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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru
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    a unique layout design in one day, realistic ?

    Hi,

    I am working for web design firm, the manger demands a unique and detail web site mock ups done in one day of work.

    My question is, is that realistic for too demanding. I myself can't be so creative when working on a layout for just one day. How about you pros graphic designers, do you think one day is enough ?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast atsa's Avatar
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    It is surely not possible to give best of your creative skills on layout in just one day but sometimes in urgency we have to work hard to complete the designs.

    Some companies tend to focus on quantity and i suggest that is not good. You always need to keep quality ahead of quantity. I personally take 2-3 days for home page concept and inner page. Sometimes when things are more simplistic than surely i can do it in 1 day but still this will not be my best if i do this in one day.

    I hope your boss will soon understand this....

  3. #3
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I am not a graphic designer but I would struggle, being unique requires creativity and the imagination to bend the limits and trying to push out those ideas consistantly each day would put a strain on the free thinking process. At least for me it would anyway, I can't speak for anyone else

  4. #4
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    thanks. There is no way i can change my boss, but in the hind sight, i think it would help develop my skill fast.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast atsa's Avatar
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    Yes this will be better.....No need of changing anyone just try to understand each other and work accordingly.

    Hope you have a great time ahead.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    In the particular working environment that you are in, i.e working for someone rather than yourself, then yes, I don't believe it's realistic and I do think I would struggle. If this was every day. If it's just a once in a blue moon, I'd try and take it with a pinch of salt .

    I personally manage to come up with around 2, sometimes 3 aesthetically pleasing designs within 1-4 days. Although, these may not be pushing the boundries on the design front as I'm certainly no designer or Photoshop master. I'm far from it. But they are designs that are very effective, get the clients money back and are accessible and usable.

    On the other hand, you're right at the thought that this may help develop your creative abilities a lot. I guess you'll have to see how it pans out.

    Hope he isn't too naggy on you though. Can get right up your backside eh!

    Andrew Cooper

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Being a designer (and developer), who works for myself, I would most certainly find it difficult to come up with a clear, fresh new design every day. Working from home does spoil you, as you can take your time if required, however, to deliver high quality and unique designs often does take more than 8 hours (one working day).

    I, for one, wouldn't be able to work in such an environment :-)

    At some point, you are going to burn out and there will have to be a compromise between quantity and quality I'm afraid.

  8. #8
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    Well let me share a personal experience with you... During the first 6 months of this year my company had a huge amount of web sites to achieve and all had to be achieved in 10 hours of work or less per site.

    Those were small static sites with 3-5 pages. In those 6 months almost 570 sites were created by the 5 Web designers that worked on this category of small sites projects. The contents of these site were created and added by 3 copywriters. 1 project manager was assigned to this mission too. This meant almost a Web site per Web designer per day (including graphic layout design, Full DIV tableless CSS/HTML integration, testing and debugging and then the copywriter adds the content). This was very hard on the designers but they achieved it!

    Some designs were not top notch but we managed to deliver good quality in general!
    So yes one can do it but for a limited period of time. Just be motivated and put all your efforts on your work and it can be done!
    During the week ends try to rest as much as you can and seek for inspiration everywhere!
    Of course the Web designers in this case were highly trained and with an experience of at least 3 years.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru glenngould's Avatar
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    I think having a personal library of common layout elements would help if you need to design a layout per day. One-day-sites probably would have much in common in terms of page structure anyway.
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  10. #10
    The Mind's I ® silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenngould View Post
    I think having a personal library of common layout elements would help if you need to design a layout per day. One-day-sites probably would have much in common in terms of page structure anyway.
    100% true

  11. #11
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    The famous 80/20 rule applies here- most of us get 80% of our work done in 20% of our most productive time. If it normally takes you 25 hours or so to develop a site, then you should be able to complete that same project in 5 or so of your most productive hours.

    But as most people here have echoed, this shouldn't be the norm. Unfortunately we can't have our most productive hours ALL of the time. If these tight deadlines are infrequent, man it out when they do come along :-)
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard Blake Tallos's Avatar
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    Code Reveiws, Accessibility, Browser Reveiws, are atleast 24 hours long. Tell him to stuff it.
    Blake Tallos - Software Engineer for Sanctuary
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  13. #13
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenngould View Post
    I think having a personal library of common layout elements would help if you need to design a layout per day. One-day-sites probably would have much in common in terms of page structure anyway.
    On top of that, having snippets of commonly used code can be equally useful, you can therefore just embed them wherever you need them

  14. #14
    Community Advisor ULTiMATE's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of professional design. A lot of people like to make out that it's a brilliant world where designers get complete creative freedom and that they're not making just a design, more of a work of art, but that's simply not the case.

    I think a fantastic design in a day is absolutely doable, but it won't happen right off the bat. It'll take a lot of preparation and planning to be able to do one unique design in a day and here's the approach I'd take to do it.

    Firstly, as already mentioned a lot of programmers take code that they write frequently and keep it safe for immediate reuse. A lot of programming languages are built solely for this reason, and these languages are always built for those with a business mind. Ever wondered why every manager seems to love Java but hobbyist developers love more obscure languages like Haskell? It's because one makes it easy to get stuff done and one makes it easy to make great stuff. Most would think that as they're involved in a business that everything stops at profit, but I disagree.

    Going back to programming, Java isn't the best language for most jobs, but there are many people that can create fantastic things in Java, those that truly embrace the boundaries of their work and are able to go that extra mile to cover themselves by writing great code that can be reused by anyone, anywhere. This isn't just a programming thing, this can be applied to design as well.

    What you need to do is design in advance. You know your work better than anyone else, so you need to spend all of your time designing for the clients your business will be working for. If you're a designer for a clothes company then I would highly suggest that you throw any available manpower outside of any other jobs towards building several designs for that niche. These should NOT be your work projects, these should be your pet projects, stuff that you can truly be proud of and stuff that you/your team have tweaked for weeks on the side to improve your skills. All of these designs should be kept in a "Design Vault" and should cover any type of design that you can think of making. Hell, if you've come up with a new technique to do something chuck that in there as well! You need to separate work from pleasurable design in this instance.

    Eventually your "vault" will outgrow a simple directory structure, or you'll find a client that'll match one of these descriptions perfectly; what you'll then do is use these designs as the designs for your clients. Once this is done keep a log of what vault designs you've used, so that over time you can look back at this work and either use it or revamp it.

    Many big companies use these kinds of approaches for trade skills, such as programming. Companies like Google keep huge code databases so that any developer can save any bit of work he/she's done so that their staff aren't continuously reinventing the wheel. After a small amount of time their work almost becomes like Lego, albeit an extremely complex version of Lego. Another approach some companies use is to get university students in to do this work for them while on summer placements, leaving their developers time to carry on with real work, and this situation is a win/win for everybody; a student gets to work on interesting problems that'll be used in a corporate environment and staff can use this to make their lives easier.

    My advice is to talk to your boss about adopting this approach. Tell him that:

    • Under the current circumstances you are unable to make a good design in a day
    • Given only one day you'll burn out from boredom and stress
    • You take pride in your work and you don't feel that you should have to lower your standards of quality to get a bit of work out on time


    The latter is the most important. You simply cannot work for a company that will suppress your creativity for profit, otherwise there will be days when you'll really hate your job and before too long you'll want out. It's important that you don't just take the most efficient route out when dealing with a subject like design because your professional career hangs on quality, whereas business usually hangs on quantity. You need to satisfy one to keep yourself at the top of your game and one to be a valuable asset to your company. Have your cake and eat it too.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast lukemeister's Avatar
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    If you're working for a firm, 1 day to make a web design isn't far from the norm whatsoever. Remember, your owners/managers are trying to stick to budgets, and budgets are related to hours worked, so that's probably where the tight design schedule is coming from. Sales staff are probably selling sites that fall into lower budgets if a single day is allotted for design.

    I would say don't worry about "creativity being stifled" and just suck it up and get the job done. If you don't like tight deadlines like this you may want to try to work for a firm that gets larger budgets (and more allotted design time) for web sites. Also, learning to work in these tight situations and being able to deliver creativity on demand is a huge asset for a company, you might be able to make yourself irreplaceable by consistently delivering sweet designs in just a day.

    The agency I work for right now has a lot of tight projects too. It's mainly cause most clients can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars to design/develop a web site, and we need to deliver solutions for their budgets. We learn to work within these budgets and need employees that understand it as well.

    Just my 2 cents.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on what sort of quality you are looking for.

    I've churned out designs straight from bare concept to a WordPress theme in under an hour before. Of course, the quality suffers accordingly, but when someone's paying peanuts and willing to take whatever you give them then something of low quality is what they get.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ULTiMATE
    Welcome to the world of professional design. A lot of people like to make out that it's a brilliant world where designers get complete creative freedom and that they're not making just a design, more of a work of art, but that's simply not the case.
    Sometimes the best designs simply come to you when you're unemployed... sometimes the best code too... and maybe the reason stated above is why : )

    Interesting commentary on programming languages.

    Forest: I find it easier to make "custom" or "unique" designs when

    a: there are really strict, hard limits on what I can do (someone else's template, or very few options available)
    b: the client for whom the site is being built has something distinct about them that I can use, like a public image, certain fonts, certain styles or products... this helps you customize the look of the site to match the company if possible.

    Fortunately I rarely have to make designs myself, because I suck hard at design and photoshoppy stuff. Every once in a while something good just happens. You don't have that option, so find what helps you most and milk it.
    ULTiMATE's suggestions about having some reserve designs/code sound pretty good; your problem might be having the free time to make them!

    Good luck.

  18. #18
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    One design a day is pretty much the norm regular sites if you are working for the average web design company. Remember that while designs have to be unique, most websites on the internet are not that unique, most elements can easily be re-used. After having done 10 designs, you'll notice that you can make the 11th one by simply combining elements from the previous ones.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict Newviewit's Avatar
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    Yes it can be done.

    Can it be done professionally? No
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot smadeira's Avatar
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    Another way to do a "design in a day" is to be working on a few of them at the same time. Having three going at once gives you three days to put something together, set it aside, let it churn while you are sleeping and do some more work the next day. Some people aren't into multitasking but you have to balance that with time to let things sink in and make modifications to the final product.

    Once the design is done the coding and building of the site should be pretty simple and, using the suggestions of others, a matter of putting the components together to build the site.
    Scott

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict operator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smadeira View Post
    Another way to do a "design in a day" is to be working on a few of them at the same time. Having three going at once gives you three days to put something together, set it aside, let it churn while you are sleeping and do some more work the next day.
    I agree completely with this statement.

    Despite being possible (and probably common for some designers) to create a detailed mock-up daily, I feel better results are often acheived when the work is spread out over at least a few days. This way, you get the chance to re-visit the decisions you made yesterday with a fresh perspective, and make changes accordingly - and this can often result in better quality work.

    You could also think about it this way - which timeframe would you prefer if the site in question was your own?

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict skunkbad's Avatar
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    I'd like to see some examples of designs / sites built in one day. I just do freelance work, and my current project, which I just finished but hasn't gone live yet, took about 20 hours. This site has 3 static pages, two forms with both client side/server side validation, and about 20 pages of dynamic content, paginated. I think the site looks nice, but I had to rush to meet the demand of the client. I just have a feeling that other designers/developers are cutting corners, and not making their best product when rushed. I'm sure with experience the product is great, but even with experience, wouldn't a job done without rushing turn out better?

    I certainly hope if you have to work like this every day. that you are making a lot of money!

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    I made this in about two hours ... http://fgw.org.nz/
    I didn't write the content though, the owner of the site did that.


    Note to mods: This is not my own site.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanhellyer View Post
    I made this in about two hours ...
    Ryan,
    nothing against the site, but it a rather simple/basic layout and could quite easily be done in 2 hours :-)

    A more complex layout would certainly take much longer than that.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast atsa's Avatar
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    I agree with Nadia...It is not 1 day job to produce a layout which is unique in design and more time is required if the site has more features to make it user friendly as well as giving it good look and feel....

    I tend to say "NO" if somebody want me to design a layout in 2 hrs.


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