I am a graphic designer, how do I become a web designer?
I need to expand my experience as a designer, but it am not sure what programs I should learn to become a web designer. How would I go about bridging my graphic design experience with web design?
Please allow me to preface this answer with the disclaimer that I am not an artist, quite the opposite actually.
I'm assuming you are looking to design web pages/layouts in Photoshop/Illustrator? If so be ready to work in a 960xY canvas. Stay away from CMYK and focus on RGB. Some might recommend working in 72dpi vice 300. I personally don't think it matters but an artist may be able to answer that more concisely.
I would research the artistic trends in web design to give you some inspiration. Most trends last a year or two before they are replaced with something new and fresh looking. Look at the iOS interface, for example, and see how often that has been reworked over the past 7 years.
Keep working on different web page ideas and build a solid portfolio. Once you have a solid portfolio, start looking at how responsive web designs work and how it impacts your portfolio. Figure out how those web pages should look on a mobile browser compared to a desktop browser. Then you can rework the design as responsive and include those in your portfolio.
I hope that gives you a starting point and welcome to the IT industry :)
Have you though about expanding into other areas of Graphic Design instead? I see that you've done some great marketing work and that could certainly be an area for you to expand more into.
Graphic Design and Web Design are very different other than both being grouped under the "creative" umbrella. Web Design is more technical. It isn't just about how a website should look - you need to know about how to make it look that way and if that is the best way for it it look, - think site aesthetics and structure, load times, navigability, SEO, making it responsive, etc.
You need to be FLUENT in HTML and CSS and at least be a little familiar with Java, jQuery, MySQL, PHP, and UI Design, off the top of my head, and how they work together, in addition to your art and design experience. I don't feel a "Coding for Dummies" book is going to get you where you want to be.
I'm going to be pretty frank with my answer here, as I think quite a few comments have come from individuals with a misunderstood perception of the industry in general. I run a successful web/software development agency in the Twin Cities, so I should be able to help quite a bit here (I'm also a full stack developer).
To Dana's comment: although a great stab, I'm fairly certain that web designers needn't know a lick of Java or MySQL these days, unless they're incorporating certain MVC frameworks in to their development quiver. She IS correct in saying that many agencies are starting to bridge the gap between designers and developers these days, but most of those responsibilities are lying solely in understanding responsive design and how fluid grids work.
In my opinion, Liz, do all you can to incorporate UX and UI design in to your skill set. You already have a head start as a graphic designer, and UI design is only going to become more popular. Your knowledge of programming languages needs to increase, but certainly not to the extent of some of the answers here. I'd suggest working through http://codecademy.com and its HTML/CSS/JQuery courses. That'll give you a really solid grasp on things =)
One last thing: for a pure beginner, I'd say to look at http://teamtreehouse.com before I'd look at Lynda. While certainly more diverse, Lynda doesn't have the crucial interactive aspects that Treehouse can offer you. http://codeschool.com is another option, too.
I really hope this helps. If you find yourself foaming at the mouth in confusion, don't hesitate to message me personally!
Specifically, what you want to be learning is HTML5 & CSS4 (in combination with each other). HTML was a version 4 for many years and HTML5 is relatively new, so it will stay future-compliant for quite a while yet.
It looks good, feels good and gives you a lot of creative diversity.
Flash sites were used heavily by graphic designers of the past and while they did look great, technically they were bad sites. HTML5 has all of the capabilities that Flash once had but is a lot more technically robust.
So could I apply for web design positions now? Am I qualified? Do People usually understand the difference between a designer and a developer?
I really appreciate all the comments.
Liz, perhaps you can find a web designer (which I am not) and work with him or her on a collaborative basis? A co-working space may be a good way to find one in your area. Co-working spaces are popping up everywhere and the collaborative opportunities are one of their selling points over traditional office space.
It sounds like you’re ready to create a site and I’d start by building your own responsive WordPress site from scratch (without using a template, if possible, or if you do, deconstruct all the elements of the template). It’ll be hair-pulling but what you’ll learn in the process is how html, css, and php work together and all the elements needed for a functioning site. Most companies, large and small, are moving or have moved towards Content Management Systems, such as WordPress, and understanding the inner workings of these will be invaluable. Lynda.com has excellent online courses. Other resources are http://www.w3schools.com/ and Smashing Magazine (www.smashingmagazine.com). I made the leap to web design several years ago and I’m glad I did as it really enables us to provide fulfill both print and web communications needs for our clients. What’s more, it’s fun. Stay with it!
You can look for an online course by Lynda.com
They provide good course on every subject. I personally recommend them to my students and followers.
I would agree with Kaylan, Lynda.com is a great place to learn fast. It is important to understand that there are two different going on in web design 1 is design (graphics) and 2 programming (development and programming) Your skills as a graphic designer can transfer into mocking up websites before they are built if you don't want to get into the programming side of things. Find your way into a team to collaborate in web projects and do some research as to how to build mock ups.
I can definitely relate to this. One thing to remember is that while web and print are different "mediums", they still aim to solve visual problems and design challenges. In some cases the processes are similar, but of course with web design there's a bit more to the design process than just thumbnails alone. You'll need to think of the User Experience (UX) of the site just as much as the visual aspects.
With that said, I think you should definitely check out Lynda.com as other people have suggested. They seriously have the beat tutorials and they're taught by some of the best in the business. I'd hone in on your Photoshop skills as that will be the primary program you use for creating your web layouts and assets. Also, many people have used programs such as Dreamweaver, but there are also other programs that function in the same way, so I'd consider checking those out. Regarding code, you may learn coding languages at codeacademy.com for free, or you may even just want to create a working relationship with a developer on some projects. You don't need to have complete fluency in code to be able to design websites, however some understanding of what the languages can do in the context of your design can really help.
Hope this helps! Feel free to message me if you have any questions!
Hi Liz, I do quite a bit of web site design without being a web developer. They are indeed different roles. I work hand in hand with the developers to understand their needs and ultimately, I provide them with layered .PS files from which they create each page. In working with my clients, I make it clear I am not a developer, that my role will be to create the overall look of the site, including all the graphical elements in it, and that they will need to hire a developer to build the functional web site. I have established relationships with a few reliable developers that I work with regularly, so I can usually offer clients a package deal.
I have, however, built some web sites for clients myself using templates available through web hosts like WordPress and BlueHost. With these, the underlying framework is provided and you import your graphic images and text with no requirement to do coding. They are fairly easy to work with, once you get used to the architecture of their WISYWIG page building tools. I know of many designers who use this route, but it really works best for clients who need just very simple web sites without a ton of functionality.
So, technically, you can offer some web site design services to your clients without being a coder. But in either case, if you are going to venture into this field, you really do need to have a good grasp on all aspects of web site creation. It is good that you have taken some coding classes. Understanding those things makes you much better at designing for web.
Also, as Davis Mans mentioned, your file requirements will be different than those for print, so hopefully you have or are prepared to obtain a comprehensive education on that as well. You will be working in pixels instead of picas, RGB color space instead of CMYK, 72 dpi resolution instead of 300, and you will be using a hexadecimal palette of web safe colors instead of a broad Pantone palette.
Back in the day I think there was a much greater expectation that website designers created both the graphic design as well as the coding design, but today the coding end has become so robust that it is become much more common for these to be separate roles. Best of luck to you!
Pick up a few cheap books from Amazon on HTML & CSS. There is a few books specifically on web design and creating websites. Don't get anything too new or too old and you can save money while still getting relevant information. My biggest suggestion is to just practice and make websites and other web related content.
Cool idea for a transition!
Your design skills will be huge, though print and web are two very different mediums.
I'd strongly recommend Team Treehouse - best $25/mo I've ever spent. They have guided tracks to teach you everything, great exercises, and an active forum. Here's my referral code: http://referrals.trhou.se/jaredgold.
*You can try a self-taught curriculum, but in the end, it's worth your time to pay a tiny bit of money for getting to where you want to be faster - and be more skilled.
As you are a graphic designer, it means that you have a good command over Photoshop and other similar tools. But, as you want to initialize your expertise in web designing field, you need to learn following languages:
CSS (Media Queries are also need to be learned)
JQuery ( Used to make animations without using CSS)
Bootstrap ( For making the website responsive)
All the above mentioned platforms are in high demand. Once you learn them, you only need to do is Practice, Practice and Practice. It will sharpen your talent.
If you like web design, you require picking the part you like. Do you like coding or do you prefer the UI part. I think it is good to be excellent at both, although some people are. I think it is better to specialize in both areas.
First, they drastically cut back on the amount of coding you have to do, because lets say you're building a store and you code a div to display a main picture, price, sizes and colors. And lets say you have 50 products to start with, doing it strictly in HTML you're going to have to hand code each and every single detail about each product. Where in Ruby or DoneJS you can just code that div the way you want it just ONE TIME and save it as a template and include it one time on the page you want it on and just add the Ruby or DoneJS coding to it to tell load every product in the database into one of those frames..... which reminds me.... you're going to want to look into SQL and maybe MongoDB as well for database development, but those are pretty easy so don't worry. Actually all of them are easy, it just takes time to learn them.