To Code, or Not to Code

To Code, or Not to Code

As I was sitting in a recent design meeting that included both IT professionals and Designers, I realized how many designers only know print design.

Image from will admit, my degree did not help me much in the world of web design but it did help me learn balance, and pattern, and effective color choices. With that as a foundation, I became a self-taught web designer…partly because I wanted to and also because my first job out of college asked me to. It wasn’t easy at first, there were a lot of searches sent to Google and a lot of chats with my computer-minded friends. CSS and HTML were the first “code languages” I learned and after doing that, I believe every designer needs to know these.

Cameron Moll is an awesome designer that I was fortunate enough to listen to at a HOW Design Conference and he posted a link to a fantastic article:

Designers vs. Coding

Good design and good markup provide structure to content. Good markup is a fundamental part of good design: beautiful on the inside, beautiful on the outside.

via Frank Chimero

It made me realize that, if you are only a print designer and try to communicate to a web developer or web designer, there is going to be a language barrier. So, to all designers, I highly recommend you learn, at the very least, CSS and HTML. This will benefit you not only in the job market, but when designing for the web, it will help you to communicate with your web conscious co-workers.

It only took me a month or so to really grasp the language and since then, I have been working on refining and learning more and more tricks. This might be my favorite part of the whole article simply because it’s so true:

My short answer is “Learn code.” My long answer, I suppose, would be that one should learn to code (specifically HTML and CSS), because it’s the language of the web, and while these skills aren’t necessary for every position, team or project, the knowledge does nothing but benefit the designer. Design decisions are not only affected by the characteristics of the content being designed, but also the qualities of the format. The best way to understand the characteristics of the web is to speak its language.

When you visit a foreign country you learn the language, or at least enough of it to get by. Print designers should think the same way when wanting to design for the web. Don’t visit without knowing enough to at least get you by and understand the way it works. Not every design transfers from print to web in exactly the same way.

Adobe TV was one that really helped me get my start:



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