This article will explore the essential skills needed to become a fantastic freelance web designer. We’ll go from learning what UX is and how to include visual and responsive design elements in every project, to nurturing the communication and project management skills required to meet a brand’s specifications and client briefs.
What does a web designer do?
A web designer is responsible for creating the design and layout of a website or web pages. It and can mean working on a brand new website or updating an already existing site. Their role is different to web developers , who specialise in making web designs a reality or writing code that dictates how different parts of the website fit together. However, there can be crossover between the two roles.
Responsibilities of the job include:
- creating website designs
- producing sample sites
- meeting with clients to discuss requirements and/or project progress
- demonstrating and receiving feedback about draft sites
- keeping up to date with recent technological and software developments
- creating products that are user-friendly, effective and appealing
- digital retouching and image editing
- working as part of a multidisciplinary team
There can be some pressure to meet deadlines and so extra hours may be required.
How to becmome a web designer?
To kickstart your web-design career, you might consider formal training – such as enrolling in a degree or course that will teach you many of the fundamentals of digital design.
There’s also the option to support your learning – whether you attend an educational institute or are self-taught – with an apprenticeship. That might mean spending time at an agency specializing in web design, or with someone who has already launched a successful freelance business. This means you’ll be exposed to the realities of client briefs, design presentations, and the various stages involved in building and delivering a website or app in the real world.
As you work your way towards this role, it’s worth creating a web design portfolio and building a website to showcase your work. Think of it as a visual business card that instantly demonstrates your skills.
What skills do you need for web design?
A web designer needs to think creatively and logically, and get to grips with a number of technical skills – like UX design. While these skills might seem complex at first, they’ll soon make sense when put into practice. Similarly, if you are passionate about design and want to create visually-pleasing platforms, the soft skills required to be a web designer – such as an ability to listen and interpret a brief – will continue to develop over the course of your career.
Web designer technical skills
Here are some skills that can set you apart as a freelance web designer:
1. Strong design skills
As a web designer, you’ll need to have a strong eye for design and be able to create visually appealing websites.
2. HTML and CSS
Knowing HTML and CSS is essential for building and styling websites.
3. Responsive design
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s important to be able to create websites that look good on a variety of screen sizes.
5. Back-end development
While not necessary for all web design projects, having some knowledge of back-end technologies like PHP or Ruby on Rails can make you a more well-rounded freelancer and enable you to take on a wider range of projects.
Knowing how to optimize websites for search engines can help you design websites that rank well and drive traffic.
7. Project management
As a freelancer, you’ll be responsible for managing your own projects and meeting deadlines. Good project management skills will help you stay organized and on track.
Being able to effectively communicate with clients is crucial for success as a freelancer. You’ll need to be able to explain technical concepts to non-technical clients and be able to clearly articulate your design choices.
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