The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Professional Web Designer

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Without web designers, the sites we visit every day would not be as convenient and beautiful. We'll explain how to become a web designer, where to start, what programs to learn and where to develop further.

 

What does it take to become a web designer?

Work in programs

 

Adobe Photoshop

If you know how to work in Adobe Photoshop, you can create your first works here. The service has a huge number of features, styles and templates. In addition, all projects are saved in PSD format, which customers and designers are used to.

 

Figma

This online service creates page designs. It is a versatile tool that is constantly updated. Figma has a collaborative mode - you can work on a task together with a team. 

 

Sketch

For MacOS device users, there's Sketch: here, too, you can create prototypes of future sites and collaboratively edit vector images. 

 

Adobe After Effects

An editor for animating interfaces. Here you can set up smooth transitions between interface elements, fixation on an object of interest, or zooming. The After Effects interface is similar to other Adobe programs.

 

Adobe XD

This is where you can create wireframes and mockups - sketches of your future product. Adobe XD has fewer features than previous tools, but it can be used on any operating system.

 

Tilda

If you're just learning the basics of web design, try out ready-made website builders like Tilda. There are ready-made templates that help you quickly create a website. This way you can practice the skill of combining blocks, colors and fonts.

 

Know web design theory

Many people underestimate the importance of this step. Without understanding the basics of composition and color combinations, it is difficult to achieve a nice picture. Master the theory is better in this sequence:

 

Composition

In this section, you should learn how to create a visual order with a grid and how to roll out the layout on the site. Understanding the composition helps to correctly position elements on the page as a whole and in relation to each other.

 

Typography

Typography is needed to design text boxes, header hierarchy, and work with lists.

 

Color

Color combinations, associative rows, shades and gradients are important for the perception of the site. Green is associated with nature and ecology, blue is often used by IT companies, and red is used by strong and aggressive brands.

 

Know how to manage projects

First, it's always a good idea to know how to manage time. Scheduling systems like Trello help with this. You can use them to control every step of the job, especially if you're working in a team. 

Second, a key stage is the customer briefing, when you discuss the goals, objectives, and features of the project, and get to know the wishes. You need to understand what inputs you need to start working on the project, and how to get this data correctly from the customer. This will also protect you from constant edits.

 

Know the basics of web programming

Understanding how a website is designed is an advantage for a web designer. For this, a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS and an understanding of how the site works in different browsers and on different devices is enough. It will also help you find a common language with the layout designer or frontend developer, and get your ideas across to him.

 

Is it possible to become a web designer without a degree?

Having a specialized higher education is not a prerequisite for becoming a web designer. In this area, those who have mastered the profession on their own, and those who have completed courses are successfully building a career.

First and foremost, customers and employers are looking at what kind of professional competence a web designer has, what his portfolio is, what kind of feedback and recommendations he has. Oftentimes, individuals will be required to execute a test task as part of the process for securing a one-time order or ongoing job. If the results are satisfactory to either customer or employer, then not having formal education credentials won't be an obstacle for collaboration. Even so, it's still beneficial to have that type of document when seeking employment opportunities.

 

Is it possible to become a web designer if you can not draw?

To work as a web designer, you do not need to have 5 years of art school and be able to draw still lifes and landscapes. But the basic skills of drawing are still worth it. So it will be easier to create prototypes, to draw the individual elements of design. For this, it is enough to learn how to draw sketches.

 

How to start learning web design on your own

1. Get basic knowledge. What kind of competencies you will need, we wrote above. You can master the theory of design and graphic editors on your own, but it is much faster, more efficient and convenient to take a distance learning course. The training program for them is made by expert practitioners. So you can be sure that the curriculum has everything you need for your future work.

2. Start practicing. The theory should definitely be consolidated in practice, and not on training tasks, but on real-world ones. To do this, you can get an internship at a web design studio or a web development company, register on the freelancing exchanges, and take low-cost tasks or orders for feedback. If you are afraid of responsibility to the customer or employer, you can practice by doing volunteer projects, participating in contests.

3. Gather a portfolio. Yes, assembling a portfolio is also an important part of training. After all, the designer should not only develop websites, but also sell their services, and this is impossible to do without the demonstration of the best work. For your first portfolio, you can use academic papers or competitive projects. You can design a fictitious company's website or redesign a popular online site. 8 to 10 works would be enough to get you started. The portfolio is best done on your own site on Tilda or Wix, or placed on sites like Behance or Dribbble.

4. Develop a keen eye for detail. Study the work of other designers. Popular resources help with this: Behance, deadsign, Awwwards, CSSDesignAwards, Pinterest. You can subscribe to experts whose work appeals to you and be inspired by their work.

If you already have skills in Photoshop, take apart the work you like: swap the blocks in places, suggest a different composition, play with shades. This will help you gain experience and understand how much you are interested in developing in this field. 

5. Transfer your ideas to paper. If you're not familiar with Photoshop, but you still want to take the site apart, try experimenting on paper. You don't need drawing skills here. Your task is to scrutinize the page you like, remember it and reproduce it on the sheet. Then add colors, add missing parts or remove unnecessary, in your opinion, elements. 

If you will devote at least 30 minutes every day to these exercises, you'll become bolder in drawing and will be better in the composition of the site.

6. Study portfolios of top agencies and studios. To better understand the steps that make up a web designer's work, keep an eye on agencies in the field. They show you cases and tell you what tasks they were able to solve. This is also part of the observation: you can immerse yourself not only in the visual part, but also in the analytical and technical part.

 

Resources for self-guided study

 

Online schools

Some courses are full-fledged training for web design professionals. Training lasts several months under the guidance of professionals. But not all students can afford to invest that much time and money. That is why cheap essay service comes in handy. Such services are convenient and affordable, which makes them perfect for students who want to get their assignments done without breaking the bank.

 

Workshops and seminars

A variant if you want to go straight into action. Well suited for those who have experience and want to get a knack for it. They don't explain theory, they just give you the information you need for your specific project. You can look for master classes and workshops on the websites of design schools.

 

Working with a curator

Suitable when you need practice, especially if you are afraid to take on projects. Then the curator will help you in your work: to give feedback and indicate the vector of development. 

If you're applying for an internship with an agency or staff, a senior specialist will help you. He or she will supervise the work and correct mistakes. If you are self-employed, your mentor can be a friend or acquaintance who has experience in design.

 

How to choose education?

It is possible to learn the profession completely on your own, but it will be difficult. In design, you need an outside view: a more experienced professional should evaluate your work at the initial stage. So a good option is to choose a course to suit your level and needs.

Here are some tips to help you choose a web design course.

 

1. Pay attention to the duration of the course

In mastering a new profession, you should not be in a hurry. Training should be consistent and include a breakdown of the programs that a designer needs. Therefore, it is better not to take a month-long course. It is unlikely that specialists will be able to teach you in such a short period everything you need: the theory of composition and color, typography and layout.

The same applies to free tutorials. They can give you an introduction: who a web designer is, what he does, and how much he earns. But they won't teach you how to work in Photoshop, and they won't check your homework - all the more so. 

 

2. Learn the course syllabus

A minimum list of a modern web design course includes:

learning the goals of the site, analyzing the target audience, and working with information from the client;

- working in Photoshop;

- coloristics;

- typography;

- modular grids;

- work with photostocks;

- graphics processing;

- UX-design.

 

3. Look at the faculty portfolio

This reflects the experience of the one who will evaluate your work and give feedback. In addition, with the example of the teacher, you can see what maximum level of skills development awaits you if you continue studying. Professionals don't shy away from all experience: they are able to tell you in detail what projects they have led and what they have done. 

 

4. Read reviews

This is useful not only to get to know the instructors. Reviews give an outsider's perspective - how useful the course was, what was taught and what shortcomings have been noted by those who have already taken it. You can even write to the graduate and ask all your questions.

 

5. Learn about feedback and employment

This is the most important point: your work should be evaluated by a professional. This is the only way you can understand if you are moving in the right direction. The tutor or supervisor will point out mistakes, help you correct them and praise the strengths of each of your work. This will be the honest opinion of an experienced professional who sincerely wants you to succeed.

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