I've been a programmer for a long time, web applications mostly but I have had a designer do the art work and layout for me about 80% of the time and the other piece I was either told what to put there, or used simplistic layouts with little graphics.
I'm now getting into designing my own custom sites and working with an ecommerce site of my own. I want to do my own design but I work a full time job. The reason I state all this, is because it took me roughly 4 hours to do one banner from start (idea) to finish (creation).
This seems like a really long time to me, especially since I can whip out an enormous amount of code in that same time, probably solve an entire large rated bug or do maintenance on another site. How long does it take you guys? Does it get faster? Is that about average?
Also, while spending a minimal amount of money, is it easy to get tools that would help me spin things out faster?
I'm not looking to design anything fancy, this was just a banner with a stock image in the back, a company logo that I framed with a border, another image I cut and smoothed the edges out on and a "ribbon" in the corner that had some "discount" text on it. The image is about 450x170. 4 hours, no drawing or sketching of my own except the lines for the ribbon.
Good? Bad? Average?
Will it speed up? Are there tools to speed it up? Should I just save my time and pay someone else?