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2022 Guide

Web Designer

BrainStation’s Web Designer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in Web Design. Read on to learn more about the Web Designer job role, types of web design, salaries for Web Designers, and more.

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What Is a Web Designer?


A web designer is a technical professional who designs the layout, visual appearance, and usability elements of a website. A successful web designer must combine well-developed technical skills with creative graphic skills.

A Web Designer would be responsible for any visual design elements on a website, including animation, videos, text, photos, and graphics. While a Web Designer might not necessarily be expected to know how the code that makes a website run works, they will likely have some technical skills with programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Read more about the Web Designer role.

What Does a Web Designer Do?


A Web Designer creates and oversees all visual aspects of websites. Web Designers liaise with clients and stakeholders to develop a clear idea of the goals and needs of a website before then creating websites, designs, and layouts that present a company in a positive way to a target audience.

A Web Designer has the ability to oversee visual aspects including color, layout, and font while also prioritizing the user by ensuring smooth usability.

Likely working for a digital design agency that services clients, or within the in-house development, marketing or design team of a larger company, a Web Designer will spend time designing websites, optimizing websites for speed and ease of use, conducting testing, collaborating with developers to ensure proper integration, and working with marketing and research teams to incorporate brand elements.

Read more about what a Web Designer does.

Types of Web Design


As more and more Web Designers adopt a mobile-first mentality, two types of web design can be used to create a website: adaptive or responsive.

Adaptive web design

With adaptive web design, two different versions of a website – at least – are employed to fit various screen sizes. Within adaptive websites, some sites adapt based on the type of device, while others work based on browser width. Adaptive web designs allow faster custom designs and quick page load times, but drawbacks include a site that might not work properly on a smaller desktop browser window.

Responsive web design

Responsive websites use flexible grid layouts based on the percentage each element takes up. So the benefit is that the user gets a great experience no matter how big their device screen is. The downside is that custom responsive website designs are not easy to create.

Read more about the types of Web Design.

Benefits of Web Design


Web design is crucial to creating an attractive and functional website, and good websites are increasingly crucial for any company. Here are some of the benefits of good website design for companies:

Love at first sight

Google’s numbers show that a user takes only 50 milliseconds to create a first impression of a website, and of course website design plays a huge part in forming that impression. An attractive, modern, fast, and well-organized website design will leave a positive impression in the minds of users.

Boost search engine optimization efforts

If you’re looking to raise a website’s search engine results, web design is a good place to invest your time, money, and energy. Search engine algorithms are placing increased importance on things like content loading speeds or the time it takes for a page to become interactive (first input delay). So good web design will go a long way toward a good search engine optimization strategy.

Stand out from — or up to — the competition

A poorly designed website puts your company at a competitive disadvantage against other companies in your business as potential clients begin to look for answers online. A creative, well-designed website with attractive graphic aspects should be at the core of your digital strategy and help to define your online presence.

Web Designer Salaries


The salary of a Web Designer job will vary greatly depending on employers, experience level, and location. Web Designers have an annual base salary of around $50,000, while the average salaries for Senior Web Designers are above $82,000.

Read more about how much a Web Designer can make.

Demand for Web Designers


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Web Designers is expected to rise 8 percent by 2029, much faster than the overall rate of growth for all jobs across all industries. This demand, they say, will be driven by the rising popularity of mobile devices and eCommerce technologies.

What Tools Do Web Designers Use?


A Web Designer will use a variety of tools and resources to build or design websites or to create compelling imagery, animations, or video for those websites. Here are a few of the top tools that any Web Designer will be familiar with:

WordPress

With roughly a 75 percent market share among content management systems, WordPress is undoubtedly still a top website-building tool for any Web Designer.

Squarespace

This top WordPress alternative offers an array of themes, features and customization options, and an intuitive interface.

Figma

A great help for interface design and prototyping, Figma’s cloud-based approach allows multiple team members to collaborate on the same file at the same time.

InVision Studio

With advanced collaboration services, motion animations and the ability to create and share prototypes, InVision Studio integrates with other popular Web Designer tools like Sketch and Photoshop.

Sketch

This interface design tool gives Web Designers the ability to create gorgeous, high-fidelity mockups.

Read more about the tools Web Designers use.

What Skills Do Web Designers Need?


There are a number of technical skills that any Web Designer needs to succeed, including:

Visual design

A successful Web Designer must have creative design skills, which means knowledge of design principles and understanding how to create attractive web projects.

User experience

These days, users are too important for this to be the focus solely of a UX Specialist. Any Web Designer needs to think about how an online user will interact with their website and apply that to factors like layout, content, and navigation.

Design software

Web Designers have no shortage of software to help them thrive in the business, and it’s important to develop your skills with industry-standard tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch.

Programming languages

While it’s possible to succeed as a Web Designer without having deep code skills, it should almost be considered a must to learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Without these skills, your career options will be much more limited.

Read more about the skills you need to become a Web Designer.

Web Designer Career Paths


A Web Designer has the luxury of choosing between a number of different potential career paths once they’ve developed their design and development skills in a design job.

Of course, the next step along a Web Designer career would be Senior Web Designer, a job that brings an average salary of around $80,000 including bonuses. With more extensive career experience coding on a website, you could explore the Web Developer career track; a Senior Web Developer job pays $88,000 on average.

ZipRecruiter indicates that many a job related to the Senior Web Designer career category pay more per year than a typical Senior Web Designer salary. Those related career roles include Senior Product Designer, Senior Brand Designer, Senior UX Designer, and Senior Visual Designer. Each of those related job roles pays more than $100,000 on average.

Read more about Web Designer career paths.

Common Web Designer jobs


Here are some of the most in-demand jobs in web design:

  • Web Designer
  • Front-End Web Developer
  • Full-Stack Web Developer
  • Software Developer
  • UX Designer
  • UI Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Information Architect