Photoshop, the designers ‘must-have’ is such a flexible tool that there are many ways to set up your workflow. After some 20 years I have found these two to be the most efficient, most transferable within a team, and most manageable i.e. avoiding the dreaded spinning-wheel-of-death


Layer comps

Fickle as clients can be, I’ve come to realise that there will always be amendments. Version after version, where the client/stakeholder/CEO wanna-be-designer suggests colours or positioning changes. Simply switching on/off layers and groups and saving as a state was an ingenious ideas by Adobe. Big pat on the back.


Smart objects

Even the latest Mac/PC running the latest Photoshop can struggle with up to 1GB file sizes. If you find yourself designing cross- platform (which you should be!) and therefore using design elements repeatedly and you visually should interaction then Smart Objects is your way forward.
In its simplest form these are self contained modules that are reduced in file size and edited via double-click. Things can get confusing, just remember to use the ‘Convert to Smart Objects via copy’ when keeping a module and adding another slightly different one.



One last point, the constant bugbear I and others have when working in collaboration is a small thing, but so important. PLEASE LABEL YOUR LAYERS. This rings true for layer groups too.
Trying to find ‘Group 16 copy 2’ when it could be labeled ‘Right Nav’ is so frustrating especially as a UXer who finds this experience beyond infuriating. Right clicking suddenly then becomes meaningful and you can jump straight to that layer.


I have only offered up two workflow solutions, and a simple naming process but simply by having these in your back locker not only helps you to be a better ‘process-orientated designer’ but also enables those multiple amendments to happen like that; snap!

This is but a another contribution to the design community by spindlelegs. Please leave a content or message direct at

spindlelegs ©2014