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Are You a Web Designer?

Joshua Lane / / 11 Comments

I’ve come across a number of people over the years who consider themselves “Web Designers”. However, they’re really just graphic designers who design websites. What’s the distinction? They don’t really know their medium (HTML/CSS).

If you don’t know and understand the presentation layer – how can you effectively design for it?

This post somewhat inspired by Jeff Croft’s But who owns Javascript?.

Comments Abound

Delightful thoughts & feedback about this article

Jina Bolton /

are YOU a web designer???

Jim Jeffers /

I’m in 100% with you on this one. We can’t let software soften us from the reality that the markup and the front end coding is our canvas. If you never touch your canvas and take the time to learn about it you won’t be very effective as a designer who depends on it.

beth /

Amen. We just had to have job title changes at my work because of all the people employed calling themselves web designers who don’t write code. Could you call yourself a print designer if you didn’t understand color separations?

ikram /

so, if i design in photoshop and handcode my websites, that makes me a webdesigner right? Although I dont like em’s and IE hacks? :) just asking :)

SammyK /

Yeah, a web designer really needs to have the skills to cut their own designs. I know a ton of guys that can design some really badass designs, but can’t cut it to save their life. Just as painters need to know their tools/paints/canvases, so a web designer should know how to cut.

ikram /

how about those BIG creative agencies like TBWA, Leo Burnett, etc etc, do they really have webdesigners? or someone give creates a bad ass design and some poor soul has to figure out how the heck to cut it…

Whiskey /

This is where the “what do you do for a living?” question get’s tricky, right?

(Full disclosure, i do PHP, JS, HTML, CSS, some Graphics utilities and know something about colors and layouts)

There are your Web Layout Graphical Designers, who use (let’s say) Photoshop to get the Template going.

Then you have the Graphical Layout(X)HTML/CSS Translators, you code just on those languages (and/or can do the above job too).

Then you have the PHP/ASP coders, those who take the work from the above guys and using snippets and code will make the data flow inside the (X)HTML/CSS templates. (This guys know about of the above but know not much about design and such).

So “What do you do for a living?”… A:”I make webpages”.

BTW:

how about those BIG creative agencies like TBWA, Leo Burnett, etc etc, do they really have webdesigners? or someone give creates a bad ass design and some poor soul has to figure out how the heck to cut it…

Yeap… they do.

Bill Heaton /

Yep, Agreed! Web designers ought to be up to speed with Web Standards, it just makes sense. Now is the best time ever for Print designers to learn the code. There are CSS frameworks for grid layout, 960.gs ; alistapart.com has plenty of articles, like, using a baseline grid on a web site. I think Web designers also ought to know tradition design as well, I guess it works both ways.

Stone4heart /

yes i understands web standards and can design nice simple easy looking website and do the code css, xhtml, and basic seo techniques, so i call myself a web designer, i think a good web designer understand how his design will affect the visitor, in various screen how his site gonna look, he should know at least basic seo techniques ( you can read books like “Building Findable Websites”)

j /

If you don’t know and understand the presentation layer… how can you effectively design for it?

… – bad character /set there. irony?

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