Design tool Sketch picks up a big macOS Big Sur redesign

Sketch On Big Sur
Sketch On Big Sur (Image credit: Sketch)

What you need to know

  • A new Sketch update gets the app ready for the recently released macOS Big Sur.

Popular design and prototyping app Sketch has just issued its big macOS Bug Sur update, adding in a new look that more closely matches that expected of Mac apps in 2021. It sounds like the update wasn't an easy one to put together, too.

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According to an announcement blog post, the team has to make "tough decisions and careful revisions" when coming up with the new update and design, but it looks like all of that work was worth it.

"Early on, we had a single goal in mind. We wanted to make sure Sketch on Big Sur still put your designs front and center so they could shine," Marcelo explains. "The last thing we wanted was for the interface to get in the way." With that in mind, the team focused on tweaking and refining the existing interface rather than a complete overhaul. They wanted the app to feel familiar after your Big Sur upgrade, so you could instantly get back into your designs. "In essence, it continues to be the same Sketch people know and love," he says. This is an evolution, not a revolution.That said, the team did take the opportunity to push things a little further in a few key areas. "Adopting new OS standards like a full-height sidebar and toolbar already make a huge difference, but we couldn't stop there," says Marcelo.

Making everything look like it's at home on Big Sur isn't a case of clicking a few buttons and calling it a day, either. The announcement post outlines just some of the changes we can look forward to in Sketch 70.

It started with the toolbar. While aligning with Apple's new design, which adds the document title inline with other toolbar items, they reorganized the default toolbar with the tools they think you'll use the most. There's even a new Notifications icon in the top-right corner of the window which gathers your notifications together, making them easy to manage. Don't worry — you can still customize it with your own favorite tools with a Ctrl-click. You'll also notice the toolbar (and the rest of the app) features some gorgeous new icons. More on them later.

Sketch On Big Sur

Sketch On Big Sur (Image credit: Sketch)

This update won't be the end of it, according to Sketch. We can look forward to the app evolving as Apple and macOS do the same.

This might be a new design for Sketch, but as Marcelo explains, our philosophy remains the same. "Even with a fresh new look, this update is a continuation of everything we learned over the last decade," he says. "Our focus has always been on giving you the tools you need to create amazing designs in a native Mac application. We couldn't be more excited to be part of this important milestone for the Mac ecosystem." And as Marcelo is keen to stress, this is just the start. Sketch will continue to evolve, just like Apple's new design language.

There are some very interesting points in this blog post as well as a look behind the scenes at what goes into making these kinds of updates available. It's well worth a read, even if you aren't a Sketch user.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.