Photoshop and Designing in the Browser

by Tom Kenny (@tkenny)

Smashing Magazine has posted an article by Thomas Giannattasio who argues that Photoshop should not be dropped and forgotten about in favour of designing in the browser. Here are a few interesting points:

Experimentation is the key to creativity. Without it, the brain simply follows what it regards as the safest route, and the result is as mundane as the thought behind it.

Every designer experiments. Why does designing in the browser prevent that? If anything it makes it quicker and easier through the use of CSS and the lack of an equivalent in Photoshop. Designing in the browser is just using another tool which you can certainly still experiment with.

Designing with mark-up, however, creates a disconnect with the medium. Ideas no longer flow fluidly onto the screen. They must first be translated into a language that the computer understands.

Again, it’s just an alternative tool to Photoshop. How can it create a disconnect with the medium if you are designing directly in the environment of the medium?

Any tool that is meant to translate visual elements from canvas to code will inevitably fail in the semantic realm.

I agree. Auto-generated code is almost always never pretty.

I certainly don’t think designers should bin Photoshop but rather evaluate how it can be used in conjunction with the process of designing in the browser. The two can work together in harmony.


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by Tom Kenny

I’m a freelance web designer and front-end developer with over 7 years of experience designing for the web. Follow me on Twitter here.