Hi Guys!

I've recently started working at a design agency who previously hadn't worked with web sites much, and when they did the brief was delivered as a PDF document. Unfortunately for me, the quickest and easiest way for them to do the concepts and initial designs is to design in Quark, their usual print design package...

Here's the typical process involved in making a nice XHTML standards-compliant website:
  1. The creative team mocks up a visual in Quark on a Mac
  2. This is saved as a PDF and presented to the client for approval
  3. Once approved, the PDF goes to the web designer, along with the rest of the brief
  4. The web designer has to resort to taking screen-grabs of the PDF and copy / pasting into Fireworks
  5. The layout is recreated almost entirely in order to have a sliced web-friendly bunch of images
  6. A library of buttons, page headings, pictures and other shared images are created in various library files, such as buttons.png, titles.png etc
  7. These elements are all brought together using the magic of CSS in Dreamweaver
  8. Everything is published to a development server so the working website can be approved by the client
  9. Any amendments are made, and depending on what needs changing, the process may start all over again
  10. Once we're all happy, the website goes live
  11. The process starts over again with the next job...

Of course the creative designers are familiar with Quark and don't want to use anything else, and the web designers need to get everything into Fireworks to slice and export.

Limitations and issues are as follows:
  1. Print designers and creatives don't fully understand the constraints and variables relating to the web
  2. Quark is the fastest way to create the designs for the already over-loaded creative team who don't want to spend ages getting designs and slices pixel-perfect in web authoring tools, such as Fireworks
  3. Web designers need a quick and easy way to manage a library of elements, buttons, page titles (images), and more - not possible using traditional print programs
  4. Quark (rightly so) doesn't slice images and has very few output / save options
  5. Most files are opened into Fireworks as a flat-file with all layers and elements merged

The only alternative solution is to take the design from Quark and into Illustrator, and then use Illustrator to create PSD files, and import these into Fireworks.

I'm sure this process looks familiar to many of you out there, and I'm hoping you can share your thoughts and design processes with us all to improve efficiency throughout the design world!