Northumbria University – Getting a Career in Web Design

The many informal definitions to explain what Web Design is can perhaps all be distilled into one which is more technically correct, that being that Web Design is a specialised field within the broader Graphic Design field and focuses on the design of engaging websites. The ultimate objective is to create a suitable site that meets the client’s core business objectives, whether those are to capture leads through the information presented on the site or indeed if the site itself will make for a platform over which the client sells their products and / or services. It’s your job as the Web Designer to conceptualise and subsequently build the solution. Read on to get some good grounding on exactly what pursuing a career in Web Design entails.

Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000 (£23,000 Average) – Taken from www.payscale.com, from National Salary, without bonuses

Web Designer Job Duties

The job duties of a Web Designer naturally very in their specifics depending on which agency you’re working for. Your particular agency could be servicing a specific industry or they could indeed have a specific group of clients with specific needs for their Web Design solutions, so job responsibilities would differ accordingly. There are however some common job duties associated with the Web Design field, including:

  • Liaising with/presenting to clients to discuss their requirements and get their feedback
  • Conceptualising website specifications and site plans
  • Designing websites, including text, colours and layout, in line with the brand
  • Creating and manipulating graphics to make sure they’re right for the website
  • Keeping up to speed with current design trends and developments

If you operate as a freelancer for example, added responsibilities may come in the form of canvassing for new clients and a whole lot of administrative work.

Qualifications, Skills & Experience Requirements

Qualifications (Information taken from nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk)

Formal Web Design qualifications and those in a related creative or technical degree are non-essential, but for budding Web Designers who’ve decided very early on in their working or schooling lives that they want to pursue this career path, undergraduate and postgraduate courses make for a good way to gain officially recognised knowledge about the industry. You can specialise in Web Design or include this topic in a cocktail of related fields/subjects like marketing and advertising, development, communications, programming, etc.

Self-taught Web Designers have as much of a chance of making it as qualified individuals, but having to source online tutorials and taking it upon yourself to sift through the myriad of information can be very challenging, not to mention having to keep up with current trends in the field.

Skills & Experience

  • Essential: Design experience – especially working with web pages
  • Essential: Creativity
  • Essential: InDesign; Illustrator; Photoshop; Fireworks; Flash
  • Teamwork – both with clients and colleagues
  • Problem-solving  and solution-providing
  • HTML or other coding knowledge
  • Acquiring skills

A digital portfolio with live samples, projects and other examples is perhaps the best way to demonstrate your skill and experience as a Web Designer, whether you’re going it alone as a freelancer or if you’re looking for employment from a Graphic Design Agency, Marketing Agency, etc.

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