Whether you’re a freelance Web designer or part of a team at an agency, handing off Photoshop files to a client, developer, development team or even another designer is part of the process of building websites. Whereas the development process is generally more structured, by contrast, the design process is quite often spontaneous and full of experimentation.
This can lead to a host of unused and unnamed layers that don’t end up as part of the final approved design. For developers, sifting through a quagmire of unnamed layers (Layer 1, Layer 1 copy, etc.) can be confusing and time-consuming.
Designers can help their counterparts or clients before the design hand-off by taking 10 to 15 minutes to prepare files in a consistent and organized manner that can potentially save developers hours of production time. As an added bonus, an organized Photoshop file will save designers time by minimizing development questions after the file has been handed off for coding
Prepping the File
First and foremost, make a copy of the Photoshop file that contains the approved design and add the suffix -prod to the file name. This way you can recognize a production file immediately and know that this file type is for development use only and not for further design refinements.
Guides and layout
Properly align and remove any unnecessary guides in the document. Keep guides to a minimum and only section off the major regions of the layout by outlining blocks of page content such as the masthead, content area, sidebar, and footer so that the developer understands what basic structure the page should follow. Keeping the number of guides to a minimum also allows the developer to then add guides that were needed to aid them in visually mapping out layout details in the code such as nested divs and navigation menus.
Include a color palette
Create a layer group with its visibility turned off at the top of the Layers panel named “Palette.” Populate this group with layers using Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color… which are named to correspond to elements that will be colored using CSS. This allows developers to simply Double+click the layer thumbnail to get the color values they need from the Color Picker while coding