19 Replies Latest reply on Mar 21, 2017 11:51 PM by Liam Dilley

    Working with outside graphic designers

    paulk7737514 Level 2

      I have a guy who already has his own graphic designer and hosting who wants a website. I am an independent web designer and am not used to working this way. Do any of you have experience with this sort of situation?

        • 1. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
          Jon Fritz II Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I've done this quite a few times.

           

          The only real issues are: what medium does the other designer predominantly work in and what's their skill level?

           

          If it's a print guy/gal and they're going to design the website and you're supposed to then piece it together in HTML, you're going to need to explain some of the differences involved going from print to the web. Responsive Design, for example, can be a foreign concept to a lot of print designers. You may want to explain it along the lines of "Create a catalog page, then reformat to fit both a post card and a movie poster. With the web, you're not designing for a set size" (desktop to mobile to 4k huge screen).

           

          You are "the web expert" in that situation. You need to educate their designer in what works online and what doesn't. If they don't take your advice, their site isn't going to work right and that's not going to be your fault.

           

          If he's another web designer, all I can do is say good luck, it's going to be a bumpy ride. It's rare that you end up working with another web designer with the same, or even relatively close, skill level. If they're beyond your skill or far beneath it, there will be a lot of butting heads if "the lead" isn't worked out early in the contract.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
            paulk7737514 Level 2

            Thanks, Jon. It's likely that he thinks that coding is an afterthought and wants to pay the minimum.

            • 3. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
              Rob Hecker2 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              It's reasonable for the client to ask you to collaborate with the other designer. Do your best to make it work.

              • 4. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                osgood_ Level 8

                https://forums.adobe.com/people/Rob+Hecker2  wrote

                 

                It's reasonable for the client to ask you to collaborate with the other designer. Do your best to make it work.

                 

                Just make sure you add a stack of extra money to the budget. Whenever l collaborate with anything, even a rat, it usually ends up costing me time and money as l have to unpick or redo my collaborators work while they try and distance themselves from the project by all talk but very little  action.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                  Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Assign tasks to your Designer and be specific about you what you expect from them.  PPI, size, file type, color mode, etc... There's nothing worse than getting a flattened PSD comp in CMYK and 72 PPI.   Or the direct opposite, receiving an enormous  comp with 100+ layers and adjustment layers all named Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3, etc... 

                   

                  If your designer works with AI vectors, great.  Teach them how to properly output to SVG.  That will save you some time.

                   

                  One more bit of advice, stock up on some calming pills.  You may need them.

                   

                   

                  Nancy

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                  • 6. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                    paulk7737514 Level 2

                    I was afraid of that. The problem is that I am under a May 1st deadline for a university-related website and I don't think I could deal with the stress right now.

                    • 7. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                      paulk7737514 Level 2

                      And I haven't even done my taxes yet!!!

                      • 8. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                        Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Then postpone the project until later.  It might work out fine.  You may even like this person well enough to work with them again. 

                        • 9. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                          osgood_ Level 8

                          https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

                           

                          Assign tasks to your Designer and be specific about you what you expect from them

                           

                          Its never really worked for me in the past despite providing either an abc guide sheet or an example.

                           

                          Lets face it the majority of graphic designers have zero interest in web design because its a highly skilled job whereas theirs is a job which requires limited skills and requies no thought about what happens at various stages as a user traversers through a website. For them its all about static elements, they only think in one dimension. The ones l deal with, quite a few, have no respect for how complex a web developers work is. I guess why should they, l suppose l would have little respect for a binman but it probably requires skills l would never think about. And there lies the problem.

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                            paulk7737514 Level 2

                            My gut instinct is that at best, the graphic artist thinks in terms of converting PSD to a static fixed-width website using the old slices to HTML method.http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/psd-to-html-is-dead

                            • 11. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                              John Waller Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              You must be getting burned regularly in your collaborations, Osgood.

                               

                              Must say my experience is the opposite. Most of the collaborative projects I've been involved in have been productive and positive with good work produced by all parties.

                              • 12. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                osgood_ Level 8

                                https://forums.adobe.com/people/John+Waller  wrote

                                 

                                You must be getting burned regularly in your collaborations, Osgood.

                                 

                                Must say my experience is the opposite. Most of the collaborative projects I've been involved in have been productive and positive with good work produced by all parties.

                                 

                                Im demanding.  l expect those l collaborate with to put in a shift, work weekends, into the early morning hours if necessary. Not many of those around any longer lm afraid. As lve said in previous posts l dont tolerate the lazy or the fools,  the world seems packed full of them. Ive never collaborated with anyone yet who can keep to a time schedule even though they may produce a very detailed brief. I always without fail deliver on time and that is what l expect of others, it rarely happens.

                                • 13. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                  John Waller Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Fair enough. Everyone has their own style of working and most styles have strengths and weaknesses.

                                   

                                  I guess the collaborations that work best are those where the team is a good fit for each other and the job gets done well and on time.

                                  1 person found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                    osgood_ Level 8

                                    https://forums.adobe.com/people/John+Waller  wrote

                                     

                                     

                                    I guess the collaborations that work best are those where the team is a good fit for each other and the job gets done well and on time.

                                     

                                    Agreed, in a small team you cant have a bad apple. That destabilises the rest. I would never ask someone to do what l would not do myself. Sometimes what needs to be done properly can be very tedious and boring, l do that whilst others prefer to take short cuts, or get someone else to do it because they are lazy and uncommitted. Those people would do well to stay away from me as l can be hugley unpolite  if l think effort is not being applied

                                    • 15. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                      paulk7737514 Level 2

                                      Funny thing, I stated that I don't work with outside graphic designers and suggested to the potential client to search for "PSD to HTML" assuming he had a hotshot graphic designer with layered PSD files all ready to be sliced and he replied, "Well, then I'll just use your services"!

                                       

                                      Makes no sense whatsoever. Unless you figure he was just trying to get his nephew to do the graphics and have the site coded for $50...

                                      • 16. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                        Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        For the record, I don't work with nephews, offspring, girlfriends/significant others. It's too much drama.  I've learned my lesson.

                                        • 17. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                          Liam Dilley Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          As a digital Agency, one who people turn to as they can not build sites we get a lot of issues from 3rd party designers.

                                          Pretty much they are all coming from Print design and the same or similar problems occur.

                                           

                                          We forming a doc to send to people but its their project and we just build but you need to handle all the requests and "Their issues" That come but there are so many it is quite hard.

                                           

                                          - You can often get non 72dpi designs where the max width is like 4k wide, the PSD is at 170dpi

                                          - Fonts - This can be so hard to explain. Understanding custom fonts, how rendering differers, the load aspect on sites, the purchasing of licence etc is a nightmare.

                                          - Non responsive designs but want it to be responsive. Responsive design has A LOT of considerations, that is why websites have a lot of the same aspects on the modern web to conform to what happens in this regard. Designs from said people just do not have any of such considerations. It is very easy to just have a search move in 10 different places in different PSD's but how practicality and real world is it

                                          - Font kerning, size, colour consistency is often all over the place.

                                          - No knowledge of CMS.. You will often not get a budget of 20k do do magic and you may even be pinned to a certain CMS. The Designer has no knowledge of it, nor the people coming to you to build the site so do not understand the practically or limitations you may have.

                                          - Random icons that are not vector based

                                           

                                          I often find collaboration hard and difficult, I often will get copy paste code from first google search from a Designer on how fonts work on web which is of course wrong and out of context because the person does not actually understand but faced with this it is hard to work with.

                                          Not saying all designers are like this but too many are sadly.

                                          Tools like Muse do not help the matter as Print designers try and build for the web

                                           

                                          While some things are still pixels, things are not really pixels any more.  VW, VH, REM, EM, %... These are the values we work with today.

                                           

                                          So you need a PSD and guidlines that are correct so you can get proper values and size, but it also needs to consider web, frameworks, CMS and so on.

                                          This is not something you can teach on a project or during one because its the skill and knowledge of a job that someone should know.

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 18. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                            rayek.elfin Level 3

                                            If the designer provides (and works with) design specs, then it generally takes one or two days to implement a static design. The trouble starts when designers do not provide you with those, or expect a pixel perfect responsive rendition (which falls in the Contradictio in terminis category).

                                             

                                            Demand design specs. Carefully control expectations. If the designer and client expect you to create a fully responsive page layout without providing exact design specs for mobile, tablet, and large screens (minimum), then ask for those. You cannot be expected to make up things as you develop.

                                             

                                            Communicate with the designer before he/she starts designing. For example, set up some ground rules, such as the base grid that will be used. Explain about Foundation/Bootstrap type like 12 or 18 column grids. This will also simplify the design process on the designer's side.

                                             

                                            Document everything. Before collaborating, speak to the designer in person (or over the phone) in order to assess the knowledge and experience level. Based on that conversation you decide on the risk level. I use 15-20% for low risk, 25-33% medium risk, and 50 up to 100% for high risk. I calculate the expected number of hours, and multiply with that risk factor. Also, I add an additional 10% hours per person working on a project (multi-person drag).

                                             

                                            Add a planning phase during which you communicate with the designer. DEMAND DESIGN SPECS even if he/she never worked with those before. I cannot tell you how important this bit is. You cannot be expected to hunt down every margin size, font property, and so forth, in a mockup - it is the designer's job to document this exactly for you, including differences in styling between break points.

                                             

                                            Send the designer this if he/she feels it is too much work to create design specs:

                                            “Developers at all stages of projects expect and demand strong documentation.

                                            Although documentation is never the most exciting aspect of design, it’s a critical step in ensuring smooth working relationships, timely delivery and a successful hand-off at the end. Ultimately, design documentation acts as a life-support system, ensuring that your vision is executed properly.”

                                            Introduce something like Specctr to the designer. This will really make your life as a developer easier, since it also exports directly to CSS rules, which you can copy.

                                            Keep the lines of communication open at all times. Keep asking for updates.

                                            If the designer expects interactive stuff/animated effects, then he/she ought to use some kind of prototyping or animation tool to demonstrate what it should look like.

                                             

                                            If the designer and/or client opine that you are asking for too much, then it is probably not worth your time and energy to work on the project - it will just be very, very stressful in my experience.

                                             

                                            PS and everything Liam said :-)

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                                            • 19. Re: Working with outside graphic designers
                                              Liam Dilley Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Document for everything is a nice to have but not realistic.

                                              Having a PSD for every page is not realistic either for example.

                                               

                                              But you need to understand the fundamentals and provide the assets for someone to use to build something - The roadmap and roadblocks

                                               

                                              Bare minimum is proper site structure, wireframes and UX flow done before a design. Design should have assets - Vector use, Font information, provide the fonts, buy the rights to them and so on.

                                               

                                              On a handover you should have "Enough" to understand.

                                               

                                              IF an agency or designer has got a rough scope from their client, slapped a value on it and gone straight into photoshop and that is all they have - Walk away!