popular UI/UX prototyping tool, interviewed me about my process of designing a meticulous collection of icons for their new Mac app. The article includes some fun stories and loads of practical tips for your own work.

AIGA Event: The Ins & Outs of Freelancing

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d like to invite you to an event on April 6 at the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) in SF; a panel discussion about running a freelance business. I’ll be one of the 4 panelists, and we’ll go over everything from self-marketing to client management. Tickets are still available. I hope to see you there!

Icon Design Class

My icon design class through CreativeLive was just released! I’m so excited about this class—it shares tons of lessons I learned while working on projects for clients like Apple and Flinto. Here’s a peek at some neat examples from the class:

Whether you're already a seasoned icon designer, or completely uninterested in the coding sections, or a Sketch and SVG pro, there's plenty of material to soak up.

Creative Live logo

Icon Design with Sketch

From Static to Animated

Watch the Class

TDC Typographic Design Award

I'm thrilled to announce that my submission for Juice Shop, a San Francisco based company, won the 2016 Type Directors Club Design Award! The TDC, a prestigious typography organization in New York, releases an annual publication containing selections of graphic designs from around the world, and I am honored to be among the selected designers. My work with Juice Shop—which included everything from a website, to laser-engraved wooden signage, to a custom typeface—will also be featured in eight traveling exhibitions throughout the U.S., Canada, China, England, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

To see a case study of my work with Juice Shop, check out the short video case study on my homepage.

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My Upcoming Sketch Course

Aside from the recent Icon Design class, I’ve been working full time on the Sketch course. I’m about half-way finished with the content, and plan to release it next month. Of course, you’ll be the first to know and will get a discounted copy, because you’re awesome and you’ve been patient!

Until next time,

Peter