Being A Web Designer, What Do You Do?

What is web design?

Web designers are tasked with creating the “front-end” of a website, which is the part that users actually see and interact with. Web designers also manage how design elements are implemented, organize content, and most importantly build the aesthetic appearance of the web page so that it is comfortable for users to see.

They are also responsible for choosing everything from photos and imagery, fonts, form language, color schemes, buttons, and how these elements fit together. They use design software (such as Photoshop or Sketch) to create mockups or image-based representations of what the final website will look like once the code is applied.

Therefore web designers are not responsible for the function of a web, they only have to focus on making the visual design of the web. Developers write the code that makes websites work, and website development requires different skills and sensibilities than design.

Where does a web designer fit into the process?

A web designer needs to work closely with several other people on his or her team. For clarity, here are some of the people involved in the steps for creating a website who may work with a web designer.

  • Website strategist: Conduct in-depth market research to set business goals for the overall website and individual pages.
  • Graphic designer: Creates the visual brand elements—logos, color schemes, typography—and graphic assets—illustrations and icons—that are used on websites.
  • Copywriter: Creates all written content—from headlines to body copy to button text—across websites.
  • UX (user experience) designer: Focuses on user needs, and designs skeleton web page layouts (called wireframes) that optimize website elements around user behavior and expectations.
  • UI (user interface) designer: Designs interactive elements such as buttons and forms.
  • Web designer: Focuses on all the visual elements of a website, and converts a wireframe layout into a ready-made web page design.
  • Front end web developer: Uses formatting and code languages ​​(HTML, CSS, Javascript) to implement web designs into web browsers.
  • Back end web developer: Uses coding languages ​​to develop more complex functionality behind the scenes of web pages.

In short, a web designer refers to the goals set by a website strategist and a UX designer wireframe and incorporates content from graphic designers, copywriters, and UI designers into a finished web page mockup. The developer then takes that design mockup file, separates and exports the graphic elements, and uses the code to turn it into a live web page. This all means that if you are looking to hire a web designer, you should have the strategy and most of your website content either rough or finished.

What are a web designer’s responsibilities?

Let’s take a look at the details of what a web designer is responsible for and what is not.

What a web designer does

Visual design and layout: Often using wireframes and sitemaps, web designers order and organize website content to optimize visual communication, hierarchy, and aesthetic sensibility.

Mobile and responsive design: Web designers also design the appearance of mobile and tablet versions of web pages.

Static mockup file: A web designer creates an image file that represents the final look of a web page.

Exportable design assets: Web designers overlay their mockup files so each page element can be easily separated and exported for developers to implement piece by piece into a working web page.

Photo editing: Web designers usually need to be able to edit the media assets that appear on the page.

Formatting: Web designers often use several formatting languages ​​(mainly HTML and CSS) to apply and test their designs in web browsers.

What a web designer doesn’t do

Coding: Web designers focus on the visuals and are usually not responsible for the coding of the website.

Writing: Web designers are not expected to write any website copy. Many use lorem ipsum placeholder text in their designs if a copy has not been prepared.

Branding: The web designer is not responsible for creating logos or making broad visual branding choices such as setting the color schemes and fonts to be used on company assets off web pages.

Illustration: Web designers don’t usually create illustrations for websites. They incorporate graphic assets created by other professionals into their designs. Some designers may design special elements if needed.

Photography: Web design and photography are separate disciplines. If the client has not hired a photographer, it is quite common for web designers to select and incorporate stock photos into their designs, a license the client must purchase.

Animations: Custom animations must go through a professional interaction designer or animator.

Market research: While web designers do some competitor research prior to their design, they don’t have access to all the data, analytics, and expertise that in-house marketing professionals have. Typically, web designers rely on clients to convey this information to them.

What skills do web designers need to have?

If you want to become a web designer, a bachelor’s degree is not enough to be reliable. In this day and age, more and more designers are learning to be self-taught with the many web design tutorials available that can be accessed easily. Here are some of the types of skills you may need to become a successful web designer.

Graphic design knowledge

After all, web designers are designers, and even if they don’t create logos, they should know how to combine text, copy, images, and color in a visually pleasing way. In particular, they must know how to strategically utilize design principles to create the desired effect on the viewer. This also includes knowledge of the history of design, knowing which design trends are still useful and which are redundant and tired.

Industry practices

Web design has been an established career path for more than two decades now, and a number of design conventions and standard practices have been established over time. Since websites are software that is meant to be discovered by users intuitively, it’s important to play with these conventions to meet user expectations, even while giving them your own artistic touch. These conventions typically relate to approaches to design and range from standard website layouts, grid systems, mobile-first designs, and more.

Software skills

While the basics of web page layout can start with paper and pencil, ultimately web designers need to use software to create files that their teams and/or clients can use. Photoshop is one of the most common software used for web design, but UX prototyping applications like Sketch have become increasingly popular among web designers.

Web development knowledge

While coding should usually be left to the developer, creating a website is a technical task no matter how you cut it. Web designers need to be aware of technical capabilities and limitations, which is why it often helps to have some familiarity with code to know what design options will work and what won’t. Some design or texture effects may be difficult to apply with code, and some can result in a file size that slows down the loading of web pages.

In conclusion, a web designer is a designer who must understand how to combine text, copy, images, and colors in a visually pleasing way, so that the web provides users comfort and makes them feel at home on the web.


Some web themes created by our author:

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