One of the benefits of having fantastic developers is we get things done fast. Really, really fast. It’s a blessing and a curse: the blessing, because we can iterate and ship quickly, but the curse, because a lot of our time is spent waiting for clients and stakeholders to catch up.
One thing that crops up time and time again is we spend a great deal of time waiting for, arguing about, and trying to explain artwork requirements. The artwork is never ready when we need it, and when it is ready, it is wrong. Then we have to send it back and wait awhile for the corrected artwork. Wash, rinse, repeat.
We’ve developed a simple tool that has improved this process by an order of magnitude. Instead of waiting for artwork that will arrive late and wrong, we simply generate placeholder artwork and ship with that. The client sees the product, realizes that the artwork is not in place, and gets on the artists’ case instead of getting on ours. If we stamp the pixel size on the artwork, the artist immediately knows what sizes and formats are required. Often a savvy artist can actually replace the artwork him/herself and see the final product in action without our help.
Now this is all great in theory, but nobody wants to spend 10 minutes waiting for Photoshop to open to create a placeholder. So we’ve created a dedicated tool to create image placeholders for Mac that is lightning quick and braindead simple. You can pick some colors, set a size, and drag-and-drop your placeholder into your target application in under 3 seconds, faster than you can say Command-Tab. We’ve been using this tool internally for some time, and we’re now making it available to all designers and developers. Check it out, and please send me any feedback or comments.