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Conversations, not comps

Daniel Mall shares some insightful thoughts on the post-Photoshop era

I’m building an office right now. The contractor I’ve hired is a wonderful builder, but not really a designer. He can make whatever I ask him to make, but I have to ask him to make it. He also primarily speaks Spanish and only a little English. (A great metaphor for the designer-developer relationship, no?)

I could create an illustration or a 3D rendering of what I want my new office to look like, but that doesn’t take advantage of his great ideas. It’s dictation, not collaboration. Instead, I show him a Pinterest board my wife and I created. I tell him that I love these beams or this mix of materials and we can have a conversation. I revise my ideas through his expertise, and vice versa. This is how building a website should go. When creating the Activate site, I only designed 2 comps; Ben Bojko, the excellent developer I was working with, built the rest. A ton of conversation is way more effective than a handful of page designs. Of course, this is built on the assumption of a level of skill among all parties involved and a great amount of trust between them. If you don’t have that, stop reading this post and do some research on building great teams.

Conversations, not comps. I like that a lot!

This is where tools like Style Tiles really shine.

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Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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