After building websites for a while, you begin to discover that it isn’t always easy to meet the exact specifications of your clients. You do everything in your power, but sometimes, it just isn’t always feasible to do so.

I don’t tend to work often from a design someone else drew up, but it has been known to happen and these are some of the difficulties in meeting the design that people need to be aware of and allow for a flexible approach to make it all work.

What’s drawn doesn’t always translate

Sometimes its small things, like spaces between items in a layout when there is no guidelines as to how many pixels it is. What you think looks like it’s a similar space, might be too much or too little space to the client.

Drawn images don’t meet mobile responsive needs

I’ve seen a number of sites that look stunning on a desktop, but when you look on a phone, it’s a mess. I’ve also been given the challenge of replicating a drawn design on a mobile site. Sometimes it just isn’t possible for it to appear the same, since we’re working with a significantly smaller sized screen.

Graphic designers don’t always know what’s possible on a site

I love Graphic Designers and they are incredibly talented people, but they don’t always have experience in the platform that I am building within, which can make it difficult to translate their designs across.

In one situation, I’ve had the Designer design something that required extra coding and actually broke the platform because the code required conflicted with the theme itself. In another, the design was so boring to the client once built because the Designer had played it safe. This is not the fault of the Designer, they did what they were instructed to do, but communication between the Designer and the Web Designer would be recommended.

What looks good on paper, doesn’t always look good on a screen

Sometimes, you just need to see it on a computer screen, in a variety of different sizes to realise that the design isn’t what you wanted in the end.

If you go down the avenue of using a Graphic Designer who isn’t also a Web Designer to design your site, here are some tips to make it work better:

  • Where possible, have both Designers communicating directly as much as possible (not all will work in conjunction with the other but it’s easiest if they can, because all questions can be asked directly without passing through you as a middle man);
  • Ensure that you realise that the design is a guide to what you want it to look like, small changes (and sometimes large changes) may need to be made to make it work;
  • Understand that even the most customisable themes still have limitations;
  • If something isn’t possible, the Web Designers will try their best to come up with a work around that still has the same feeling but not necessarily the same look. Be prepared to have it not look like the design; and,
  • Realise that people interpret things differently when specifications are missing.

The final thing to note, not all Web Designers will use a design by someone else because of those reasons and complications. It’s worthwhile asking the person you want to work with if they will.

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