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

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    root Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Default Converting a PSD design to a WordPress theme. This is backwards and over kill.

    I see and get requests all of the time for people looking for someone to take what is basically a drawing or Photoshop design, and "convert" it into a WordPress theme.
    To me this is overkill for 2 reasons:

    1. Most times they haven't actually done anything except create some pretty pictures with thier colors and logo. Not any specific functionality requests that can't be done with any of a million plug ins, nor have they created a layout that can't be found in existence already.
    2. There is no such thing as "converting" a drawing into a WordPress theme. What you really mean is you need someone to code a theme with these colors and logo from the ground up.

    9 times out of 10 what they have is simple enough to convert the colors of an existing theme.

    For some reason when I see this it really irritates me and they would be better served and save a ton of time and money by just contacting a WordPress person FIRST to see what may already exist and can just be personalized with a few CSS changes, swapping some icons and the right images.

    "Oh, you want Facebook connect? Yeah, that's so difficult that you needed to draw it. A sidebar on the home page? Wow, it's a wonder no one has ever thought of that. Thanks for drawing the sharing icons, that's going to take weeks of development".

    I had a call today and the guy actually asked me "How long will it take you to match the colors?". I sent him the exact color codes back in about 10 seconds. What year do people think it is? Why don't they just pick up the phone and discover that it's not 1997 anymore?

    I think too many people waste money in this area by assuming they need to reinvent the wheel, just to match their colors. However, it is extremely difficult to tell someone this once they have it their mind, based on what their graphic artist who knows nothing about WordPress, tells them.

    There have been occasions where I've seen a few that would require a build from the ground up. But not most. Is there some kind of book out or something that is telling people they have to do this?

    Am I the only one that feels this way, or should I just shut up and take 3x's the money from them to do something that I could have done cheaper and faster?
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 02-06-2013 at 09:15 PM.
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    I don't know if it is possible in Wordpress, but it is possible from an HTML standpoint. Open the PDF in fireworks and then use the slice feature to carver it up into pieces. You can assign each piece the functionality that it needs. It works best if you have only simple mouse over and click events.

    From their standpoint, they are probably trying to standardize a look. They want their ads and website to match.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealrm View Post
    I don't know if it is possible in Wordpress, but it is possible from an HTML standpoint. Open the PDF in fireworks and then use the slice feature to carver it up into pieces. You can assign each piece the functionality that it needs. It works best if you have only simple mouse over and click events.

    From their standpoint, they are probably trying to standardize a look. They want their ads and website to match.
    But isn't it more work peeling back layers of photoshop files, than if they had just contacted you with their color scheme and logo and let you tell them the only things you needed them to submit?
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    I would flatten the image before I started slicing. Then it is simply a manner of outlining the areas you want click effects. I have done this several times for real estate plot maps. As the mouse is moved across the screen, the lots are highlighted and a click brings up a picture.

    However, if it gets much above mouse effect (drop down menus, rotating images....) it is easier to start from scratch.
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    I guess in HTML I can see that. But in WordPress, a mock up is nice, but most times it doesn't require any complicated special build. They've mostly just put in some pretty colors that many times they've plopped on top of an existing design anyway. But instead of telling you the design already exists, they want you to rebuild it from scratch because they think that's how you change the colors.

    I should probably do what everyone else does, just nod and smile and charge them more than the job has to cost, but I find it hard to do that.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 02-06-2013 at 09:20 PM.
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    In a way you are right.. but if you are doing a design that requires specific colors for, buttons, forms, spacing, headers titles, background, how to handle images, how to handle commenting, what the newsletter request will look like, horizontal rulers, paragraph styles, design elements, photo sizes, quotes etc. Just sending "colors" is not enough.

    When I design, I start off by creating a PSD of the artwork for the client for approval (home page + 1 internal page).. once the creative is approved I'll then just create the styles in CSS. Creating a PSD is MUCH quicker than doing it in css.. so I prefer to get a go ahead for the design before even touching code. Yes, quick and dirty is better, faster, cheaper.. but I'm not in the business of quick and dirty. It's not profitable for me, nor do I enjoy slaping things together and moving on. I'm not in the business of running a website template factory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wozcreative View Post
    In a way you are right.. but if you are doing a design that requires specific colors for, buttons, forms, spacing, headers titles, background, how to handle images, how to handle commenting, what the newsletter request will look like, horizontal rulers, paragraph styles, design elements, photo sizes, quotes etc. Just sending "colors" is not enough.
    Yeah, that would be great. But most times it's something that someone just drew. There is no understanding of any of that. Rules? Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wozcreative View Post
    but I'm not in the business of quick and dirty. It's not profitable for me, nor do I enjoy slaping things together and moving on. I'm not in the business of running a website template factory.
    I'm not suggesting that anyone be in that business. But there have been many times that I'll look at a PSD, see that it's just a theme that I recognize recolored, a few icons replaced, with their logo on it...and they think that having me rebuild it from the ground up is the only way to go.
    I guess the determining factor on that one is budget.

    I'm going to give people what they want, but I can't stand "designers" that charge people 10'x the price for something that they didn't create, but led the client to believe that they did at great hardship.

    You'd be amazed how many people come to me and think that their last web person ( who they now can't find) custom coded a plug in, and are shocked when I tell them that it's something that is readily available to everyone and that their guy didn't build that.

    The worst I've seen so far is, what was supposed to be a custom build that cost $50k (yes, you read that correctly) and when I logged in it was just a Woo Theme with a few CSS changes and 40+ plug ins running. Tragic.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 02-06-2013 at 09:59 PM.
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    I see what you are saying.. actually this is why I don't do strictly development. I actually refuse to work on other people's design for the above reasons. Most of then then not, it has not been optimized for wordpress at all. Even working with an existing PDF of a printed brochure is a nightmare if I was not the one to design it.

    I guess I don't have the problem, I just decline all projects where I am not involved from the start. I sleep better at night

    And yea, I had a client come to me in frantic that a designer had copied an competitors website exactly (perhaps just ended up using the same template the competitor did), and now they were getting sued by their client for this..
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    Working on WordPress sites that someone else did is very difficult at times. Some people have complete train wrecks back there. It's sad actually, when a client thinks they paid for something and you have to tell them that it is nowhere to be found. No code. No plug in. No settings. It's not working because it doesn't exist.

    I get so many like this that I end up trying to make things so easy for people that no matter what happens to me, they'll still be able to manage their site.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 02-06-2013 at 10:17 PM.
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    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.

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