It’s all about creativity and lucrativeness. The web design profession is one of the most highly in-demand jobs in the market.
And the great news is that being one doesn’t have to take you eternity.
The most important skill needed to become a great web designer is creativity.
This means that anyone creative enough to create something from a mere idea can become a web designer.
And because of the high demands of web designers this year and (beyond) the need to learn web designing might be a good point.
Many companies both big and small are continuously revamping their websites while new companies are looking for that unique look and feel for their web presence.
Everyone wants to create a unique identity which is separate and represents their very own brand in every sense.
This means that to design a website, there is a bunch load of things that needs to be put in mind and that’s especially branding.
As a web designer, you’ll need to work with colors, typographies, layout and renderings, navigation, forms and so many things that will express the brand you’re working for.
For example, of you’re to design a sub website for CNN, you can’t go ahead and design something that gets out of the scope of their brand which includes their color, fonts, layout etc.
This means that before you can design a stunning website, you need to do your homework and carry out a lot of researches to understand what you’re really getting into.
So that leads to the topic, which is the starting a career as a web designer in the right way. I’d assume you’re pretty new to the field and needs guides and ideas. That’s why I’d start from onset.
Get the right tools
There is no single job or career that doesn’t require the right tools for efficiency.
Even if you’re a sales person, you need the right set of tools to help you proceed and make your job simplified.
Now as far as web designing is concerned, there is a number of tools that you need to own and master which will all work together for your good.
For example, you need a couple of software of some hardware.
Designing websites doesn’t just start with imagination based on written specifications gotten from a UX engineer or a product manager.
You need to set a clear view of what you’re doing and how you’re going to achieve those.
And since the developmental processes lies on your shoulder, your ability to deliver the best solution will determine the success of the entire web project as a whole.
Which is why the very right tool is compulsory for the right job. Like I’ve said before, before some tools might work as a stand alone while others are dependent. So this means being able to perfectly combine two tools together will enhance the result gotten and how great the overall web project will feel when presented back to the client.
Adobe CC Suite
This is a great tool for anyone working with the user interface part of any project.
Although many people have personalized the Adobe suites to be a tool for only graphic designs, that’s very wrong in every sense.
The Creative Cloud suite consists of multiple software that can be used independently or combined to create amazing solution as far as web design is concerned.
Although you’re required to pay some certain amounts (since it’s monthly subscription around $17) this might be all you need to get started as a web designer.
Other lists can be
3.) Guide Guide
Visual HTML editor
This is another important tool to own. While there is a number of web design drag and drop editor out there on the web (Wix.com) being a great example, you might need to write your own code therefore the need for a visual HTML editor.
Aside this, there are others that do exactly the same job (if not better) while some are paid, others are free. A list of those are…
1.) Adobe DreamWeaver (Paid software – buy individually – from $19.99 per month)
2.) WebFlow ( Free to $35 per month )
3.) Macaw – (Free to Download)
4.) Microsoft Expression Web 4 (Free to Download)
5.) Sketch – (one off fee of $99)
A Tablet and a Stylus
Creative inspiration comes anyhow and anywhere. You can be in the public transport and see something that you feel you translate into a web look.
Being able to sketch on the go right into your tablet computer is very important.
That’s why you need a stylus and a tablet. The reason for the stylus is to get more accuracy as far as drawing digitally is concerned.
You wouldn’t have to be using your hand to trace or stuffs like that but utilising something you’re already used to in the past (holding a pen).
Also, the tablet and the stylus can be a great tool for UX engineers because it allows them. To easily sketch out ideas with ease and quicker.
A Laptop computer
I shouldn’t tell you the need to have a Laptop computer. There are numerous Windows computers out there costing as low as $299 which can help you get started with your web design pursuits.
The need to always practice what you learn is very important and that’s why you need a computer. And as a matter of fact, a computer won’t only help you to code or design better due to it’s larger display, it will also be a good storage point for you where you can save all your works for later retrieval. Although I do recommend using the cloud storage and hard drives.
So owning the right tools makes your job easier and achievable in every sense. So as a web designer, you shouldn’t go about without having the right tools in place. A tablet with a stylus for jotting and designing concepts which you can translate on your computer into a real graphical mockup or even code out as an application layout which can then be worked on to function with the server side.
Learn the right technology
Udemy is a great place to start off with gaining experience with web designing while you learn from experts and professionals alike.
Now rather than beating about the Bush learning the wrong technologies, your time might be wasted while you might end up knowing something that’s not necessarily useful to your career pursuit.
Therefore learning the right skills will enhance your knowledge of web designs and make you outstanding among others.
HTML and CSS
I’ve said it before, web designers aren’t limited to designing graphical layouts of a web application.
The more versatile you are, the better it is for you to become better and outstanding.
Simply put, of you’re able to code out your graphical rendering, that’s a big plus which will help simplify the development process of the web project.
Remember that any web project usually starts off with the web designer (usually UI/UX engineers) Your output becomes the inputs of the server side core developers. As you can see, you’re way important than you can imagine.
You need to learn graphic designs. Although this time, you’re not learning how to manipulate images or swap people’s heads, you just need to learn how to go about creating objects that you can use to render a web look and feel but in a graphical way.
This is where your ability to create an idea comes alive.
Since Web designing is a very wide job with big responsibilities, understanding many skills will help you stay right at the top of your game while you grow.
Gone are the days when you need to pay a big chunk of fee to some whacks to learn designing, but nowadays, you can simply learn for free by attending video tutorials on Youtube and reading numerous blogs of Graphic Designers to understand how far you can get with graphic designs.
While Intense Graphic Design isn’t necessarily needed to become a Web Designer, you still need to learn the peripherals of the skills to broaden your knowledge of image and content manipulations so that you can draw objects and design layouts using a computer.
How To Become A Web Designer
To become a web designer, you need to learn. Like I do say to people that asks me the same question, Everything you want to venture into in your lifetime starts with learning.
It’s what you learn that you develop yourself upon. So as mentioned above, you first need to get hold of the right tools and technologies which you can learn on the side to compliment your skills. While those skills you’ve learnt won’t automatically make you a great web designer at the onset, you need to develop yourself over time which leads me to this list.
#1. Learn! Learn! Learn!
Everything starts with learning. So your first step to becoming a web designer is by learning the right skills. Like I’ve said above, rendering layouts in graphical orders isn’t the end of Web Designing. While majority of web designers can also be called Front-End developers, this means they are creative coders.
So you need to learn various skills like graphic designs and useful Frontend Programming languages. While you don’t necessarily needs to go extremely core with your coding knowledge while starting off as a web designer, you should know how to do basic things like creating responsive layouts, working with navigation, coloring, fonts, layout, table and grids.
While you’re learning to code, you need to always practice because when you learn to code, you must also practice what you learn. While some websites like Codecademy will present you with a good learning board which consists of the tutorial part, the practical part (to input your code) and the result part (which outputs your codes). This platform is especially great for beginner web designers (front-end developers)
Dummies is another nice website to learn coding online. They have a huge pile of e-books that you can learn from and perfect your coding skills in order to pursue a career as a front-end designer.
Another place is Youtube. While learning graphic manipulations online might not be a very theoretical, the most practical place to learn is via Youtube because you get to see how the designer (or tutor) is creating objects while you can follow up on your own right on your computer
#2. Find a Great Mentor
Mentorship is very fundamental to any profession. Whether via the internet or physically, you need someone who can always put you through whenever you’re going wrong. Assuming you’re interning in a company with professionals, you can always confide in your team lead to guide you through and offer you personal tutorship on how to go about web designing on the long run.
Mentors won’t only make you better overtime, they will also motivate you to become a good version of yourself which is why you sincerely need one.
With lots of great web designers online today whom you can connect with by reading their contents regularly, listening to their podcasts and advises online and watching their tutorials on Youtube, you can perfect your design skills in no time and be at the top of your game and be sought after by big companies.
#3. Know which path to take
Usually I don’t usually advice young people who are starting off to start freelancing unless you’re still in college or university studying. Aside that, you should work full time.
While there are a numerous designers lamenting about their 9 – 5 jobs out there, you might want to weigh in the risks. As stated earlier, you need a mentor that can guide you and correct you when things go wrong. While you don’t necessarily need a physical mentor before you can get a good hold of your career, believe me, most big web designers are usually too busy and might not trat your issues personal (unless you really know what you’re doing) whenever you approach them with your problems.
So know which path to take whether to freelance or work full time for a company. While both come with it’s pros and cons, you can always weigh the two together and see which one is better for you and which isn’t.
#4. Be Flexible
In whatever career path you are trying to venture right into, you need to be flexible and diversify your abilities. For example, if you’re just a graphical web designer the one professionally known as UI (User interface) designer, then your annual wage might not be as that of a Front-End Developer who combines both graphical rendering with Coding.
Normally, depending on which company you work for, you might be able to fill in the gap of a UI/UX Designer and still be the Front-End developer. Which will enhance your relevance and importance in whatever web application projects being proposed.
So the need to be flexible is very important as it will make you appear more professional which leads me back to the number one point of learning. The more time you spend becoming a web designer, the better skilled you become over the time.
#5. Get Inspired from others
Creating a masterpiece from scratch these days might look like an impossible task. Look at it from this angle, if you’re tasked to design an e-commerce website, chances are that you’ll most likely design the website the traditional way majority of e-commerce websites are despite the fact that you didn’t copy ideas from anyone or anywhere.
But the fact that you’ve gone through numerous e-commerce websites will automatically register that design look and feel in your brain so whenever you’re tasked to create something within that industry, you start creating what it seems others have already created.
What I’m trying to say is that you need to get inspired by others. Because these days, depending on your clients, when you’re tasked to design something, they usually want something that is generally acceptable. That’s why it would be odd if Amazon suddenly redesign their website to look like a newspaper website like Washington Post.
So gather numerous projects and see how they’re done, then create yours from them and you get something unique but still within that range of industry.
#6. Brand yourself
Branding is one big thing many web designers don’t even know about. Most think until they become a freelancer or create their own business, then they don’t need to brand. But that’s very wrong. Branding doesn’t end with adding your own watermark to images or putting your URL at the footers of your creatives.
Creating something that whenever anyone sees it, they can easily relate or trace it back to you means branding. While branding yourself from the onset won’t only make you appear professional in every sense, it will also make you appear approachable.
Every companies wants to work with someone they can reference not some road side junkie that have no identity. You should learn to package your skills and create a brand around your products so that people can reckon with your work. And that should start from the onset of your career approach as a web designer.
Now you know what it really takes to becoming a web designer. As a lucrative profession, you won’t only get to work with other professionals in your field but also have the chance of expressing your knowledge and capacities. I hope this helps in your journey into becoming a great web designer. Post your comments and share with your buddies.