Should We Kill Photoshop When We Use Responsive Web Design?

| September 12, 2012 | Reply

Josh Long recently published an article about responsive web design being able to replace Photoshop. He made eight arguments against the extremely-popular photo-editing software that is currently considered an industry-standard tool for web, photo and graphic design and editing. 

Extra Work

Long’s first argument against Photoshop is that you spend a lot of time working on a single image. I can easily attest to that. I spend a lot of time working on a photo in Photoshop to have…a photo. A photo or image isn’t going to move mountains–that’s what the content is for. However, I find myself spending more time editing photos than I do writing articles.

Not User-Friendly

I don’t work directly with clients to build them websites, but most web developers and graphic designers do, and Long emphasizes that clients can’t access your work. If you spend hours working on a certain piece, and your client doesn’t like the design, you almost have to start all over again.

Live Changes Not Possible

If a client wants to change the color, size or design of any element in the website, you’d have to re-create your mockup in Photoshop and then re-install into the website. If you’re designing in the browser, you can make the change in real-time and see what it looks like instantly. That’s a really good way to save time, which means saving money.


At one point in time, there were many things Photoshop could do that CSS couldn’t compete with, however, CSS is now “all grown up” and able to handle the creation of those stylistic elements.


First off, anything from Adobe, while incredibly powerful and useful, is super expensive. The cost of JUST Photoshop from Adobe’s sixth version of its Creative Suite is $700. Not to mention, if you have an updated version of Photoshop, which is highly-recommended, you need an updated computer powerful enough to run the software to the best of its ability, and then you need a machine powerful enough to run the latest operating systems. Add up all those items, and you’re looking at a very expensive bill for pretty pictures. Sure, it’s an investment in your business and clients, but if there’s a more cost-effective means to the same end, why not try it out?


A lot of web designers are saying responsive web design and fluid design is the future for website design and with Google endorsing responsive web design, it’s likely going to be an industry-standard best practice. With that being said, Photoshop doesn’t have the capability to produce fluid images or website mockups, so why bother?

No Prototype Value

It’s possible to see what your website will look like in Photoshop, but there’s usually always some glitch that you have to specifically fix on a website because of the server or website hosting. If you design your website in the browser, you can immediately see what the website will look like, and fixing an issue is as simple as changing a few things in the style sheet link.

Content Is King

Long says that 95 percent of a website should be its content and only 5 percent should be the artistic design of a website, and as a writer and manager of multiple blogs, I have to agree. A picture or pretty design will grab attention, but the content people read will make readers adopt what you want them to, which is the most important ROI action. Your design should work around your content, but if you’re spending a lot of time in Photoshop making your website look great, then you’re making your content work around your design.

Click here to read Josh Long’s full article on the Death of Photoshop. To learn more about responsive web design, sign up for our email newsletter, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

What do you think about killing Photoshop? Is it a good idea, or is Photoshop still the best way to design for the web? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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    About the Author ()

    Sara is a Kent State University alumna with a degree in public relations.

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