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Photoshop, we need to talk

|Innovation & Design

Portrait of Markus Berg
Markus Berg

Design Director

As you very well know, Adobe Photoshop, I love you. I love you to the extent that you feel like an integral part of my professional self. Like an arm for my brain. Like a race car for the race car driver. A knife for the chef. You are a friend I can always trust. You are my one and only.

Oh, the years we shared together. While others were living their youth, hanging out with others – the likes of Illustrator, 3D, pen & paper, even coding – I was with you and only you. During these years, I have used you in ways you were never meant to be used. After all, your reason for existence is to edit graphics and create digital art. But you loved me back and learned to be pretty good at designing interfaces with vector shapes. Actually, more than pretty good: you are awesome.

Still – and I truly hate to say this – it is time to start letting you go. No, not for good, but I think that maybe we should just be friends.

See, the world around us has changed. Traditionally, design has been defined as the look and feel of an application. Does that ring a bell? Look and feel. You, dear Photoshop, only help with the looks. But the design of applications and services aren't just about looks anymore. I need to awe customers in ways where static images are insufficient.

Previously, interfaces were more about pages and views. Nowadays, they stretch, twist, bounce and respond with every interaction. Just a few weeks ago, I had to rely on your sibling, After Effects, to create a video demonstrating parallax scrolling on a Windows 8 app. These things are really, really hard to communicate by using only your help.

The whole responsive design workflow movement (with an example from Stephen Hay) deserves a post of its own. In that world, static images have a very small role. Some have tried to circumvent the problem by going as far as designing layouts in InDesign. That is just crazy.

And while the term 'responsive design' currently only means that web sites adapt to different screen sizes, the ways application respond to interactions also need to be communicated. All sorts of prototyping tools exist – some decent, some not. And even they seem to rely mostly on static images. If the interactions and reactions aren't on par with the real thing, they might not be worth all the trouble.

In the end, it all comes down to the fact that I need to start coding more. Building the interfaces instead of just picturing and explaining them. And what is really awesome is that I'm in the best possible team to start doing that. With you, dear Photoshop, standing right by my side.

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