A layer within an Artboard that is visible but is not exportable?

I’m relatively new to Sketch. I’,m particularly interested in its use as a design system manager.

In this case I want to use it to design some icons (in this case, for Material Design 3, but it’s moot). I want to create 4 Artboard templates for my different design sizes, with defaults for backgrounds, export settings, guides, etc. But I can’t have guides for keylines - circles, diagonals, etc. So I create a layer with them on. And then it gets messy. If I want to use the keylines, I have to have the layer visible - and it gets exported. If I have it hidden, it doesn’t - but when designing a design system (sic), this is going to create a lot of problems, fast, with consistency and mistakes. Likewise, I can’t include bevels external to the Artboard - in my case, to show preferred margins around the icons.

What I really need is a repeatable, manageable way to have:-

  • Keylines that are not guides (probably not possible)
  • Infinitely thin keylines (ie, always the thinnest possible line at any zoom) which are not printing
  • A Layer that is visible but does not form part of the Artboard’s export
  • A way to have bevels or padding areas be considered “margins” to the Artboard and be excluded from both sizing and exports (I suspect I can do this with slices, but it still means they are visible).
  • A way to show margin and padding ‘bleed areas’.

Can this be done in a way that uses templates and symbols?

Example so far (at 1600% zoom)

Hi @raphcohn,

Thanks for sharing this use case. I think we can get quite close to what you’re looking for with the current Sketch features. I’ll try to break down the use case to individual features and workf from there

1- I want to create 4 Artboard templates for my different design sizes
This can be done by using Artboard templates or document templates. If you use Artboard templates, you can reuse each size through a library. If you use Document templates, you can create a file that contains the 4 artboard preset sizes and reuse it as needed

2- Keylines
If I got it right, you want a layer to be visible, but not exportable. So you can use the keylines for the icon template, but only export the icon itself.

You can control this by making the layer or layers exportable instead of the artboard. If you make the artboard exportable, anything inside it that’s visible will be exported, but you can instead make individual layers exportable so you can control exactly what gets exported and what doesn’t.

You set it once and can wrap this in a symbol or in an Artboard template and reuse

3- A Layer that is visible but does not form part of the Artboard’s export
Same as mentioned in the previous Keylines point. Make the layer and not the arboard exportable

4- A way to have bevels or padding areas be considered “margins” to the Artboard
Artboards are top level containers, so anything outside them is not part of it. However, I can totally se what you mean here and I think symbols can help. All symbol sources are artboards, and if you insert a layer that’s bigger than the symbol source artboard, it will show in the instances, but the export size won’t be affected. For example, taking Android’s Google Play Store Guidelines:

They require you to submit a 512 icon, but the actual content area is smaller, 384. So, if you create a symbol that’s 384 and then instert a background that us 512 you can get this effect in the instances:


Using slices you can export only the content area itself. Slices are visible on Canvas, but never on exports

5- A way to show margin and padding ‘bleed areas’.

By using a symbol and an oversize layer, you can create these bleed areas as described in the example before

Using the template shown in the last image, I’ve now laid my design on top of it. The template allows me to see the bleed areas and know the size of both the content area and the total area and slices allow me to export either the full area or just the content area

Total area export

Content area export

The thing that’s missing are the infinitely thin keylines. Since those will be created with layers, when you zoom in on them, they adapt to the zoom level.

I hope this is useful and please let me know if I missed anything. Here’s also the Sketch file with the template shown in the screenshots

Icon template proposal.sketch (153.0 KB)