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Designers, Swim Hard or Sink Deep

Designers, Swim Hard or Sink Deep

2019-09-23 |

Swim with current or go against the tide and sink in a sea of lazy code, uninspired ideas and unoriginal design.

These days its becoming more and more difficult to be “just” a designer. In the past few years it has been slowly creeping up to the point where designers must be front end coders to really succeed in the web design industry, why is this? From what i can gather, good designers that can actually hand code to a very good standing is something rare. On the other hand there are a lot of designers out there that can code (a bit) and are not the greatest designers in the world… but they get the job done. Then all we are left with is the designers who cannot code at all, but are excellent at what they do.

What would you rather? An excellent designer who cannot code, or a designer and coder who is average or below at both. The answer is somewhat complicated and not all it seems.

Don’t Fight The Current

In the next few years high end front end development and maybe even some programming knowledge will be an absolute must and a definite job description for even just a junior design position. The technical and online world is moving at incredible speed, one minute we are learning css and html, then its scss and grunt, now we need git knowledge and command line basics, when will it end?!

Well I’m sorry to tell you less techie designers out there that it will never end, the web is evolving and will continue to evolve for a long as we are around, new screen sizes, apps, development tools and much more will be coming out in waves every year, and we have no option but to swim with current or go against the tide and sink in a sea of lazy code, uninspired ideas and unoriginal design.

Plenty More Reason

Learning to code has so many advantages for designers to exploit. Take control, when you have complete control over the way your website is built you can strive for absolute perfection, with no quarrels about what can and cannot be done, no missing pixels or padding that just doesn’t look the same, no issues with mobile styles that get left unnoticed until the day of launch and a code structure that works in the way your design was intended, who else is better to create your creations than yourself?!

Learning To Code

Sometimes it can be difficult to delve deep into the world of HTML 5, SASS, GiIT and all of the other development standards current established, but the key is to juggle everything relative to what you need to know now. When starting out just focus on the basics, get to grips with basic HTML and CSS, practise building some pages you have designed and see what obstacles you come across. In coding the best lesson is the doing. Once you start and you begin to get stuck, this is when your learning begins. Once you have a wealth of basic knowledge you will soon see that the complex code is far easier to understand. Remember not to try learning EVERYTHING, stressing that you must be a senior developer to be seen as as worthy is just unrealistic, just learn what you need to know and your knowledge will develop naturally.

Designing For Code

One important point to remember in this code v design predicament is to not forget that your web design work will improve drastically and naturally the more and more you understand about the process of building websites. Designers that can code are far more the more equipped to design websites that are more usable, structured, optimised and on trend with the current standards. Another advantage of being your own coder is the time saving aspects. Website amendments can be tricky when the design and development process is split, being able to design in browser is a far easier and more practical than having to open photoshop, do all of your amends and then send them to a developer for them to do it a slightly different way. Again this comes down to total control, something designers should have when dealing with any aesthetics in a project.

Is It Worth It?

As stated before the industry has changed immensely in the past few years and if your knowledge exceeds that of just design, then your avenues are vastly increased. Prospective employers love design/dev “ninjas”, its shows your dedication to the industry and you willingness to keep up with the field. A portfolio full of fantastic designs coupled with a solid understanding on code will give you a massive advantage and a base for you to build upon.