Color Management Tips and Tricks

Image by Grace Ficke
Posted 28 Nov 2018 | Design, Featured

Color Management Tips and Tricks

Includes two Sketch palettes!


There are two main swatch libraries built into Sketch, global and document colors. How those libraries function is exactly how you would probably guess.


Global colors exist throughout all of your documents but are unique to you. I found the best practice for my workflow is to use global swatches for things like wireframing and digital sketches. Tasks that are intentionally general, not adhering to a specific brand, but still, have strategic color choice involved.


Document colors live with the document they are created in and travel wherever that document goes. I’ve found that document colors are great in two main cases: for simple projects that only need one document, and as a supplement to your color styles from an external library. I like to use these supplemental swatches during rapid ideation.

Sketch Palettes

Have you ever wanted to save or load an existing set of colors instead of painstakingly copying each swatch? Sketch Palettes is a plugin for loading and saving document colors. These palettes are expressed as a .sketchpalette file and can save colors, gradients, and even patterns.

I’ve created a couple of .sketchpalette files for you to get started with! Download The Palettes


Why should you use styles?

Layer styles allow for a faster creation of branded content and they give you one source of truth for each color that can be updated everywhere with just one click. This is a real time-saver if you’re changing colors often!

How do you get started?

Creating layer styles is super simple. All you have to do is select an element with the characteristics you want and click “Create New Layer Style”.

Level Up!

More than just color. In Sketch 52, layer styles will save more attributes than just color, which can be pretty exciting if you get excited about an organization like I do! In my ideal document, I have a set is styles for all my colors, shadows, borders, corners, opacity, and nested symbols for combinations of. This lets you select anything you want stylistically, all from the overrides.

Libraries. Styles are even more powerful when you can separate out categories of styles. What if you had a set of styles just for the project branding, and another set for wireframing, and maybe even a third for the new branding your project is transitioning to? That would be awesome, right? Well, libraries can do just that. All you have to do is create the styles in another document, and then link that document as a library. More about Libraries Here.

Find and Replace

Even the most organized documents can collect unwanted colors from time-to-time. In my experience, the culprit is typically coping or placing an element from an external document. Even if you change the entire look of an element copied in, divider lines or shadow colors can be added to the document without you even knowing! A way to fight off these additional colors is to use the find and replace color tool. This way you can select those random extras and replace with a color from your palette.

The find and replace tool effects colors from text layers, fills, gradients, shadows, borders, and even artboard backgrounds, so it really does replace color everywhere!


Maximizing use of swatches, elevating your layer styles, and keeping your colors in check with the find and replace tool are sure ways to create a more organized and efficient color management system!

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We’re posting Sketch tips and tricks every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the holidays, so stay tuned for more tips and tricks!

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