Sketch Runner

Concept · Brand · UI Design · Marketing · Support

2016 – Present

Runner Run

tl;dr

Runner is a Sketch plugin that allows you to quickly run any menu action, go to any page/artboard/layer in your document, insert symbols quickly, create shared styles or symbols and apply those styles to selected layers. It's a huge timesaver that speeds up your and my workflow!

Runner Run Runner Goto Runner Insert Runner Create Runner Apply

Introduction

On Friday 8 and 9 April 2016 Precous Design Studio organized a Sketch plugin hackathon in Hamburg, Germany. I ❤️ Sketch and the opportunity to make this tool even better together with likeminded people sounded like the ideal way to spend a weekend in Hamburg. And so I traveled there to join the #SketcHHackday.

Goals

  • Learn how to design and build tools for designers like myself
  • Create an Alfred like plugin for Sketch that speeds up a designer’s workflow tremendously.
A team of 6 that never met each other before, hacked a demo of the Sketch Runner plugin, launched the website and won the #SketcHHackday! All within 30 hours…

Process

Before heading to Hamburg I had a couple ideas in mind that I wanted to work out. I joined the event by my own and wasn’t sure what to expect and who I’d meet. As I had zero experience developing a Sketch plugin I needed some experienced developers to form a team with. I kept an open mind and was ready to collaborate on other’s ideas. However, I pitched my idea and right after a team was formed pretty quickly.

The idea was to create a Spotlight / Alfred like plugin for Sketch that allows you to perform actions that normally waste time navigating with the mouse. Starting off with a group of 6 we quickly sketched out the basis of the plugin. Working title: InstaBar.

Team: Sergi, Niko, Moriah, Aby, Florian and me.

Tasks were divided organically. By closely working together and discussing a lot, I managed the UX. We figured out what would work best in the context of using the tool. It was important that it didn’t distract you. We agreed upon a rule that would keep us on the right track: Runner needs to speed up tedious tasks by replacing multiple mouse clicks for a few keystrokes.

After day one I was very excited because I knew we were onto something special. It had a lot of potential of being valuable to a lot of designers working with Sketch.

Overnight in the hotel, my girlfriend and I cooked up some names among which Run / Runner was one of our favorites. I put all the suggestions in Slack. Early in the morning the next day, we bought our domain and started developing the website. I quickly sketched a logo and created the branding. Sergi and I layed out the structure of the website and Niko helped out with creating demo animations. Niko, Moriah and me together wrote the copy of the site and within a day we had a first beta website.

The plugin prototype and presentation were finished just in time. At 18:00h Niko presented our work and the reactions were overwhelming…

Sketch Runner — Runthrough from Nikolas Klein.

Evaluation

I had an outstanding time in Hamburg and the plugin we hacked was a much bigger success than I could imagine. I’m now using Runner on a daily basis in my own design workflow and can’t live without it anymore. It's really cool the project is ongoing and we're actively improving it based on feedback and new features we come up with. Just after the launch it attracted quite some attention…

Runner Testimonials

The community showed their love through Designer News. CSS-Tricks and SketchCasts picked it up and both created a video tutorial. It got covered in the Smashing Magazine, Webdesigner Depot and Meng To’s Design+Code newsletters. It’s a pro tip in the Sketch App Essentials book. And as icing on the cake, it was promoted as a Sketch featured plugin on the official Sketch website for a couple weeks.

Resources