design concept (was RE: [thelist] IE Headaches (Table/Image layout) + CSS)

Matt Warden mwarden at
Mon Dec 27 17:34:22 CST 2004


On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 18:20:36 -0400, M. Seyon <evoltlist at> wrote:
> While I understand Joel's "let your creativity run wild" attitude I don't
> think it's realistic.
> Nor does the article Matt references say the same thing.

Yes it does. It says the exact same thing. The only difference is that
one person is taking on both the role of graphic designer and
implementer, instead of two.

> There is a very, very marked difference between someone who has "never even
> *heard* of HTML and CSS" and someone who is aware of the technologies but
> chooses not to focus on them during the early stages of design.
> Design is created "for a particular purpose or effect", with the medium
> being an integral part of that purpose/effect. To design with no
> understanding of the medium, now that's shooting yourself in the foot.

The medium is not HTML and it is not CSS.

Maybe "never heard of" is a bit of exaggeration, but the point that
the article I referenced and (I believe) Joel are making is that it is
impossible to innovate if one is limiting design tools to those that
exist already.

If designers everywhere excluded rounded corners from their design
concepts just because there is no direct way to implement them with
CSS and HTML, then we would not have the techniques for rounded
corners that we have today and we would not have native support for
them in Mozilla and CSS3.

Joel wrote:
> For a designer to properly integrate HTML/CSS/whatever constraints into
> their design process, they're going to have to know as much about coding
> as the folks who'll code it, maybe more. Otherwise, they're assuming
> limitations based on deficient information. I've just seen too many
> times (not just on the web) where someone says, "I would have done this,
> but I know you can't do that." Whereupon I've said, "Sure we can. Piece
> o' cake." So there we are, with someone trying to be helpful, designing
> to their perception of the limitations, and instead, we've imposed
> unnecessary boundaries.

That's a good point, and that's not even taking into account those
things that the actual HTML/CSS implementers don't know that they can
do. is filled with articles that have the underlying
storyline of a client or graphic designer asking the author to do
something, and the author 'accidentally' committing to being able to
do it, and then being forced to figure it out once the author fully
understood the constraints.

(Not that is the fount of all innovation, but you get my point.)

Matt Warden
Miami University
Oxford, OH

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