Branding Webtop 6.6

We have customized webtop 6.6 for our application. While we customized some of the webtop components, we used a lot of OOTB components as well. So the end result is a partially customized webtop with default webtop look and feel.

Now we plan to hire a UI design team which would design the UI for this application. What should be our approach regarding creating design

1. Should we give them the default webtop CSS and ask them to extend this to change the webtop look and feel

2. Should we let them create the new CSS from scratch and then incorporate the look and feel in our webtop application? Will this not mean that we have to extend all the components in Webtop (even the OOTB ones) and change the JSP

Please let me know what is the best practise around this and how is it usually done.

Thank you
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I'm not familiar with webtop 6.6, but I can say that good design happens far away from code - so if you're designer's canvas is a CSS file you've skipped right over the creative and contextual treatment step (creating a layout that addresses all of the necessary sections).

So to answer your question, "What should be our approach regarding creating design" I would say some form of:

1.) Research & Analysis of content/context/purpose/audience/etc
2.) Draft design in image tool (i.e. Photoshop)
3.) Review / make changes / refine
4.) Slice into HTML/CSS

The point here, is that the slicing is the last step; and moreover, there's no design or creative at that point, it's simply a matter of connecting the dots from the design that's already been thought out.

If you don't have the time or budget for this process, and you're asking the designer to do their creative inside the CSS, you'll just have to understand the limitations. I'd recommend you provide them with a place where they can edit the current CSS and see it's effect in real time on the website.
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