You’re asking yourself: how to become a web designer? – let me give you information about this and maybe answer your question.
If you want to work in the web design field, you must know web design is a multi-skilled field, which asks for creativity, passion, knowledge of the latest technology, patients, the will to learn new stuff every day and many more, which I will be writing below.
What does a web designer do?
There are a lot of things a designer does, let me dive into it ASAP.
Here I’m talking about the “shape” of the website. It may vary from the form of the text, the font, images and videos which are displayed on a certain page, it can be also displayed on the homepage giving it an awesome look. But it does require to put your “soul” in it, give it a twist with passion.
You can do this with HTML and CSS – this are what the old web designers used to create website for themselves and their clients back in the 90’s. Nowadays you have all sorts of platforms such as WordPress (the most popular one), Joomla, Drupal and others.
Using platforms like the above ones will make your work much easier, when your setting up the website, assuming you already have the theme/template done.
What you will need
The basics are:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe After Effects (if you want to create a custom video or intro for the website)
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Flash
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor
- Corel draw
- GIMP (Free version)
I’m not talking about HTML or CSS here, but different aspects which make the website work: client-side scripts, server-side applications and so on.
Staying up to date with the latest trends
It is very important that you stay up to date with the technologies and trends which are poping up in your industry. If it’s not for passion, it’s surely for the need to survive. And the best part of this new trends, they are interesting, at least for me they are. I keep talking to my web designer friends about the latest and baddest trends which are emerging, we keep talking hours and hours about them.
More important thing, is the clients will surely care about the new trends if you talk to them.
Let me tell you a few things… with web design, the practices change quite frequently. Browser support and architecture is updated every 1-2 days, just take a look at Firefox, how often they release and update, Chrome as well, but Firefox is the King of Browser updates.
This is why you need to adapt to changes. I have a said: “Adapt or die”.
HTML5 and CSS3 are being supported more and more by an increasing number of devices and browsers. Let’s not forget about responsive design and mobile development – this are the most popular trends out there. On a side note: If your also doing SEO, I’d recommend to pay attention to this two (mobile development and responsive design) – they are an important factor when it comes to ranking websites.
If every designer is chatting about this latest trends, why shouldn’t you be talking about them as well? – If you have the passion for it, go for it – 99.9% have passion for web design, as per my own experience and friends.
What you will have to learn
Beside the above, it’s good to know programming and databases – with all of this you’ll have a general idea of what’s up with design.
Beside reading and learning from tutorials, I highly recommend you take a course for web designers, and go for one which you will see the teacher face to face and not on the monitor. Real human interaction is vital. Keep learning and when you get home implement what you’ve learned.
Just to motivate you, I’ve recently published an article about how much do web designers make. Go ahead and read it after this one.
- Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS, 3rd Edition
- The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks, 3rd Edition
- The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, 2nd Edition
- jQuery: Novice To Ninja
- Mastering CSS for Web Developers
- Modern Web Design & Development
Online and offline courses:
- tutsplus.com (highly recommended)
What are your possibilities to get hired as a web designer?
First I’d say you go out there and get experience, talk to clients, be unique in your own way, create your style.
Talking to offline clients is going to be pain in the a** – excuse my language, but I’ve been many times in such situations. I personally prefer working with online clients. But don’t get me wrong, offline clients can be very nice with you. Just like in life, you get to know good and bad people.
After you have a decent “amount” of experience, look to aim hire in this industry. Go after big jobs, you can find them on SmashingMagazine.com – they employers pay pretty well.
If you want to go the freelancer route, make yourself a cool looking website and put all the details alongside your best works (in the portfolio) and go with advertising, online and offline.
You could try advertising on: (in no particular order)
- Google AdWords – this might be too expensive, but if you do a little bit of research you can end up with a good CPC = Cost Per Click
- Bing – never tried it, but heard only good things about advertising on Bing.
- Facebook Ads – excellent ad platform, you can target specific stuff with it.
- Newspapers – I’m sure you have a big newspaper or more in your city. Buy a few ads there and see how it’s working for you.
- Local shops – walking in and asking to your flyers in the shops, speak to the shop owners about this, and try to promote yourself to them as well.
- Word of mouth – tell all your friends and family, you can create stunning websites. And ask them to spread the word.
Remember to stay motivated, think about why are you doing this (why you want to be a web designer) – people have lots of stuff on their mind all the time.
Most important part NEVER, EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! No matter what!
If you made it this far (reading the article) – I salute you and hope you enjoyed it and learned from it.
What I’ve listened to while writing this article:
- Joe Satriani
- Steve Vai