What do you need to be a web designer?

What do you need to be a web designer? Well to be honest that’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many different areas of web design that to be good at all of them would be to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. One thing is certain though, you will need experience and dedication, with one comes knowledge and the other comes success. Knowledge is everything, once you get some experience you will soon realise how important it is. Things, techniques and trends change so much and so quickly that you will need to be dedicated to keep up.

Two things you will need.

Now to master every element of web design would be too much but we can group these elements into key areas and master the knowledge of both, those key areas are Visual and Code. First lets start with visual.

Visual designer

Being able to draw is not essential but it would help greatly, if you can visualise with pen and paper you will already have a good start. Learning about design will involve the use of grid systems and how things line up in a layout, knnowing about typography and how sans or sanserif fonts can relate to or impact your design, the use of whitespace or the rule of third to give your design breathing space, how to give your design eye candy for flow and visual guidance, how colour is used in a complimentary way to enhance your design and give it a mood. These are just a few elements and I could go into greater detail about each but that’s not what this post is about.

Code designer

This is where logic meets creative and things become more technical, I would say that there are only a small few who have the ability to adapt both visual and logical skill sets seamlessly! The web is a fluid place and things don’t always work the same in all browsers so understanding web standards and W3C is essential. Learn how to markup using new HTML5 tags and understand the separation from style and content using CSS or CSS3 if your feeling a little cutting edge, learn how to structure cross platform clean readable HTML to maximise your SEO results, how to degrade your code and future proof for modern browsers, how to optimise your images and your code to speed up load times, understanding PHP code and how functions and classes are used, how to integrate PHP into your HTML markup, how to integrate a content management system, an understanding of jQuery to give your page a bit of movement or intereactivity. As you can see this is more technical than being purely visual.

Any questions?

Well there you have it, that’s my take on what you need to be a web designer, let me know your opinions or if you think I’m way of the mark here, I would love to get your feedback.