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What do you guys design your websites with?

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by richimgd, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Hi Guys and Girls,

    I have been designing sites for a few years and normally use Adobe Illustrator CS4 myself, but sometimes find it a bit too fiddley when it comes to some design. I like the speed of InDesign CS4 but it doesn't support multiple size pages within the same document, so its a bit annoying for website design since you often need multiple size pages. Fireworks is something I have never really got into. Photoshop is nice for more finalised designs, but the typography tools are horrible to use. Its good in combination with illustrator though (using smart objects).

    I know InDesign CS5 now supports multiple size pages within one document, so I might start using that for various stages of the project.

    So, if I list a few various stages of a project (I might have missed some, feel free to add), I welcome your suggestions of what you use. I will give a brief bit of info of what I use.

    A) SiteMap: Omnigraffle (for mac) or InDesign
    B) Wireframe: Omnigraffle (for mac) or Illustrator
    C) Initial Design: Illustrator
    D) Final Design Stage: Illustrator, Photoshop + Illustrator

    What do you guys think?
  2. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    (x)html & css

    I have a copy of Dreamweaver. . . but have never got on with it.
  3. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I'm talking more about the visual design / layout stage rather than coding.. unless you go straight into code?!
  4. JohnRoss

    JohnRoss Member

    Odd choices. You're doing whole projects yourself, start to finish? We're talking about small sites, then, and at that scale, a priori site maps are best done with paper and pencil, anything more is faffing about. Site maps for larger, dynamic sites are best generated a postiori by the software you're using to do the dynamic stuff with, and I can't imagine why a designer should have much to do with that. Wireframes have more to do with development (and marketing) than design, I can think of no good reason why a designer should ever have to produce a wireframe, either. Illustrator? Fair enough if you're in the kind of production environment where you're going to pass your design on to a developer to implement, but real web designers use HTML and CSS.
  5. JMCDesigner

    JMCDesigner Member

    Layout Design I go straight to Photoshop, sometimes before this I sketch out some wire frames using a good old paper and pen.
  6. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    Personally I think that you're using far too many stages (and apps) to create a website.

    For me, it's pencil & paper to sketch out the basic framework and then into Photoshop to create the visuals.

    I would bypass Illustrator as it doesn't really serve any purpose in a web environment.
  7. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Well I guess I am involved in a bit of a mixed role at the moment. I design sites, I also have front end development skills, so I like to plan how things works as well as how they look. So knowing where stuff goes helps hence I talk about wireframes. I think of wireframes more as to plan the information architecture of a website / app without getting too bogged down with how it looks. Once I am happy that everything is in the right and most logical place, then I begin to make it look how it need to look. Im not saying I try to do everything. Normally I will have copy provided to me and somethings concepts and creative input and occasionally some art direction along the way. Then theres the collaboration with any other developers who write the server side / database stuff. The post was really about the software / tools which are best suited for the various stages of design. I know pen / paper is good but when your sending a client a site map proposal / wireframe pen and paper doesn't always cut it if they're paying good money for the site..
  8. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    @ JMCDesigner and sthomas
    Fair point about pen / paper and straight into photoshop.

    I guess it can vary between the size and scale of the site. I know Illustrator isnt ideal which is why im looking at alternatives. I am interested in InDesign CS5, because I like the way InDesign manages pages in terms of hardware / memory management. I.e its very quick, only attempts to display one page at once, and can have high res preview switched on when needed. All of this Illustrator fails at. I know you cant beat photoshop in terms of fine tuning stuff, but its nice to see a website as a whole, in terms of seeing multiple pages at a glance. (The reason I like Illustrator). But again I am open to feedback and suggestions on my current way of thinking.
  9. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    One of the main points where InDesign (or Illustrator) fails for web visuals is the way it smooths fonts.

    If you produced a set of web visuals that were created in InDesign and sent them to a client, they'd be in for a surprise when they view the final website and they saw the fonts had jagged edges (prompting the inevitable question 'can we have the fonts smooth as per the visuals?'.

    Even though the font representation in Photoshop is not perfect, visually it's a lot closer to how the font will look on screen.

    It's interesting that you mention about the client paying good money for a website. While I agree that it's sometimes difficult to sell a website to a client using only pencil sketches, the client is only going to be interested in how the final website looks & functions, not how the mock-ups and sitemaps were produced.

    Obviously everyone has different ways of working but personally I always try and reduce the amount of unnecessary stages and excess clutter from any working process - 99% of the time, it has no detrimental effect of the final result.
  10. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I normally explain to my clients early on that fonts are always going to vary slightly (in particular, body copy) since peoples versions of the fonts vary from user to user so text might flow differently in terms of line breaks etc. I can get titles to look right if I use a font replacement technique. So I havent had a client grill me for text not looking so smooth. I personally find apps like Illustrator faster especially since you can drop in photoshop elements pretty quick. I think I will design my next site purely in Photoshop and see how it compares with illustrator / indesign in terms of speed.
  11. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah - I use a pencil and paper first. . .
  12. djb

    djb Member

    Pencil and Paper
    Illustrator (Photoshop for any pics)
    Dreamweaver (Code mode if I’m feeling clever, visual mode if not)

    Anyone care to enlighten me why Photoshop is preferred over Illustrator - surely it’s shite for laying out blocks of text and so on?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  13. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Photoshop has some slightly better ways of anti-aliesing text, but I prefer to use an application which lets me quickly create and test different layouts. This is why Illustrator for me is ideal for this, but it isnt perfect by any means. Techically fireworks is kind of a cross between Illustrator and Photoshop, so that might be worth checking out. I thought I'd get all your opinions though.
  14. georgerogers

    georgerogers Member

    same here so much easier to get your idea down that going straight into photoshop.
  15. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    To be fair I have been emailed a scanned pencil sketch of a wire frame, which suited me ok for the project at the time. But with some sites where I've had to get inital plans of 'where things go' in relation to the fold / particular screen sizes signed off prior to starting the design. Well at least doing this would speed up the overall job as there would be less amends to the design once it has started. For this its much easier to setup a document at 72dpi and get it pixel perfect. Illustrator is good for this but Its not the fastest program since a lot of the type / vector tools are a bit fiddly to use for something that should be quite quick, like a site map. I know photoshop would be rubbish for this. At least thats my view anyway...
  16. smarterweb

    smarterweb New Member

    Hi - I always use fireworks, I find Photoshop way to complicated for laying out a simple design - Photoshop is great if you want to create some nice images but for a website fireworks is fast and efficient.

    Alternatively cut our the need for design and code and just use our service :)
  17. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Nice spam.. your service looks ridiculously expensive and not that good! Do you have any customers paying those prices?
  18. smarterweb

    smarterweb New Member

    Yes, we have many happy clients, anyone with basic maths could work out the benefits of using our system and I find it a little unfair to slate something without actually using it.

    £240 for 10 websites on an entreprise level content management system - one would not consider expensive considering what you would pay for 10 seperate installs and hosting of another content management system.
  19. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    fair enough I havent used your service sorry to sound harsh, but I am by the way talking in response to one of my other threads that you BLATENTLY SPAMMED which was about using flash. I dont see any flash beating javascript / jquery on your site so why the pointless plug?
  20. smarterweb

    smarterweb New Member

    If you signed up for a trial you would see our powerful drag and drop web builder - powered by jquery, again would do some research before making such assumptions.

    As for spamming - if I can provide my opinion and supply a solution for users on here then I would not consider that as spam.

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