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.
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.
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!
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.