Rant: You are Not a Web Designer if You Are Using InDesign or Illustrator for Your Website Design Mock Ups

Aug 04, 2020

Okay. I just got to get this off my chest! Some might feel offended, but they need to understand. If you are a business owner or manager, this might save you some time and money down the road. But great website design services should usually and almost never should be created in InDesign or Adobe Illustrator! Why? They weren't built for it! Can a wrench be used as a hammer? Yes, I've done it before, but not ideal. As any good web designer or developer will tell you it complicates the building process and can make the build time a little longer. Can a good web designer build a perfect design from InDesign and Illustrator? We do it all too frequently to the satisfaction of everyone (except for maybe the designer that has to build it). But 98% of web designers will tell you that a good Sketch, Figma or Photoshop file makes life easier and will save you some money down the road.

So if the end result is the same, then what is the big deal? Some of it is the process, but some of it is the experience. Most InDesign website designers have no real web building experience. They are typically print designers who haven't had to deal with the intricacies of user experience (UX) design. Because of that the designs often look print like, which doesn't always meet the needs of demanding website users.

I've seen sales go up by 1.5% on a website that drove millions of dollars in business a week with one simple homepage design change. Those kinds of design changes come through understand web users, experience and analytics. Although some of the techniques are similar to print design, when you talk about UX, many pieces are not. If a designer doesn't know how to build a web page or if they don't know the technical background to understand how design elements translate to code, they frequently make the same mistakes that we see over and over again. The designs sometimes look amazing, but there was no thought for mobile put into the design, sometimes overly complex to build (which drives up the cost) when they don't need to be and/or the design doesn't allow flexibility for content or future design changes, which most websites demand these days to move at the speed of your marketing.

Designers, feel free to build pieces of a web design in Illustrator, but please don't do a full mock up in it. You'll find some posts online talking about how Illustrator is the better design tool, but you'll not see much or any mention of that actual build process that comes from those mock ups. It always talks about vector vs raster images and the like, but they don't talk about the entire process of the design to finished website. There is a reason for that.

Need not just a pretty website design, but a great website design? Contact us for a free consultation or if you are a web designer that just needs a shoulder to cry on after an InDesign mockup with no proper scale, call for a free therapy session.

Category: Website Design