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Photoshop Etiquette Turns 10!

Saluting all those who’ve ever had a wacky idea, put it on the internet, and watched what happened next.

illustrated examples of good etiquette from Photoshop Etiquette

Originally launched as a passive-aggressive plea for tidy design files, Photoshop Etiquette turns 10(!) this year. The site’s content hasn’t evolved much since its inception, though it has undergone two redesigns—the most recent was back in 2016.

As such, this isn’t a story of perseverance or how the guide is still useful today. It’s quite possible there are fewer reasons to use it now than there ever has been due to the rise of alternative, more appropriate tools for web design like Adobe XD, Sketch, and Figma. But there is something to be said for creating something people would know you for, and keeping that thing alive for a decade.

In addition to others, I’ve always said the web design industry is unique in its practice of freely sharing knowledge, many times without cost to those who will benefit greatly from it. And while there are countless design “tools” and “products” launching seemingly by the minute, the most effective resources I’ve found through the years are “this-is-what-works-for-me-and-might-for-you” process breakdowns and perspectives, rather than one-size-fits-all plugins and downloads. Plenty of workflows won’t map to my way of working, but the exercise of finding which ones do is pretty rewarding.

I think that’s what worked so well for PSE. It first served my immediate needs (requesting discernible PSDs from my coworkers), and a wider design community found it beneficial for their teams, too. To make something that served every designer would’ve been fruitless. Even in 2011, not everybody still used Photoshop for web design, a segment of designers that would seemingly die off in the years to come.

That said, there’s likely no plans to update or reimagine Photoshop Etiquette (sorry, Figma Etiquette hopefuls) into a broader design resource now that Photoshop’s a fairly unpopular choice these days (long live the Save For Web Claw). But I’m grateful for the literal world of opportunities and connections that came from PSE, which has only bolstered my motivation to share what works—and what doesn’t—for us here at Adjacent.