Website design, while a relatively new industry, is now an essential part of a company’s image, brand, and advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns. The side of web design that would be considered graphic design is the creation of the actual look and feel of a website. Many web designers are also involved in web development, creating the functionality behind a working website. Even if someone wants to just focus on the design side, an understanding of the technology behind websites is essential to create designs that are both attractive and functional.
Type of Work
Work for web designers can include:
- Designing websites to hand off to developers
- Designing web banner ads
- Creating animated flash websites
- Creating mockups and site wireframes
- Understanding web technologies
- Understanding browser and operating system differences
- Working closely with web programmers
Software Used in Web Design
For someone working on the design side of website, Photoshop is the most popular software. Often a designer will create one or several layouts in Photoshop and hand them off to a developer, who will create a working site based on them. For those continuing into the development side, products such as Dreamweaver, GoLive, and countless HTML and CSS editing programs can be used.
The Technology Side
There are often differences between web designers and programmers, each with their own goals in mind. Web designers are looking to create the most beautiful site possible, while programmers want something fast and functional. Being a great web designer means understanding both sides, and creating websites that look good and that are designed with function in mind (therefore avoiding these differences). While the ability to code by hand may not be necessary, it is important to know what types of layouts are feasible, how they will appear in different browsers, and what typefaces and color combinations work well on screen rather than on paper. These types of questions make web design an interesting and challenging profession.