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Should I Become a Web Designer?

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What is a Web Designer?:

A Web designer is the person responsible for determining the look of a website. They design the layout, the colors, the fonts, and all the visual aspects of the site.

The following questions detail some of the common aspects of working as a Web designer for a company (not freelancing). The more of the questions that you can honestly answer "yes" to the more suited Web design is to you as a profession. Remember, however, that Web design is only one way to work on Web pages. There are also jobs as Web programmers, Web producers, Web writers and graphic artists, and Web freelancers. You may be better suited to one of these professions.

Are you interested in the Web?:

Most Web designers love the Web. They browse it a lot and love looking at other Web pages. While it's possible to do the work without enjoying the medium, if you don't like Web pages, eventually designing them will start to annoy you. If you aren't interested in the Web, then looking for a job as a Web designer isn't a good idea.

Do you consider yourself artistic?:

While not all designers feel they are artistic, at its heart, Web design is an art form. Most designers have a goal of making pages that look good and meet the customer and client needs. While you don't need to be able to draw or paint to be a Web designer, you do need to develop an aesthetic sense so that you can see when things are working and when they aren't.

Many Web designers come from a graphic arts background. This is a great basis for a career as a Web designer, as long as you remember that Web design is not the same as print design.

Does making things look pretty or "right" appeal to you?:

Web designers focus on the visual design of pages. They are more concered with how a page looks than whether or not the scripting works. In fact, most designers would argue that if a page looks wrong, then it won't work correctly even if the coding is correct. If you find yourself obsessing over tiny details of the visual design, you are well suited to be a Web designer. Most Web designers want their designs to be perfect down to the smallest pixel.

Do you like working with layout?:

Web designs start with layout. If you would rather work with graphics you should think about Web graphic design instead. If you'd rather work with text, you should consider Web writing.

Do you like working with computers?:

Web design is ultimately a computer art form, and if you don't feel comfortable on a computer you won't feel comfortable in this career. But the benefit of being a Web designer, rather than a Web programmer or Web producer, is that you don't have to learn HTML or learn CSS if you really don't want to. Many Web designers work solely in WYSIWYG editors and leave the coding up to the programmers and producers on their team. It is even possible to get a job as a designer working solely in Photoshop, but that is less common.

I recommend that you spend some time learning the basics of HTML and CSS so that you know what the languages are capable of. And most hiring managers will expect you to have some understanding of the languages. But unless you're on a team without a programmer or producer, you don't need to spend a lot of time on the languages. You should know more about principles of Web design.

Can you work well with other people?:

Most Web designers are a part of a team of people working on the website. If you don't like working with other people or want to do everything yourself, you should consider freelancing or working at a very small company. Otherwise, you'll almost certainly have to pass on your designs to Web producers to create the HTML and CSS, to Web programmers to create the functionality, and to Web writers and graphic artists to fill in the content. You might have to fill some of these roles yourself, but most companies split these jobs to some extent.

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