Graphic Designer vs. Web Developer

Ripple News • 31st Mar, 16



Think working together is just common sense? Maybe it is, in theory; but there’s an issue plaguing most industries that, really, has existed since civilisation began: the clash of the arts and the sciences.

Most web developers and graphic designers don’t think they’ll have any issues working with each other – until they actually have to. Writing code and picking colour schemes require pretty different trains of thought – trains of thought that, at best, coast along indifferent on completely different tracks, and, at worst, screech toward each other and collide in a tangled wreck. And as a result, well, working in harmony just ends up seeming so much less easy than it once did.

But as the old scholars learned millennia ago, the arts and the sciences, despite – or rather, because of – all their differences, need each other. A website, like most things, needs to be formulated with a balance of technical and aesthetic sensibilities; otherwise, you’ll end up with either a tangled mess of neon colours right out of early Geocities, or a page of Comic Sans text blocks.


So, in short, whether you’re an artsy sort or a numbery sort, you’ve got to work with folks who, in many ways, you just don’t understand. Just remember – they need you as much as you need them.

For Designers:

  • Tell those programmy guys exactly what you have in mind, design-wise. And make it simple. Talk really slowly if necessary.
  • Don’t half-arse a design – that’s going to come back at you. When you do a design, do it COMPLETELY – you REALLY don’t want to leave it those programming nerds to fill in the blanks. They’ll do it completely wrong.
  • If you’re unsure about anything, ask for feedback. The great artists of history all pretend they made all their own artistic decisions; they didn’t. Trust us.
  • Remember, websites are interactive – very much so, these days. Think of how you can fit that into your design. Get creative – without being too flashy – and you can lend a unique aesthetic to something as simple as shifting to a different page on your site.

For Developers:   

  • Try and learn some stuff about design. Seriously, do it; Mr BA is going to be banging on about post-modernist Parisianism and stuff until you do.
  • When they, in the midst of riding those designer-highs of theirs, ask you to do something that’s impossible in modern programming – and they will, at some point – just tell ‘em it can’t be done.
  • Get involved from the time that things kick off.  Seriously, keep an eye on them. They’re gonna fill the flow chart with unworkable stuff otherwise.
  • During the development process, try and maintain the integrity of the design. You haven’t known insufferable whining until you’ve seen an artist decide that someone’s violated their vision.

Here’s what both web designers and developers should live by:

  1. Individuals and interactions (processes and tools)
  2. Working software (comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration (contract negotiation)
  4. Responding to change (following a plan)

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