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Do I (the designer) need to know how to code?

Designers vs Coding

“Do I need to know how to code?” is a question that comes up with sure-fire consistency in design circles. I’ve seen it asked by so many, from uncertain design students in classrooms worried about their chances of landing a job, to seasoned professionals at conferences seeing their pool of print projects slowly evaporate. The question is being asked with even greater frequency as of late, because Adobe has launched their product Muse, which promises designers the ability to “create unique websites without writing code.” So, if a designer wants to work on the web, should they take the time to learn this dastardly “code” or instead rely on software like Muse?

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Great, short read. I absolutely agree. It’s the same as designing a logo without understanding PMS, or a brochure without understanding the printing/mechanical process. There’s a good chance you’ll design something non-functional or inefficient.

If you’re designing websites, you have to understand the basics. I’m not saying you need to know Php, Asp, XML, or writing javascript. I’m just sayin at least know html & css, which are the visual languages your site design will be built upon.

I know someone will say,

"hey but won’t that limit the creative design process or keep me thinking in the box?"

No. This knowledge will simply help you understand the challenges ahead and only help to strengthen/craft your designs if you decide to break convention or come up with something really creative. It will also help you sell your concepts better to code-weary developers whose immediate response will be “no, we can’t do that” if you don’t have some sort of knowledge to back up your rationale. It’s all on you.

Just saying. I think everyone can benefit from knowing a little css/html. Really do check out that Don’t Fear the Internet site. It will give you all the tools you know if your concerned about learning this stuff. It’s really easy once you learn the basics.

The Lost Art Of Design Etiquette

smashingmagazine.com

Great article about the importance of labeling your files and other expected design courtesies when handing over your work to other designers/developers.

I’ve had my headaches with this, I’m sure we’ve all had them. I’ve had a fellow designer tell me he believes in “pixel perfect design” while lecturing me to follow suit; then on the flip side this guy had the most ridiculously unorganized layer structure he had been following for years. Why the developer hadn’t become murderous is beyond me.

Another thing. Please don’t build your sites in Illustrator or InDesign. I know an argument can be made for building in either, but it just won’t compare to Photoshop. Plus, the developer will just end up rebuilding it in Photoshop anyway. Stop it. It’s an industry standard and it’s kinda irritating to everyone else. I say this because I love you.

Also: They link to 2 more awesome resources for designers and front-end developers alike: Isobar Front-end Code Standards & Best Practices, Photoshop Etiquette Manifesto.

deck.js

imakewebthings.github.com

A JavaScript library for building modern HTML presentations. deck.js is flexible enough to let advanced CSS and JavaScript authors craft highly customized decks, but also provides templates and themes for the HTML novice to build a standard slideshow.

This is great! It’s highly interactive and very customizable. I really recommend looking at the demo. Gorgeous stuff. And badass animation effects.

profile photo of Alex Pierce

I'm a designer/art director/geek that likes to make things on (and off) the internet. I'm black, live in the DFW metroplex, work at an ad agency, and drink alone in the dark on week nights. While being black, I write this blog as a creative outlet.

My work has been featured multiple times by Tumblr, published in NET Magazine, Communication Arts, Adweek, The Webbys, HOW Design, W3 Awards, Web Designer Magazine, Under Consideration, Awwwards, Web Design Ledger, Web Designer Depot, Designworklife, Speckyboy, my mom's Facebook Timeline, and a variety of other publications.

I am currently unmarried, live alone, have no pets, and believe in the Oxford comma. I like eating tacos as well. Pants optional.