Communication Between Designers and Developers from a Developer’s View

  • Andy Farmer

A developer’s skill is with the code and functionality of a site and we are strange beasts who like rules and processes, and designers are the carefree creative types, who know no boundaries, and love to make things look nice. And, most times we don’t see eye to eye.


As a developer I split the build of a site into 3 basic steps

  1. Write the mark-up
  2. Add the functionality
  3. Make it look pretty

The problem for a developer is Pareto 80/20 law, where 80% of the tasks duration is in the main part of focus (The Mark-Up and The Functionality) and 20% of the time is used making it pretty.

For the designer your issue with developers is Pareto 80/20 law. You spend 80% of your time designing and only 20% defining the rules of your design.

Damn that 20% – the best way to resolve these issues is to do something unheard of – speak with your designer.

Prior to building any site, your concept is signed off and the moves down the chain to the developer to make it happen.  Communication as it moves is the most rewarding aspect of pushing your concept to reality, if Developer and Designer just spent some time prior to initially build site guidelines for future enhancements are clearly laid and defined as your website is your brand and deserves Brand Guidelines.

On my last site re-design project I sat with my designer and worked out the following checklist:-


  • Colour values in hex for: text, borders, and backgrounds?
  • Font-Face:- Standard Text, Headings?
  • Font-Size:- Standard Text, Headings?
  • Image Replacement for Headers?


  • Page Width:-
  • Margins & padding of boxes / containers:
  • Style rules: ie all gallery images to have padding and a border?
  • Agreement on who creates what?


  • Agreed techniques for images (sprites background images)?
  • Agreement on who creates what and how?
  • Use of PNG’s? and alpha transparency?
  • Look and feel for all content images?

If both Developer and Designer spends the time communicating between the handover stage, the process is so much smoother, and we both get what we want a well built well designed site with no compromise.

Coming Soon...

The Learn from Great Design Volume 1 eBook


The bad news is it isn't ready yet but the good news is you can get three case studies for free, right now. Simply sign up and I will send it to you immediately. People subscribed to the email newsletter also get a discount on the book when it's released.

The book will contain 20 LFGD case studies (I spend at least 5 hours on each one) but there will be another version of the book with even more studies and at least 3 masterclasses, with even more in-depth studies of great design. One of them is the travel giant Airbnb.

Sign up below to get notified of the launch.

Free. No spam. Unsubscribe any time.