What does a web designer do?

These visual architects are responsible for the overall awesomeness of a website’s look—its layout, colors, fonts, icons, buttons, the whole shebang. Although not always required, many web designers have mad coding skills too, so they not only come up with a design, they use a programming language, such as CSS, Ruby, SQL, Python or ASP to implement it. Designers often know several languages or some varying combination of them.

“Having a wide skill set is critical in the industry,” says Brett Hartmann, founder of and lead web developer at Bitcookie, a web design and Internet-marketing agency. “[At a design agency], often that means a combination of either code and design, design and marketing or design and project management.”

What skills do you need?
Obviously, you need a good design eye and an understanding of layout, hierarchy, color theory, typography and web font. A strong grasp of UX/UI design foundations is also important. It helps you create a seamless design that smoothly guides users through a site without them getting frustrated.

You should also have good instincts, adds UX designer Tamara Wiesen, product designer at FeeX, a financial services startup that helps people save money. Trusting your instincts will help you navigate new terrain.

And be adaptable, says Hartmann. “Technology changes rapidly, and being able to flow with it smoothly is often more important than being the best designer in town.”

Who is a web designer’s boss?
A freelance designer typically reports directly to the clients. If a designer’s at a larger company, a project manager or an art, UX or design director may call the shots. At a smaller agency, the boss might be the owner, if he chooses to oversee each project.

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