Is it ok to use PSD templates as the initial design

Hi,

I never thought about this before but since I spend too much time thinking about what the design is going to look like basically wating for inspiration to come, once it comes the design goes pretty good but sometimes it just takes a while to arrive.

My current process is as follow.
1-Hand Sketch
2-Photoshop
3-Programming

What I was thinking/wondering is if it would make sense to use some sort of PSD template as the starting point but modify it to make it unique and to meet the clients needs, since this is my big advertisement when I talk to new clients I tell them that the will be getting a unique design but again I feel like I spend too much time trying to come up with the initial concept.

Are you currently using templates as the starting point when designing new web sites?

Is this a valid approach for web design?

Again, I’m not talking about complete functional templates I’m just talking about, on my case Photoshop files.

Thanks a lot!

Lots of people use Photoshop and other layout programs for this purpose, but there are some who argue against it. After all, a Ps file is static and not flexible, whereas websites are more or less fluid, so it’s not a true reflection of a site. There was an interesting article at 24 Ways advocating in-browser design:

24 ways: Make Your Mockup in Markup

First of all thank you for your reply!

I guess I start with Photoshop because I’m not so good at coding yet and to be able to see something quick you need to draw fast, and I feel conformable using it, but whether you use Photoshop we come to the same point, should we use a pre-existing layout as a starting point. I put the Photoshop example because is what I use and because you could actually buy the PSD templates and start from there without using somebody else is code and not be able to customize it however you wanted to, you would use only the design concept and tweak it a little to make it unique.

Sorry my questions dont make too much sense.

Thanks

On the contrary, you are making complete sense. And lots of people do what you are suggesting, and there’s nothing ostensibly wrong with it. Just be aware there are alternatives. I understand what you are saying about visualizing, and indeed I do sketches like you do and often also do static mockups for clients (I prefer Illustrator, though). However, the more fluid my designs become, the less satisfied I am with these static layouts, which is why I found that article I linked to very refreshing.

Thanks a lot for your comments!

Photoshop is a great tool for mock-ups. Just be aware of the limitations of the web as you are designing in Photoshop, so that you don’t have trouble implementing your idea when it is time to go online. If you aren’t really sure what the limitations are, don’t worry, you’ll learn. :wink:

I use photoshop to mock up bits and pieces of a design–but not necessarily the whole overall design.

Excuse my ignorance but if you dont use any program like photoshop or fireworks whats your current work flow?

It’s not clear to whom this question is directed. The article I linked to in my first post demonstrates one possible alternative workflow.

Sorry this was more a question for Force Flow because he is saying that he only uses Photoshop for some parts of his designs.

I simply want to know his work flow.

ralph.m
I completely agree with the article you posted when she says we should stop showing the client a static design (mockup) in fact I only use Photoshop for my own inspirations and see my ideas quick, I just dont see my self trying to come up with a new design and using CSS for my initial ideas, I need to see my complete design with all colors before I can start coding.

Thanks a lot, is interesting to see different way other people are doing.

It usually starts out with a few hand sketches to refine a layout. Then, coding the HTML/CSS for structure. Then if there’s graphical elements or areas that need careful color selection, I’ll either take a screen capture of what I have in the browser and work from or built on top of that in photoshop, or use a previously created PSD as a base, or simply whip something else up from scratch.

There’s really no hard rules I use for this…just simply whatever works best for what I’m trying to accomplish.

I think that is a horribly inefficient way to work, not to mention limiting. The methodology of jumping straight to CSS without a clear vision is the same as jumping to Illustrator without a clear, sketched out logo design concept. The fact of the matter is it is much faster to do trial and error in a software program such as; Illustrator and Photoshop then CSS. Making your mockup in mark-up is just about as dump as creating your logo in Illustrator bypassing the initial sketch stage.

Thank you for your comments.

I think “comping” outside of Photoshop is bad workflow, which leads to bad design. I say this because I’ll go through 3-5 completely different website layouts, styles and designs before I finally settle on something.