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Thread: Converting a PSD design to a WordPress theme. This is backwards and over kill.

  1. #11
    hello world Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billbenson View Post
    It seems to me that prior to the CMS era most web designers did a photoshop mockup of what the site would look like. Then when they got approval they wrote the site in html. Today, if you are good with wordpress it probably doesn't take that much more time to just find a theme, change some colors around etc and show the customer a design for approval??? And if they like it, you've already got phase 1 of the project started.
    The same can be done with almost any platform. There are thousands of HTML templates out there too. IMO, very few people actually come up with a layout that is completely original. It's been a while since I've seen something that I can't track down and find one that looks exactly like it.

    Not saying you can just template every site. There are some projects that need to be built (designed, and programmed) from scratch, but the average business website is pretty much minor variations on the same 5 layouts, because they work. We've gotten it down to a science of eye movements, how long people stay on a page, how much is too much to read, organizing information and content, where navigation works the best ...all the way down to preferable colors, and font styles.

    How many times do you see a site with the logo at the bottom? Or on the right? Top left is where everyone puts it now. Because it works there. Or right side navigation? It's rare. Cause left side or top navigation works. When is the last time you saw red letters on a yellow background? Huge fonts. Fonts too small? Moving gifs? Dancing bananas? Flash openings? We don't do any of those things anymore. White backgrounds are the standard, with the exception of creative and entertainment sites...it's pretty much universal.

    Look around at any website, whether it be a bank, or a record company. The basic structure is the same. The only difference is what cool ways you can implement the functions, graphics and images.

    Sounds boring, and it's still not easy for the lay person, and there's obviously a little more to the whole thing, but we all follow the same basic structure. How many times do you need to keep building the foundation from scratch?
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 02-07-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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  2. #12
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    I had forgotten about right side navigation. It was popular for a while. Never liked it though. I like things like you describe to be where you expect them to be.

  3. #13
    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I don't even use Photoshop to design anymore. Photoshop really isn't good at showing the different ways a site responds to different browsers or how people can interact with it. For the last year or two I've worked quicker by creating a wireframe of sorts in Keynote and then pushing things to the browser as soon as possible. In the future I'll probably be able to do without the Keynote wireframe too.

    Harold I get what you're saying, though it's a common request to develop something from a Photoshop comp. Some companies want to hire different designers and developers and some probably think they have to. Some probably think that by having someone in the office design the site in Photoshop it'll save on all the costs.

    It's not my favorite project to take someone else's PSD and develop a site or theme, but I don't mind. In some respects it's easier than doing the design myself. I just have to make what they gave me work. It's a project and a paycheck. I don't think it's the way to get the best site, but I also don't think you're going convince most of the companies that would approach you with the PSD that it isn't.
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    Photoshop to design a website
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Good timing in my feedreader today. I came across this article on Photoshop Etiquette by Veerle Pieters. There's more in the post, but here are a few basic things:

    • Keep Layers, effects, masks… as flexible possible: use Smart Objects, vector-shapes, etc.
    • Give each Layer & Layer Group a logical name
    • Make sure your Layers & Layer Groups easy to navigate
    • Use Layer Comps where needed


    There's also a link to the site Photoshop Etiquette. Yes, a site devoted to how designers should hand off PSD files.
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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    Harold, I get where you're coming from here, and I think the issue you're having isn't so much that someone is bringing you a PSD file and asking you to create a design, it's that people don't understand what it takes to create a Wordpress theme or a web site and so are being duped. I think that's sad, but I also don't think it's going to stop. As with many things, this is a case of buyer beware. The information is out there, so any wise person would do some basic research before contacting a designer. I know there are a lot of honest designers out there, many of them post on this forum, but there are also those who would take a PSD add a few $40 plug ins to a Wordpress theme and charge 25K for it. That happens, and the only defense a buyer has is to be educated.

  7. #17
    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I just reread the whole thread and think I missed some things the first time around.

    As far as clients are concerned I don't know why you expect them to know how a site is built. It's not their job to know. I've had clients ask me to do something they thought would take 5 minutes when in reality if might take 10 hours and I've had clients ask me to do something they thought would be difficult that only took a few minutes. Even if you're talking about changing colors on a theme, it's not necessarily a 10 second change. It depends a lot on how the theme was coded. Sure some themes it will be nice and easy to change colors, though on others the colors are part of images and the code is so spread out across all the files that it could still take a few hours to change.

    As far as designers are concerned I think you're underestimating how long some things take. Sure, charging someone $50k to customize a theme and add a bunch of plugins is wrong, but it's not like the cost should only be $100 either. You see a theme someone else built and assume the designer did no work. Do you know how many themes that might have looked through before finding the one that met the client's needs? Do you know how many changes the client asked for as they customized it? I've customized some themes where the code was so poorly done that rebuilding the theme from scratch would have taken less time.

    Same for plugins. Why do you assume it took no time to find those plugins? It's possible an hour was spent evaluating several plugins for each type that was ultimately used. Some of those plugins possibly needed some customization. Most plugins I've worked with require more than installing and activating to work on a site. hey often need some basic configuration and many will require code to get them to display in the theme just so. And 40+ plugins. Odds are there were some conflicts between them that needed to be sorted out. $50k for that is probably ripping off the client, but it's not unreasonable to think the job could still be a few grand.

    There are definitely cases where people get taken, but there are also plenty of times where the amount of work something took is under-appreciated.
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