Dev

For designers, version control is a big problem — but GitHub is close to solving it

Above: GitHub's famous mascot, Octocat.

Image Credit: GitHub

Everyone wants to be “GitHub for designers.” But now GitHub is GitHub for designers.

The design biz has no industry standard for backing up old versions of files, monitoring changes, or even organizing documents. As a result, most designers resort to awkward naming conventions (e.g.: “newdesign-1.022-draft.PSD”) or don’t track changes at all.

Many companies have tried to solve this problem — including PixelapseLayerVault, and even Adobe. But none of them managed to change the habits of the (designer) masses. None lived up to the vision of building “the GitHub for designers.”

But today, a small update from GitHub adds a twist to the story: The firm now supports PSD viewing and diffing (monitoring the differences between files), enabling designers to see when PSDs have changed and view who changed what.

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Ultimately, GitHub still has work to do if it really wants to win over designers who aren’t that code-savvy. The service packs a steep learning curve and is first and foremost a site for programmers — as Git was designed.

Still the above changes represent an interesting shift. Given GitHub’s size and the role it plays in countless Web design projects, GitHub has a real, fighting chance of winning over designers.

More about the companies and people from this article:

GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over two million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.... read more »

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49 comments
István Csáki
István Csáki

Interesting, shortage but when we use to Illustrator files for this?

enemykite
enemykite

@nathos Have you ever needed version control for design? More I just wish Photoshop saved 100% history in the files so you could backtrack.

mtrythall
mtrythall

@zakiwarfel Odd that PSDs are a concern. That's not a tool that's often in my team's workflow these days.

Jennifer Chan
Jennifer Chan

The File size limit throws media producers off the most I think

TheMetroGuy
TheMetroGuy

@strober Looks promising. Now I'm dropbox for saving and sharing across devices with little support for file revisions.

Jason Conaway
Jason Conaway

Have designers not heard of Perforce and its P4GT plugin?

Tadeu Jaccoud
Tadeu Jaccoud

pelo que eu entendi: isso ai faz vc ver mudanças entre psds? não é mais fácil abrir o photoshop e ver o que mudou?

Jin Suh Kim
Jin Suh Kim

이준형 github에 psd파일용 버전관리가 추가 됐데~

Terry Xu
Terry Xu

 why is it *close* to solving it? isn't it a solution by github?

if the missing piece is only adoption by designers but not missing feature then I will start using it today.

nathos
nathos

@enemykite I absolutely have, but I was more making fun of the assumption that design == Photoshop.

pwcc
pwcc

@sealfur they've done it with flat images for a while, shows they're thinking about it. BTW, top wedding last night, 5 stars

enemykite
enemykite

@nathos I guess I just don’t see much need in version control for PSD files.

RaquelRomanP
RaquelRomanP

@wuotr @timsegers haha ja dat snap ik ook niet goed? :D de developers zijn daar nu pas mee bezig? Of de designer is het aant uitprobere?

luckymethod
luckymethod

@zakiwarfel because it's such a minuscule part of a designer workflow that I doubt it will change anything. Problems are elsewhere.

nathos
nathos

@enemykite I tend to agree. As a collaboration tool, maybe it’s more useful. filename_final_FINAL_rev2.psd makes me rage :)

timsegers
timsegers

@RaquelRomanP @wuotr Alles draait al jaren op SVN hier. Werkt prima, maar Git is moderner. Migratie is dus aan de gang atm :)

enemykite
enemykite

@nathos Yeah. I’d rather just save 1 file and have a slider in photoshop to backtrack to a white canvas.