Our Take - 29 May, 2014 – 3 Min Read

Partner your developers with your designers for a better creative output

Todd Padwick
By Todd Padwick

Founder, Creative Director


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We all know that sending a PSD to a developer to build from, just doesn’t cut it any more. There are enough articles complaining about the subject to sustain medium alone. So I’m not going to bore you by discussing the problem. But what I am going to do, is suggest a practical way to solve it, that doesn’t involve every designer learning to code.

I myself am a web and interaction designer. But do in fact moonlight as a front end developer. This has been immensely useful for me. It means i know what is possible, and how to really get the most out of the web in my designs. It also means I can contest lazy developers when they tell me something can’t be done.

However expecting all designers to take the time off to learn this skill is not only unrealistic, but it could also result in sacrificing their available time to specialise in either limiting their ability.

So with this in mind, we have to turn to another solution:

At the moment, developers and designers are too far removed from each other. In most agencies, they are on the other side of the room or on a different floor. In some cases, they are in a different city or country entirely if they've been outsourced: We almost never see them.

So this needs to change, but I’m suggesting something much more than just putting designers and developers closer together:

in the 1950s, William Burnbach, an American creative director, was the first person to permanently pair Art Directors with Copywriters. He believed that creating permanent partnerships would result in better creative advertising. The ever increasing list of awards achieved by the agency he founded, DDB, is enough proof of his theory.

60 years later, his method is being used at practically every ad agency on the planet.

An incontestable creative duo generating the most forward-thinking digital experiences an agency could ever dream of producing.

So if this works so well for copywriters and art directors, imagine the possibilities if designers and developers were paired in the same way: Bouncing ideas off of each other and trying to push the envelope of what is currently possible: An incontestable creative duo generating the most forward-thinking digital experiences an agency could ever dream of producing.

Not only will this system generate outstanding work, but it will save a huge amount of money and time.

Websites would be being built while they are being designed, so it would half the production time. Working agile in this manner would also reduce the time spent on rounds of feedback between designer and developer.

All this just for the sake of adjusting your agencies seating plan.

This is how id most like to work in this industry, and something I aim to put in place at Function & Form.

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