Galen Gidman


In this interivew, we have Galen Gidman who will share his experience and insights of Fireworks from a web designer’s perspective


To begin with, who are you and where are you from?
My name is Galen Gidman and I’m a Jesus-loving web designer from Missouri.


What do you work as in your day job?
High school! My junior year to be exact. Freelancing is just what I get to do in my evenings and weekends.


What type of projects do you work on in Fireworks and are there any challenges you faced that Fireworks have helped you?


Most of my design happens in Fireworks. Sometimes I’ll venture into Illustrator for logo design or Photoshop if I need to use brushes. But other than that, all my web / icon / UI design happens in Fireworks

I’ve tried Photoshop a couple of times for web stuff, but I really missed all of Fireworks’ vector capabilities. When it comes to the web, being pixel-perfect is a must. I feel like Fireworks does a much better job at this than Photoshop. Not that Photoshop is a *bad* product per-se — but let’s face it — it was created for photo-editing. That’s what it’s good at. Sure, you can pull off other stuff, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

Another thing that I found really interesting was how well Fireworks prepared me for Illustrator. Again… Fireworks handles vectors very well.


How long have you been using Fireworks?
Let’s see… I started using Fireworks in late 2008. My dad had an old copy of Fireworks MX from the Macromedia days (vintage!). I installed it on my laptop and started playing around. I used MX for quite a while before I upgraded to CS4 and subsequently CS5.


Why should a designer use Fireworks?
I would say designers should use Fireworks for a few reasons…

1) It’s very capable. You can do pretty much everything with it from web design to icon design to logo design to UI design — pretty much the works. I guess print design would be an exception, though.

2) It’s relatively light-weight for an Adobe CS app.

3) You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to learn it.

4) It’s inexpensive.

Is it perfect? Nope. No app is. Project Meteor (which I proudly support) has made that crystal clear. But at the moment, it’s the best we have.


Fireworks excels as a rapid prototyping tool. How does Fireworks helps you in your daily design workflow?

I’m glad that you brought that up. Yup, Fireworks is great for rapid prototyping. If I’ve got an idea I want to get down, it’s pretty quick and easy to open Fireworks up and get something down. I can’t tell you how many half-finished designs for this or that I’ve got sitting around.

I would like to note though, that while Fireworks is amazing for rapid prototyping, it can be equally great when it comes to taking a design project from start to finish. I feel like sometimes people miss this aspect of Fireworks, but I think it’s important to be aware of Fireworks’ abilities that extend far beyond rapid prototyping.


If you can only list 5 favorite best features in Fireworks, what will they be? 

1) Path window/panel

2) Paste attributes

3) Snap to pixel

4) Pages

5) Batch processing


Many people compare Photoshop with Fireworks. What is your viewpoint in this?
It all comes down to what you need it for. If you’re doing any type of print design, then I can just about guarentee you don’t want to be in Fireworks. Same goes for photo editing (although that can be done in Fireworks, it’s not as good as Photoshop). But when it comes to web, interface, or mobile design, I think Fireworks is the way to go.

It really comes down to what you work best in though. If you can’t figure Fireworks out, but do good, efficient work in Photoshop… work in Photoshop for crying out loud. šŸ™‚ Do what you do best where you do it best.

Fireworks work even better with Fireworks extensions. What are your favorite extensions from other developers and how do you use it in your work?
Actually, I don’t use that many external extensions. I haven’t come up against anything I can’t already do yet, I guess. I should really look around sometime though — I know Aaron Beall has made quite a few.


Do you develop your own Fireworks commands?
Nope, I’m not that smart. šŸ™‚


Do you have a Fireworks tip for the Fireworks community?
If you’re new to Fireworks, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Fireworks users tend to be very passionate about their software of choice, and are generally ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. Twitter is probably the best place to get started.


Are you involved with any communities on the web?

I love online design communities. My two favorites are Dribbble ( and Forrst ( Pretty much all the design of you mine you’ll see there originated in Fireworks.


Do you have a blog? Where can we find you?


Yeah, you can check my blog out at — I don’t update too often, but when I do, I try to make it worth while. I also tweet quite a lot (@galengidman). That’s probably the best place to keep up with me.



Thanks for the opportunity to talk you, Galen.  Last question, any advice to the designers out there exploring Fireworks?
Thank you! It was fun. I hope I was able to give some helpful pointers and be remotely interesting in the process.



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