Designing Retina Web Graphics in Photoshop: Should You Work at 1x or 2x?

Photoshop 2x versus 1x

I’ve seen many web designers who work at 1x and I’ve read articles that say it’s best to design at 1x. But I think a more modern workflow is to work at 2x (Retina) size. In this article I’ll explore the various issues affecting our workflow, so you can understand why I recommend designing at 2x.

Let me clarify something before getting started. I’ll only talking about designing web graphics in Photoshop. Other apps like Sketch, Adobe XD, or Illustrator work totally differently, so this article will only focus on Photoshop.

If your unsure of what I mean by 1x and 2x, please read my post: Retina Web Graphics Explained.

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Retina Web Graphics Explained: 1x versus 2x (Low‑Res versus Hi‑Res)

Photoshop 1x versus 2x Explained

I find that many designers (especially those coming from print) don’t really understand how resolution works on the web, so I’d like to explain it. These concepts apply to whatever design app you use (Photoshop, Sketch, Adobe XD, Illustrator, etc.) and understanding this will help you create properly sized web graphics.

Quick Explanation

If an image will be coded into a space of 300 pixels, you have to make:

  • A 300 pixel wide image (for 1x displays).
  • A 600 pixel wide image (for 2x displays).

In a webpage, both images will be coded so they appear physically the same size, but the 2x image has more pixels squeezed into that space (so it appears sharper and more detailed).

NOTE: The resolution you see in Photoshop (such as 72ppi) is ignored by web browsers and is therefore irrelavent. It does not matter what the resolution is set to (so just make it 72ppi). All that matters is the pixel width and height of your images!

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Is Adobe Experience Design (XD) Ready for Production Work?

At Adobe MAX 2016, Adobe said “you really have everything you need to be successful doing production work inside of XD”.

I like designing with Sketch, and Adobe Experience Design (XD) is clearly inspired by Sketch (to put it mildly). I’ve started learning XD and it does show a lot of potential. It’s still in beta, so can you really do production work with it? That depends on your needs. To help you decide, I’ve compiled a list of its limitations.

Disclosure: If you make a purchase using my links to Adobe’s website, I may earn a commission (which helps support me).

Adobe XD screenshot

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macOS Sierra: App Tabs in Apple Maps & More

macOS Sierra brings system-wide access to tabs for many Apple apps as well as third party apps. Apps may need to be updated to take advantage of them, but Apple has updated many of its own apps (such as Maps, Keynote, Numbers, etc.) to support tabs.

Tabs in Apple Maps

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How to Enable 4K Video Recording on the iPhone 6s

One of the big new features of the iPhone 6s is 4k video recording. So when I first got my new iPhone 6s I tried recording a video. I thought it looked the same as my previous iPhone, but didn’t have much time for further testing. I later learned that it does not shoot 4K video by default, you must enable it! Here’s how…

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Force Pinch-to-Zoom on Websites

Ever tried to pinch-to-zoom on a website and been annoyed that you can’t? Sadly this is something the website disabled on purpose. There’s a line of code they added to the webpage to prevent zooming. As a web developer I don’t believe in doing this, because it’s a major hindrance to many readers. Luckily there’s a workaround. You can make a bookmarklet that will let you enabling zooming on any website!

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