This letter has been brewing for years. Parts of it have been delivered in speech and in writing to various designers over a long period of time.
However I’ve always dreaded publishing it out of fear that it would implicate the current designer or client I’m working with. So before I proceed I’d like to emphasize that this is not a specific grievance but rather an itemized list of 18 years of disagreements.
We have worked together for almost two decades, and each PSD file you’ve sent me has had (more or less) the same issues. Forgive me then for the indecency of trying to teach you your job.
I do not presume to teach you about graphics or aesthetics. I will not delve into typography, legibility, or use of white-space.
Instead, I’d like to explain how the fruits of your labor inform mine.
I’d like to remind you what is required to reproduce designs as pixel-perfect web pages. I’d like to tell you how your design files will be used for documentation and how the images you create determine the technologies used – down to the very base levels of scalability and performance.
Also, I’d like to demonstrate what can be done quickly and easily and what will generate overhead that will drag the entire production to a crawl.
And most of all, I’d like to remind you that the picture you’re creating right now will be made into a living thing that interacts and responds, that communicates with thousands of different individuals, that needs to teach them, and learn from them in the most effortless way possible. Both for it and for them.
Designing for Documentation
First of all, I’d like to remind you that the PSD files you’re producing are not only the source of the images for the client to approve, they’re also technical documentation and source materials for developers. Therefore, please keep your layers and groups tidy, organized and named.
Tell me which fonts you’ve used for what. Let me know which colors, spacings, and contexts to use. I need to know.
I also need to know what to extrapolate if no design has been made for a specific feature.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: If at all possible create a brief style guide for the product you’re designing.
For both our sakes, when adding standard text blocks – such as titles – add a rectangle behind them to indicate the spacing around them. That should enable you to consistently place them every time. If this is too much work, at least indicate which example in the document is canon.
I cannot tell you how often I find that titles are placed by eye so they visually fit the single instance in which they’re being placed, but when measured, reveal that each has its own individual spacing.
The same goes for content blocks. If you have a list of different content blocks, please space them out consistently.
I’ll tell you more in the Designing for Content section, but please don’t assume that your titles will always be in one line, and use that information in the file. [Source: Toptal ]