Over the last 6 months, I've been spending less and less time at work coding in sprints, and more time learning techniques more associated with product management, like running user testing, creating wireframes, writing user stories.
I've also been making mockups with Pixelmator and LittleSnapper too, which I've found quite nice to use together to snap a page, clone the elements, and experiment with layouts quickly, then export a
png, to attach to a card in Trello.
I generally don't pay too much attention to building meticulously organised hierarchies of reusable layers when working with an image editor - this approach is partly based around Jason Zimdar's Work in photoshop, don't save in Photoshop post.
Trying out Sketch
However, for building something new from the ground up, rather than shifting existing elements around, I've preferred using vector art apps, like Illustrator on previous projects.
However, I haven't been able to find a cheap OS X alternative to Illustrator that I got on with, and I was pretty much about to give up when last week in the Sidebar email newsletter, a new app, Sketch was mentioned as being available for just over 20 quid. I took it for a spin, liked it enough to buy it.
To learn how to use it, I tried making a few app icons for a Site Specific Browser for 750 Words, a writing site I use when I have time.
Now I need to stress, I am no icon designer - this is mainly me dicking about with new design tool, to see how it works. But getting these made was reassuringly straightforward, and making something that looks slightly nicer than the default upsampled favicon was a fairly quick process:
Original upsampled favicon
Higher res take on the original icon
I made a couple of alternative icons too, largely because I was starting to enjoy myself using the app, and wanted to see how shadows, gradients, and what typographic control was available:
On the whole, I'm finding it a really nice tool to use so far.
I'll see how I get on using it for building a site over the Christmas break, and after I've put some actual use into it, if I have anything worth sharing, I think I'll put together a proper writeup on it.