Web designer—n.

August 27, 2009

What is a Web designer? Good question. And depending on who you ask in the Web industry, you are bound to get a lot of different answers. So let me share what I mean when I call myself a Web designer.

First and foremost, a Web designer is a problem solver. A client comes with a message they want to communicate, information that they want to share, or a product or products that they want to sell. My job is to find an appropriate visual solution that will tell their story and connect people with the service they are offering or selling.

I craft a solution by visually organizing the text, images and video on the page to communicate my client’s message. I also craft a visual personality that helps supports the communication of that message.

A Hybrid ???

I have always assumed that a Web designer was one who not only came up with a visual design but also had the skills to build that design. My thinking is shaped by the fact that I first got into Web design by learning HTML so that I could create a Web page. This was back in the late 1990’s and visual design on the Web was in its infancy. Slow connections meant that you had to be creative to add graphics to a page and make it efficient to download. So I learned to code in HTML and later in CSS so that I could bring my creations to life.

Hence, I have always thought that it served a Web designer well to know how to build his or her creation (read a recent post on the subject.) There are many times when I will not even do a design comp but jump right into writing HTML and CSS and create as I build. I know what graphics I want to create and I prefer doing that in Fireworks. As I code, I begin to craft the design and start adding in details that make the design really come to life.

It is only recently that I have come to realize that many consider me unique. Hybrid is one of the words that someone used to describe my skills. I never thought of myself that way because most of the designers that I follow code their designs.

What are your thoughts? What word or words do you use to describe the work you do?

1 Comment

  1. Jason Weaver

    September 3rd, 2009

    I totally agree with you Jeff. I myself came into Web design learning HTML and CSS and I’m confused when people call themselves web designers but have no idea how to code. To me, it just goes together. The more you understand about “the how”, the more you’re able to create a great web experience for your users.

    I often work at a co-working office in downtown Bryan, Texas and I’ll overhear graphic designers having a difficult time conveying their original message to a developer. Think of the time wasted. I don’t see how people work like that.