Oh Assets, we love you (now)

Oh Assets, we love you (now)

Everyone thinks that a designer’s job is done once he gives the designs off to the developers. Well, I am sorry to debunk this myth, but the truth is, at that point our jobs are just about 60% done. You may be curious to know what the other 40% is? Believe me it’s the most messy job that we are left with – {drum rolls} creating Assets and spec sheets. From decades this job has been done manually along with us cursing ourselves for making this career choice. Our biggest threat, ‘Half Pixel’. Oh this is a nightmare dressed as a daydream (not a huge Taylor Swift fan but this quote fits).

Design Lingo 1o1 – Assets

Before we dive into why it’s such a scary thing, let me walk you through what I mean when I say ‘assets’. So those tiny shiny icons you have on your crispy screens, that trigger the neurons in your brain, which work really quick and hard, to tell you what they mean. They are built with small boxes on screen called ‘pixels’. We create shapes/icons for apps, websites etc. by magically weaving these pixels together. So, when we say assets we mean those icons or the shapes which you are so accustomed to seeing.

By now those tiny decision makers in your head who control what you do everyday would have gone either ‘Ugh crappy article’ or ‘how long till he gets to the main point!’. Calm down.

Design Lingo 1o1 – Specs

We just got to know about assets now let’s hop on to the ‘Spec sheet’ train. You know how in the physical world we refer to distance by either kilometers or miles? In a Designer’s world it’s measured in pixels, we say ‘hey this icon is suppose to be X pixel from the right’ so every asset, typeface, line etc. are placed at some pixels away from each other. Spec sheet is that magical scroll that tells the developers where they should place the assets (icons/shapes/line etc) and what should be the size of the font, color, its weight (Bold, thin, Ultrathin, semibold etc).

Phew! That wasn’t that difficult was it, huh? All these years we spent countless hours in creating assets and spec sheets so that we could make our developers’ lives easier. Yes we toiled hard, struggled, pulled our hair at times, when on this mission, but all the hardship is worth it because when you see that beautiful outcome you forget the effort that went into making it.

All this time, while I was blabbering about how difficult it is to create assets and specs; many designers out there were effortlessly doing it with a huge smile on their faces. Paradoxical you say? Well it was all possible because of a new tool called ‘Zeplin’. It’s an amazing tool which allows designers to spend more time ogling at shots on Dribbble and be with the people they love. That 40% of the effort, I told you about before, is reduced to a minuscule number that only mathematicians care about. It helps developers and designers alike. All a designer needs to do now is sync his Sketch file (yes only Sketch, Adobe we are excited about Comet) to Zeplin and let Zeplin do its job, allowing developers to not just see where the assets are to be placed (Specs!) but also allow them to get assets of all size – wait all sizes what’s that now? Glad you didn’t ask, but here it is anyway.

We have a plethora of devices out there in the market and all devices have different sizes and pixel densities so a single asset doesn’t work for all (if only) so we need to create assets of different sizes. When designing for iOS we have to generate 3 variations of the same asset (1x 2x and 3x). In Android it can go up to 6 variations. Before Sketch, in Photoshop creating them was a repetitive task and a waste of time. But in Sketch it was easier and now because of Zeplin it’s done in a jiffy!!! Technology I tell you.

I thought of doing the math and telling how creating an asset has become so easy, but I think that’ll be a lot for anyone to digest in one go. To keep it simple and concise (not kidding) thanks to tools like Sketch and Zeplin we can be more focused towards spending our time on Dribbble achieving the state of design nirvana.

My Apps’ List

Neha's Home Screen

I am an Android loyalist and a smartphone connoisseur. Being a writer, my mobile houses several writing apps that help me get wordy. I have written 90% of my upcoming 100,000 words novel on my mobile. In fact, I had drafted this post on the first app listed below.


This is actually a typical to-do list and notepad app. But I rarely use this app for its cliché properties. I use it purely for three things:

  1. A staging area for my first draft of any content, be it emails, blog posts, poems or dialogues that become a part of my novel.
  2. To maintain my daily accounts as I am the Finance Manager of my family.
  3. For copying links that I want to refer to at a later stage on one single note sheet.

I use three different colors (generally the tricolors of the Indian flag) for each of these sheets so that I know which one to access when.

WPS Office

I have been through several office apps but I find this app, in particular, very neat. It gives me a similar experience to MS Word. I use this to save my final draft of my writings on my mobile, before I transfer them to their respective parent documents on my laptop. I also use the Word Count and other formatting tools in this app frequently.


I began interacting on Instagram, a few months ago. I have composed close to 500 quotes, over the last few years, of which around 100 pertain to the current campaign I am showcasing on social media called #cheasylove. Instagram is where I share one quote every day. Besides, it’s a good place to share photos and videos as the interface isn’t that crowded. Also, from here, I share my quotes directly on other social media platforms.

To achieve Inbox Zero, I use CloudMagic for emailing. Apart from the above list and the regular social apps, being a dog lover, I have the VoSD app installed. Yahoo! News Digest is my app for international news. Also, I enjoy playing Carmen, which is a detective game. I am a shopaholic so I have Amazon and other shopping apps.