Is it ok for designers to not organize PSDs before giving them to developers? If not, how do you prepare your PSDs for developers?

I'm asking, from the perspective of a developer.. the designers I work with always provide me with PSDs that are huge. Layers are scattered all over the place, and I spend hours sifting thru smart objects and layer masks trying to find the elements I need to cut out.

I've attempted to communicate to them that I'd really appreciate if they would even simply just delete layers they're not using, or group layers together so I'm not trying to find things because 1 layer which corresponds to another layer is in totally different folders in totally different places.

I even went so far as to take one of the layer comps that they gave me, and organized it in a way that I thought would be reasonable.. It was disregarded.

  • 1
    I dont prepare PSDs for developers. If I have to I provide the images in PNG or JPG and provide a PDF for the site because it should be coded. Why are you slicing a PSD??
    – user9447
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:11
  • 1
    I ask myself every day.. Sep 10, 2014 at 18:22
  • 1
    If PSDs are being handed off to developers, there's bigger problems with that process than how well the PSDs may be organized.
    – DA01
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:57

3 Answers 3


I do not believe a developer needs a PSD file. I say this because web should be coded and not sliced. A developer should be considered just like a printer in regards to receiving a final PDF of the site and a resource folder of the desired images and content that can't be coded. (If a proper sit-down was done than this step shouldn't be an issue). Manipulating someone else's designs can lead to complications and errors. You could accidentally delete or alter something that you haven't caught and will have to step back and redo what you're doing when it comes to a slice.

I know a few people may disagree with my logic but I think you're stepping back in this instance. Why? Because the site is already designed and if you're slicing for responsiveness you're wasting a lot of time, reference:

In regards to your workflow I think you need to address this on the front-end. If the designer is contracted out, review the contract. If this is a company and the designer is an employee than I would suggest a sit down with the designers and developers to agree on a desired workflow and collaboration. As mentioned in the comments the industry is always evolving and a successful company cannot execute an archaic workflow like slicing. I would suggest looking into designing in the browser and a mobile first approach but that may be just my opinion.

  • Often what should be done is not what the corporate mandate states must be done.
    – Scott
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:26
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    AND that is what causes companies to fail.. not evolving and being closed minded to the workflow.
    – user9447
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:30
  • Not arguing that point at all :)
    – Scott
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:31
  • I've tried discussing issues with the lead designer but they're very stubborn and not-receptive to any feedback so I've ended up in the position of just trying to 'make it work' because it's seen as my fault if it isn't satisfactory at the end of the day. I'm the only front-end developer here, with two backend guys one of which is my manager, but he just concedes to design. Sep 10, 2014 at 19:09
  • This may be a great time for you to learn Illustrator.
    – user9447
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:09

Two resources that might help:

Photoshop Etiquette


And then, if the designers and you are part of the company you work for, I'd speak to your boss and explain the amount of time you waste wading through the designers' mess. Maybe he can put pressure on them?

If you are an external contractor, I'd itemize the hours spent on that separately, to also make it clear to whoever is paying the bill that their designers' sloppiness costs them money!


This all comes down to the work ethic of the designer. It is difficult to force anyone to be organized if they simply aren't by nature.

Is it "okay"? That would depend on your perspective. Obviously it's not okay with you, but it sounds like it's perfectly okay to them.

I personally, name, group, and organize layers of any file. I find it much easier to not only hand off the file if needed, but to edit the file later. And it's much easier to start organized and stay organized than it is to sift through things later.

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