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Let’s speed up: entities and categories in design

In this article I will tell you which entities a designer uses to create graphics for an app showcase of multiple platforms. Here I share how to  automate this process by dividing work units into entities and categories.

Designer and marketer create app showcases. They work with same entities (icons, screenshots, cover, and banners) but in a different way. As a result, they attribute the same entities to different categories.

For marketer, the graphics needed for one platform is one category. Designer understands categories as sets of icons, covers, screenshots and banners regardless of platform.

Here, as a result, begins the conflict of processes. Designer aspires to do his work consistently, in accordance to his categories, while marketer aims at getting ready graphics in a convenient sequence.

Let’s learn more about processes and entities themselves in order to solve this conflict.

Marketer is testing graphics on Google Play. This means that it will be much more convenient for him to get the full set of graphics and alternatives for tests on this platform. And only after tests he’ll adapt it to other platforms.

As graphics of one game for different platforms doesn’t differ much, it is useful for designer to automate adaptation. It doesn’t make sense to collect the same set of screenshots and an icon of one game for different platforms.

In order to reduce the routine and speed up workflow, it is useful to combine entities into categories and develop automatic solutions. I, for instance, draw icon versions for one app or similar in style for several platforms right away. Marketer is testing hypothesis for one app or checks one hypothesis on different apps.

To create categories, we should identify common features for entities. For instance, if visual message is the same and differs only in format, we should create categories by this feature. This way, the task goes to the technical level (resolution, aspect ratio, bleeds, color depth). As a result, we automate workflow and get rid of handwork.

Icons, cover, screenshots, banners belong to the first order category. That’s why I create source files for them. I keep separate psd-file for icons, covers, screenshots, and banners.

Now inside a certain source we should look for common features and create categories of the second order. For instance, based on similar technical requirements.

If there’s nothing in common, we need to divide entities into smaller elements and seek for patterns among them. For example, screenshot can be split into 4 elements: background, main graphics, logotype and text. Often background is the least expressive part, which we can even distort disproportionately. In other words, we can create one smart object of the highest resolution and adjust it to the size and aspect ratio of other platforms.

The same way works for smart objects of logotypes, main graphics and text. Only that here we must scale in proportion to the highest resolution.

Icons and covers often undergo tests. Because of this, designer needs to envisage the possibility to control versions and different solutions of one entity. I keep all versions in one file, while saving solutions in different folders.

Having automated adaptation of each category for all platforms, designer can create graphics right away, and marketer uses it in a convenient order.

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