Web Design Roles: Do I need a Graphic Designer, Web Designer or Developer?

Web Design Roles: Do I need a Graphic Designer, Web Designer or Developer?

Web Design roles - difference between graphic designer, web designer and website developerThe spectrum of job titles associated with web design can be mindboggling. Let's examine these roles and take some of the confusion out of determining who you need to hire for your project.

Graphic Designer -  A graphic designer creates graphics primarily used in corporate identity (branding) and advertising. This may include designing logos, brochures, signage and advertising pieces in newspapers and magazines. In electronic media like the Internet, a graphic designer might create a template defining the look and real estate agent health insurance feel of a website.

Web Designer - Web designers actually build the website, creating the pages and navigation. They may design their own graphics and layout for the site or work from a design concept created by a graphic designer, A web designer should have a thorough understanding of the basic web programming languages, web standards and usability.

Web Developer - Developers do the hard stuff that no else wants to do. They write code and setup software when a site needs complex features and advanced functionality. Their technical skills exceed those of a web designer and are far more knowledgeable about subjects like site security, e-commerce and domelhor.net database management.

In summary, a graphic designer and web designer play different but complimentary roles in the process of building a web site. The graphic designer creates a visual look, the web designer adapts that look to the pages as they build the site. A developer comes in when a site needs advanced features.

Here's where it gets confusing...

Sometimes people in the web business like to wear more than one hat.

Graphic designers who are also web designers

A lot graphic designers also consider themselves web designers. The problem is that many only dabble in web design and have skill sets which are outdated and inadequate for complex web projects.

Web designers and developers who can build sites with amazing functionality don't always have the skills to make them attractive and visually engaging. Rather than bring in a graphic designer, they rely on templates and end up with a portfolio where every project has the same generic look. 

And most dangerous of all... some web designers take on projects far beyond their skill level that only a developer should handle.

In summary, there are individuals out there with strong skill sets in multiple areas. Finding one may be the answer to your prayers. However, you should never assume this person can really "do everything" unless their portfolio shows that they can.  

Some projects require a team approach where each team member does what they do best.

If you find a graphic designer who designs beautiful but simple sites - hire them to design the template for your site but get a real web designer or developer to build it. If you need complex features, a developer may need to be involved in the project. 

 The chart below illustrates what skill sets are needed in different types of website projects.

PROJECT TYPEWHO DO I HIRE?
Simple Brochure Site
(3-5 pages)
Either a Graphic Designer or Web Designer.
Simple Blog
(simple layout/design)
A Web Designer.  
Custom Blog
(high-end look)

Both a Graphic Designer and a Web Designer.
(Pay a Graphic Designer to create a design concept and f children com the Web Designer to build the blog site and adapt it as a blog template.)

E-Commerce
(simple functions, simple design)

A Web Designer or a Developer.

E-Commerce
(simple functions, high-end design)

Both a Graphic Designer and a Web Designer.
(Pay a Graphic Designer to create a design concept and the Web Designer to build the e-commerce site and adapt it as a shop template.)

E-Commerce
(complex functions, simple design)
A Developer.

E-Commerce
(complex functions, high-end design)

Both a Graphic Designer and a Developer.
(Pay a Graphic Designer to create a design concept and the Developer to build the e-commerce site and adapt it as a shop template.)

Completely Custom Site All three.

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