Want to understand asset libraries in Sketch at a high level? In this overview, John-Paul Ballard highlights the over-arching framework of housing your asset library in Sketch.
- [Instructor] To create an asset library, you'll want to start with a blank Sketch file, then create a page for each type of asset. For example, a page for icons, perhaps images, device frames. So I'll go over here under Pages on the left side, and I'll rename Page 1, I'm going to call that Images. And then I'm going to create another one, and just for example, I'll put Device Frames, and how about Icons? And these can be whatever you want and whatever order you want, the point is you're just going to separate them out so that your library makes sense to where you have all your icons in one place, you frames in one place, whatever organization makes sense to you, as long as it's consistent and works for you.
So the question comes, what do you put in the Sketch library, and what do you put as a reference in the library that points out to something else. I'll give you an example. Let's look at Images. So I've got over here some images in the Exercise folder, and I've got about six or seven images here. So in this case, I think it makes sense, if that's all I'm gonna have, say, up to a dozen, to go ahead and put these inside of Sketch in Images. If you have more than that, and this is just a judgment decision of how complex you want your asset library to be, you know, I'd suggest at some point, whether it's 25 or 100 images, that you put a pointer and say there's a database out there or there's a folder where these are available.
So for this, I'm just gonna drag and put them in here, and they all just come in on top of each other and rearrange them, zoom out, command minus, and ultimately the goal here is that when you come to this and look at your library, you've got an organized view of assets to use on your project or for your company standards, depending on your situation.
Now aside from just dropping images in here, the next thing you want to do is actually put some descriptions of use cases. I'll give you an example. I'm gonna press T on the keyboard for text, and I'm gonna add text up here, and I'll just do one of these, but you actually want to do all of them. And you can play around and get a style or a dark theme or something to make your documentation stand out, but for this example, I'm just gonna type it just in the default. And so I'm gonna say that a description of this resource is Diagram of Three Things, that's not the best description, but it's an example, you get the point.
I'm going to put it is licensed from Think Stock, and you can put a reference number there if you want, and I would put something, you know, put a date in here, 101, year, year, year, year, but an actual date. Perhaps, who put this here? So if you have multiple team members that are updating and changing your actual Sketch file that is your asset library, they're gonna do some things like put the team member's name and whoever's documenting it.
If it's just you and you're the only person, you may not have to do that, but it's good practice to go ahead and add these basic documentation pieces for each element you've got in there, so you know where they came from, when they got there, how they're licensed, and I would also go as far as using use cases. And this is for whenever you print this out and distribute it, let's say the marketing department sees this, and they say, oh, this is only for use in PowerPoints. We're not actually going to use this particular graphic in our print materials, so you might say, use case PowerPoint keynote only.
I'll move that over here. You can make that a little bit fancier. As a designer, I'm sure you can make it look great. But the point is to get the documentation side by side with your assets, and that's the real power here. It's an all-in-one one-stop shop. So as I said, the decisions of what to include in your asset library as embedded sources, and what is simply linked to, depends not so much on the file size, but on the manageability of the complexity of your asset library. And that's gonna be different for every designer, and every project, and every client.
One other thing we talked about was PSD, Photoshop and Illustrator files. They should be placed in a sub-folder where the Sketch file resides, so that you can find and you can reference them because when you bring those in, you lose the layers, and you just get a flat image of what it is, just a pointer really. So remember the purpose of an asset library is not to put everything that you have into it, but it's to carefully create a curated collection of the items that are in use the most in your designs.
- Building an asset library
- Auto-generating a style guide
- Importing assets
- Naming assets
- Sharing your asset library