If you know us, you will have noticed a refreshed design to our website. As with all self promotion it’s difficult to get to, client work obviously takes precedent but I thought I’d write a few lines on the thoughts behind it, and the process of getting it live. As with all sites their is a minefield of decisions to make - what’s the content, what’s the aim, is it responsive, is it optimized for iPhone, is it retina ready? Does it use the latest HTML5 / CSS3 framework? Are the fonts the latest from Hoefler & Frere-Jones, does it have social feeds from Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Shall I build it in our own Clean Canvas custom CMS, Expression Engine or Wordpress? I opted for Expression Engine, solely because CC site mark 1 was built using EE so I was familiar with it’s template groups and channels.
Perhaps I should have asked Will our Senior Developer to build it, but about a year ago I decided that being a web designer working solely in photoshop was limiting. So learning HTML and CSS in order to code my own designs would be a huge leap forward. I am not professing to be the best front end developer in the world but it has certainly made me a better designer - if you delve deep into the code I’m sure you’ll find a whole bunch of errors! The combination of designing in Photoshop along with HTML & CSS was liberating. Far from being a restriction, it opened up a whole new realm of creative possibilities.
The opportunity to design live was eye opening for me. The development of online tools like Typecast, makes designing in the browser much easier. Working with Typecast allowed me to assign fonts, styles, weights, colours, line height, margin, padding and more to my typography. Working within the browser allowed me to make decisions on type exactly as it will be rendered for the user.
‘Is Photoshop dead for web designers’ is phrase that has been banded about to death recently. A lot of designers will gasp at this, but with the explosion of devices capable of accessing the web, it is becoming harder than ever to maintain photoshop as the only tool. Responsive design that caters for desktops, phones and tablets has had a massive impact. Although not new it does throw up the question of how inappropriate it is now to design websites using tools like Photoshop.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as the perfect harmony yet. For me the Clean Canvas site gave me the opportunity to experiment with designing in the browser. Until I am well versed in code, Photoshop gives me the creative freedom to experiment a little more. My coding knowledge definitely limited me but hopefully as my learning curve of code goes up the creativity will match.