Designer v.s. Programmer

Artists vs. Programmers – a personality study

For web clients and contractors here a guide with things you need to know about Programmers and Artists/Designers. If you follow the information in this articles you can maximize the productivity in your web project and help you understand the psyche of artists and programmers.

Key points to ponder…

  1. We are people too, not objects or slaves
  2. You hired us because of our skills sometimes its best to let us do what we do best
  3. The contractor/contracted relationship is symbiotic either one can end the contract
  4. Artists and programmers alike survive by being able to show their work, if you tell an artist that they can’t show people what they have done for you expect to pay A LOT more for the work

Key points about artists

Artists are somewhat quirky people and particular in how they do things and what they like. It is important in choosing a designer that look at other work they have done to make sure that their particular design philosophies are inline with how you envision your graphics to be. The following are some key points to remember when dealing with artists.

  1. If you ask an artist their opinion on some thing they will give it to you if you are not going to listen to them then don’t ask their opinion.
  2. When an artist sends you a concept the first time that is the artists vision for how they see your design and revisions to the original concept are to tweak it to your vision.
  3. If you are looking for someone to create exactly what you envision with predetermined colors of your choice and not to be creative then you are generally not looking for an artist you are looking for a technician.
  4. Be completely honest with your artist in the beginning about how you want things to work. Are you going to be involved heavily in the creative process? Are you leaving it up to the designer? Are you a picky person who requires lots of revisions? These are key factors in how effective and efficient the process will be.
  5. They have egos and feelings that can be hurt keep that in mind when you are providing “feedback” or “critiques”

Key points about programmers

Programmers are generally solitary people that are extremely opinionated about their work and many other topics. Programmers work best with out supervision, all they need is to be told how you would like something to work and let them do it. The following are some key points to remember when dealing with programmers:

  1. LEAVE THEM ALONE – If you interrupt a programmer when they are deep into coding they could completely lose hours of work and that will cost you.
  2. Programmers plan their code out before it is written out, the process map is in their head once it begins to be written any interruptions can cause the previous point to occur.
  3. DO NOT engage a programmer in conversations about religion or politics. In general they are extremely opinionated and these topics can usually lead to debates which are counter productive.

Key points about the hybrid or multi functional developer

If you are lucky enough to find someone that is a multi talented graphic artist who can tackle programming and or other tasks such as Flash, 3D or Video production/editing then you should do everything you can do to build a solid working relationship. Someone of this caliber has specific requirements for their working conditions. The following are some key points to remember when dealing with Multi Purpose Artists that I shall call Hybrids.

  1. The most important thing to remember is that efficiency is based on milestones and phases during a project.
  2. Programming and Graphic Design use different sides of the brain, people that are capable of doing both well have developed ways to change their thought process in order to switch from one to the other. This is not an instant process which is why they set milestones on projects. It takes time to change the thought process and switch sides of the brain. SO don’t call your hybrid while programming and ask them to look at some design elements or images. “O.K. go program for an hour then we can look at design stuff” does not work out very well, nothing of any consequence is going to be accomplished and if you are paying hourly its going to cost you.
  3. You will save large amounts of money by hiring, contracting some one of this skill set as they generally work at a single hourly rate but can provide all services.


I hope this article has given you some incite into the minds of artist and the programmer. By understanding this I hope you can build a long term and valuable working relationship. Being a Hybrid myself I have had many clients that have been through a few artists and/or programmers before finding one that they can work well with. Not always is there anyone to blame for these break downs. A lack of understanding and communication causes the majority of these working relationships to break down. The artist/programmer needs to understand the mind of the client and the client needs to understand the mind of the artist/programmer. I wanted to write an article that details the mind of a client based on my 10 years experience in the retail and sales management industry but I am hoping that the comments on this article will be based on helping each other understand the minds of clients and artists/programmers alike.

Written by Matthew Paul Chitty




  1. Ernie March 4, 2008
  2. admin March 4, 2008
  3. Kabuqueci April 13, 2012
  4. Leith April 25, 2012
  5. Alan October 27, 2012
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