Communication Between Designers and Developers from a Developer’s View

by Andy Farmer (@tkenny)

A developer’s skill is with the code and functionality of a site and we are strange beasts who like rules and processes, and designers are the carefree creative types, who know no boundaries, and love to make things look nice. And, most times we don’t see eye to eye.


As a developer I split the build of a site into 3 basic steps

  1. Write the mark-up
  2. Add the functionality
  3. Make it look pretty

The problem for a developer is Pareto 80/20 law, where 80% of the tasks duration is in the main part of focus (The Mark-Up and The Functionality) and 20% of the time is used making it pretty.

For the designer your issue with developers is Pareto 80/20 law. You spend 80% of your time designing and only 20% defining the rules of your design.

Damn that 20% – the best way to resolve these issues is to do something unheard of – speak with your designer.

Prior to building any site, your concept is signed off and the moves down the chain to the developer to make it happen.  Communication as it moves is the most rewarding aspect of pushing your concept to reality, if Developer and Designer just spent some time prior to initially build site guidelines for future enhancements are clearly laid and defined as your website is your brand and deserves Brand Guidelines.

On my last site re-design project I sat with my designer and worked out the following checklist:-


  • Colour values in hex for: text, borders, and backgrounds?
  • Font-Face:- Standard Text, Headings?
  • Font-Size:- Standard Text, Headings?
  • Image Replacement for Headers?


  • Page Width:-
  • Margins & padding of boxes / containers:
  • Style rules: ie all gallery images to have padding and a border?
  • Agreement on who creates what?


  • Agreed techniques for images (sprites background images)?
  • Agreement on who creates what and how?
  • Use of PNG’s? and alpha transparency?
  • Look and feel for all content images?

If both Developer and Designer spends the time communicating between the handover stage, the process is so much smoother, and we both get what we want a well built well designed site with no compromise.

Improve your design knowledge in just a minute or two a day, for free


You'll get a free email every Monday to Friday with actionable design details that will increase the effectiveness of your designs. Each one only takes about a minute or two to read.

Free. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

by Tom Kenny

I am web developer currently working for TUI Travel Plc, developing eCommerce sites such as and