So, you want to get into website design, huh? Good! It’s a very long, very rewarding journey. You constantly have to keep learning new technologies, and how to better your web design workflow. If you have a passion for design, this is absolutely for you.
What is web design?
First off, you need to understand what exactly “web design” is (and I use that term sparingly for reasons I’ll shortly get into), and what the goals of it are.
When it comes to the web, it’s not longer just being accessed by your computer. A lot of people use their mobile phones, as well as tablets to surf the web today. Heck, some people even use their TVs and gaming consoles! So with this in mind, you’re not really just designing for one device. You’re designing for a plethora of devices, by which are rapidly changing month to month.
As a web designer, your main focus is essentially how you can make your Client look professional online, which tends to lead them to make more money. I’ll go into that in more detail below.
School or self-taught?
I’ve been designing and building websites for a few years now. I’ll be completely honest with you – I did go to college for it, but I didn’t learn much there (sorry, but it’s the truth). Teaching web design is like trying to teach someone how to drive; you can show them how to place their hands on the wheel, or how to drive stick, but they won’t really get it. They need to actually dive in, get on the road and start driving themselves. That’s the best way to learn, and that’s exactly what I did.
Not to mention, that since web technologies are changing so rapidly (you have to keep up), most of the time colleges and universities don’t keep up. That’s not good! I remember when I went to college, they weren’t teaching us Responsive Design and Development (this means that you must code your website for phones, tablets, computers, etc). They were just showing us how to code for computers, and that’s it. That’s terrible educational practice, and a clear-cut sign as how some post-secondary institutes are so terribly behind.
In my opinion, self-taught is totally the way to go. Here’s a great link to get started: https://rrrepo.co/repo/webdesign
The Tools You Should Use
Most people use one of three means to design a website:
I personally use Photoshop, as this provides my Clients with a great visual and nice sense of what their website will look like.
You Need A Portfolio
Whether you’re networking to get Clients, or simply applying for a web design job, a portfolio is an absolute-must. This essentially showcases exactly what you can do.
“What do I do if I don’t have anything to show off?”
Great question! I was in this situation back before I graduated. The best piece of advice I can give you is to simply do work for free. I already hear the moans and groans – but this is absolutely invaluable. It gives you a chance to show off you work and put that work into a portfolio.
What you can also do is simply re-design any site (whether it be a local coffee shop, or Nike), and throw that in your portfolio as well. Just make sure to add a note saying that it’s simply a concept.
That’s it! So to re-cap how to get into web design:
- Understand what web design is
- Teach yourself (https://rrrepo.co/repo/webdesign)
- Learn a web design tool and stick with it
- Get a portfolio going online for potential Clients and Employers
Check out my next post.