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What size do I make my PSD to start a web design?

The size of your PSD is determined by the minimum screen resolution (measured in pixels) your design is required to support. Once you know this then you can set a width to your PSD, height isn’t quite as important because the web is usually designed to scroll, so pages can be as long as you like. However, there is a height measurement to the “above the fold” area that you can take into account when you design for best usability.

You can determine what minimum screen resolution by checking your analytics to see what your users prefer when browsing your website. The standard  minimum screen resolution used by most web designers is currently 1024 pixel x 768 pixel, but larger screen resolutions are becoming more popular in mass.

However, you have to take into account scroll bars, tool bars, status bars, etc from the browsing screen. This means the actual size of your PSD will be smaller than the full screen resolution. So for instance, if you’re designing for the standard of 1024 pixel x 768 pixel then your actual canvas area on your Photoshop document should be 960 pixels wide and at least 565 pixels (the above the fold area) to fit in a browser correctly.

2 responses so far

  • Jeffrey
    Sep 17, 2010 at 4:47 am

    If you use 1000px you have more space for layout and it fits in a 1024 px monitor without a horizontal scrollbar.

    So why is it the photoshop document have to be 960px width?

  • Design Made Better
    Sep 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    960px is just a suggestion based on my experience. I prefer 960px so there’s still some background area on a 1024 width monitor to frame out the page a little bit. 960px is also more standard because many CSS frameworks are built for 960px width. 1000 px width can also be used, but I prefer a bit more wiggle room for off page overlay design elements etc plus all the points mentioned above.

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