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What makes a good Web Designer? - Sonali Salvi
21st November 2011

It was time for us to search for a designer who could think like us and deliver good designs. Test time for the shortlisted candidates threw light on one aspect strongly. What is "Design"? What is expected of a "Web Designer"?

I started off in my career as a visualiser. In our college (Sir. J. J. institute of Applied Art), we knew what a visualiser meant. A person who becomes aware (of things or events) through the senses is a visualiser. Once you know what to put on paper what you see/feel in your senses, you have mastered the art of expression through external tools.

And what makes one a good designer?

To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner, which has both appeal and function to ones eye and brain describes a perfect graphic designer. Now, this sentence here is very important, because this very sentence holds the key to understanding what's expected of you when you apply for a post of a "Designer" in any stream.

I have always believed, artists cannot be created. They have that seventh sense that differentiates them from others. These artists breathe design every day. Their whole life revolves around seeing beautiful things. Good designers have an acute sense of colors, balance, shape, size and most important of all, medium. Designers see the world from a very different perspective. If you ever say, "that's a bad design", it just means elements in that particular canvas are just not in sync with each other.

What is expected of a "Web Designer"?

A Web designer is someone who designs Web pages. A Web designer is more focused on the look and feel of a website than how it works. This explains the visual part of the job description.

Web designers have the following skills:

  • Design / Visualization
  • Understanding of the medium (Web)
  • Some HTML
  • CSS
  • Project management

Companies looking for Web designers are looking for people with a good aesthetic sense that can build and maintain websites that look good, which is a first point of impression for that particular brand online. Web designers won't be asked to build Web programs or applications or maintain databases for data driven websites.

These days "Web Designer" is used as a Catchall. Some people use the term Web Designer to refer to anyone who does anything on a website. Most freelancers refer to themselves as Web designers. This fine line needs to be drawn to differentiate between regular layout makers and high-end professional designers. It is indeed a tough job these days when this particular line is blurry.

So be sure to read the job description carefully for any job you are applying for to make sure you meet the requirements, especially when it says "Web Designer".

- Sonali Salvi

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