While even Web Designers themselves in their many numbers would probably each come up with a different definition of what Web Design is, to be technically correct, Web Design exists as a specialised field within the broader Graphic Design field, focussing on the design of engaging websites. You’ll require an understanding of the online working environment in order to create a site that’s suitable for the specific objectives of the business, i.e. does the client want to sell products from their website (E-commerce site) or does the client simply want the website to be an information portal for potential customers, investors, etc? Read on to get a good briefing on exactly what it takes to possibly pursue a career in Web Design.
Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000
Average salary: £23,000
Salary information taken from www.payscale.com, from National Salary, without bonuses
Qualification requirements (Information taken from nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk)
Formal qualifications in Web Design are non-essential. What matters is your ability to get the job done, although many designers do go the formal qualifications route to familiarise themselves with certain universally accepted and practiced principles and standards. It definitely gives one the upper hand if you’ve completed undergraduate or postgraduate courses as part of a degree course or specialist web design course, or if you complete a non-essential creative or technical degree/course/module(s) in the Fine Arts, Computer Science or Graphic Design.
Self-taught Web Designers are just as active in the field as those who went through formal qualification routes, many of whom are just as competent as well. The basics and essentials of Web Design can be accessed via many online tutorials and guides, with plenty of walk-through examples and projects with which the budding Web Designer can get some good practice. Standards and standard practices do come into consideration once you start working with clients however, especially if working as part of a team.
At the end of the day however the competent Web Designer simply needs to be able to demonstrate their Web Design skills, making use of the various common Web and Graphic Design tools deployed by both freelancers and agency-employed Web Designers.
Skills requirements and experience
• Essential: Design experience – particularly working with web pages
• Essential: Creativity
• Essential: InDesign; Illustrator; Fireworks; Flash; Photoshop
• Teamwork with clients and colleagues
• Problem-solving and solutions-providing
• HTML or other coding knowledge
• Acquiring skills
Job duties (varying depending on the agency)
• Liaising with/presenting to clients to discuss their requirements and get their feedback
• Drawing up website specifications and site plans
• Designing websites, including text, colours and layout, in-keeping with the brand
• Working with graphics to make sure they’re right for the website
• Keeping on top of current design trends and developments
Any Web Designer or Web Design Agency is only as good as the samples they have to show in their work portfolio, and for those who choose to go the formal qualification route, the construction of a suitable and extensive portfolio forms part of the process of acquiring that qualification, so you’ll have a great start.