A Graphic Designer is Not a Web Designer

Some months ago, I had a discussion with some young designers about web design and web development. They argued that because of their background, they can work as Web Designers/Developers. However, there is a huge misunderstanding in the graphic design community, where some believe that it is just because they are “Graphic Designers” that are Web Designers by default. In fact, most of them do not even care about learning HTML and CSS and jump right from Photoshop or Fireworks to Dreamweaver in design mode. I know countless people that are working as Web Designers without knowing the web standards and this is because there are a lot of open-source CMS’s that allow them to build websites the easy way. Also, because HTML and CSS are both so easy, they think that they already know them and put less effort into learning it.

A Web Designer should master HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, probably not at the level of Front-end Developers, but he/she should not depend on calling a developer or using Google when the page is not rendering properly in all browsers.

In my opinion, the problem is not Dreamweaver or any other IDE; the problem is the wrong use of those tools. For example, Dreamweaver is a very good IDE if the design view mode is avoided by the Developer. It speeds up the development phase with fewer errors than notepad and keeps us more organized. Another problem is the use of some prefabricated scripts for some effects in JavaScript that generate horrendous code, which is impossible to maintain.

I do not see the problem with any professional IDE or text editor if it is used properly. I use Aptana a lot in my daily basics, not only because it is a very good IDE with autocompletion feature, but also you can use git without even leaving the environment. In the end, we cannot blame a tool for something that is our responsibility. Writing, documenting, and maintaining code is part of our jobs.

But let’s go further, what about Information Architecture, User Experience, Usability, Accessibility, and so on. So, NO, you are not a Web Designer yet. But you can be if you continue and educate yourself about how users interact with web pages.

Hopefully, this encourages Graphic Designers to read and understand how to design and create awesome stuff for the Web.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software engineer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provides services in design, development, and consulting.

Over the last ten years, he has taught hundreds of students at an undergraduate and graduate levels. He loves teaching and mentoring new designers and developers to navigate the rapid changing field of UX design and engineering.

Articles: 183