6 Things About Becoming A Web Designer
Firstly this post is not about “how to become a web designer”. This is more about what to expect in becoming a web designer, but some aspects could also be applied to any of the digital design jobs.
What is usually highlighted about having a career in the digital design industry such as a web designer is that it allows a flexible work life. Providing a person with the ability to be able to work whenever or wherever he wants, that alone makes the occupation quite attractive compared to the normal daily 9-5 grind (I know that’s how they got me) while making a lot of money.
But all that comes with a price so I’m here to highlight the hard part and clarify some misconceptions about becoming a web designer. This is not to turn people off from it but to inform and also make people aware of the value of the industry.
1. Becoming a Web Designer Means Never Stop Learning…
In my view, web design is a hybrid of multiple disciplines depending on your area of focus.
There are always new coding languages, techniques and frameworks to learn, not being aware of some of these could leave your designs and your skills stagnant.
On the business side, there is marketing which allows you to understand how to create a design that meets your clients business goals and then you have design trends which can change overnight. For example, Google material design. If you don’t know what that it is. Look it up!
2. Expensive Design Tools…
I think this is probably one of the most negative parts of being web designer. The industry standard software is quite pricey. Back then photoshop would have cost you thousands now its thousands just divided into a monthly plan.
Of course, there are some cheaper alternatives to Adobe products even free but it’s always good to be familiar with using the most common ones in the industry. If you are just starting in the industry GIMP, Sketch, Canva, etc. can get help hone your skills.
3. Work whenever you want. Yes, you can.Unless you want to eat!
Ok, don’t get me wrong in some ways you can work whenever you want. But this is too loose of a term. If you are an in-house designer, probably not. You would probably have to do the 9-5 grind as well.
If you are a freelance designer, you can start work whenever you want but you would also require self-discipline to not just slack off. Your clients have deadlines that you need to meet. Also starting out you would probably have to work harder and longer.
4. The joy of facing feedback…
I know when I started this was difficult for me. It’s difficult to hear something you worked hard on getting picked at and told to your face that it’s not good, not what they were looking for, is not up to the quality they want or just plain doesn’t look good. This is something a web designer faces every day. The worst part is when you get vague feedback such as “not sure there is something not right about it” or “it just doesn’t pop!”.
The key thing about this is to handle all feedback professionally. Take it in constructively, the client is paying you after all. Unless they tell you to create a website with a bright yellow background and blue or white text…You get up from your chair and QUIT! jk.
5. The De-valuing of the industry.
I would have to say this is the worst thing to expect about becoming a web designer or any design for the matter. Although today the industry is picking up some recognition. Most people still don’t really understand what designers or web graphic designers do.
To most, we just draw pretty pictures or sit on our computer and look at pictures to use in an ad. This lack of understanding often gets your skills devalued when bidding/applying for a job.
Not to mentions websites such as Fiverr who offers to charge $5.00 for a logo design or $20 for a website design. I’m sure this is not their intention and the site does create revenue for various designers. However, like any other resource when too many charges a very low cost this often determines / or affect the general price assumption.
6. Too many designers…
Due to the ease of entering the industry, pretty much all you need is laptop & internet. There are a lot of people entering the industry becoming a web designer, graphic designer, etc. which makes competition fierce. Add sites like 99 Design and it truly becomes a competition. Often hours spent trying to win is not really justified with the money earned at the end depending on the country you live in.
This becomes quite a challenge in bidding for projects as there is a fear of someone else may be able to afford to drop their rate to an amount you cannot match.
There’s really not a best practice this issue because, in the beginning, you do need to crawl through the mud to get some projects added to your portfolio. But after a while know your worth and if a project rate is not fair to what you can bring to it, learn to walk away.
I’m pretty sure there are plenty more misconceptions about becoming a web designer and I am sure to add them here when I can. But for the time being, these are the ones that really struck me in my experience in the industry.
If you have other ones or you do not agree with the above feel free to share.