Putty should be used, but on solid surface sinks you should not use normal plumber's putty -- you should use oil-less, non-staining plumber's putty. The oil in the regular plumber's putty can migrate into the solid surface sink causing it to stain.
As a plumber, there have been times that I have used latex or siliconized latex caulk instead of putty to seal the flange of a cheap plastic strainer to a cheap plastic sink. Usually these are the cheap laundry sinks my customers find at Lowe's and Home Depot which also have plastic nuts to hold the strainer down. These drains just cannot be tightened enough if I use putty. I have learned by experience over the last 34 years.
2016 Rockwood Windjammer 3029W Diamond
2015 Chevy 3500HD LTZ 6.0 Crew Cab 4x4 Long Bed 4.10:1 SRW