Brand.ai just changed how I design with teams. For the last nine months I’ve been living with:
“do you have the style guide open? I need to update it”
Having a living style guide for your web design is now a must-have, but it mostly solves problems for the people building the site, and doesn’t do a lot for those designing it. If you design with a team, you don’t need CSS snippets, you need reusable components in Sketch – and that is exactly what Brand.ai does. It creates a central repository for all of your brand styles such as colors, typography, and even the language your brand uses. It has a URL for anyone in your company to use, plugins for Word and Powerpoint templates, and the styles can even be exported into SASS, LESS, and major mobile development languages. There are other library plugins that have come out that have tried and failed to do all of the things that Brand.ai has been able to provide.
But why do I love it so much? You can share components.
The sketch plugin allows you to share stype styles and any kind of layer or group. For example, when we design our case studies we can now sync all of our different type/image layouts with the styles of our web’s CSS so that there’s no more designer/dev confusion. And these styles can be shared without having to pass one Sketch file back and forth or worry about versioning. Every button state, every form field, it’s all there ready to be built into a design like LEGO. There’s also a spacing and radius section to help everyone on your team produce consistent designs.
I’m still learning all of the things it can do, which is the sign of really fantastic software. I’m thrilled to add this to my toolbox. Even if you work solo, having a library of components will improve your own design consistency and make your workflow fly.