Web design

Web Designer Vs. Web Developer: Basic Considerations

What are the differences between the role of a web designer and of a web developer?

What does a web designer do?

They focus more on the design of a particular page or website or whatever it is – things like the layout, the look and feel, the colour, the fonts that are employed, the logos, and perhaps they create logos, images. Just in general, they deal with the look and feel of the website. That’s what the web designer will focus on.

What does a web developer do?

The web developer, on the other hand, takes the design that they’ve got from someone – the web designer – and make that work. Basically, they focus more on the functionality of the website in terms of getting buttons to do something, getting data saved, etc., so someone can visit that page or website and get it to actually do something productive rather than focusing on how it looks. So, they’re implementing the web designer’s design.

Tools employed by web designers

The most common tools used by web designers are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Adobe XD, etc. The tools used by web designers are more graphical products or prototyping type tools, so they can take the design and put it into some format, a PDF format or some other format. Thus, they can see what their design is going to work with.

When they’re finished and they’ve got an idea in their head, they can give that to a web developer who can then try and implement what they’ve done, in order to create a website out of it.

Web developers tools

The most common things would be an editor for editing HTML, CSS code or JavaScript. Editors like Sublime Text, VS Code, Visual Studio Code, Atom are the most common editors. Also, full-blown IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA or Adobe Dreamweaver are often used by advanced web developers.


Web developers, in addition to knowing how to use required software, need to have a good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as an absolute minimum. These would be the starting point for a typical web developer in order to understand to use those technologies and languages before they can then move on to other things such as Python or Java development.

Web designers, on the other hand, need obvious good graphical skills, they need to have the skills to be able to design and create good looking elements. Basic artistic skills are also required for web developers since they are those who will build the functionality of the website and changes will need to be made here and there.

The web designer is more engaging with the end user to try and get an idea on what they’re trying to achieve and they’ll create the design. Then they’ll bring it to the web developers to implement.

It’s fairly rare for someone to be a web designer and web developer. It’s normally a focused one or the other. However, if you’re a rare person who’s got good artistic skills and good web developer skills, that’s probably a big bonus for you!

Who gets paid more?

In general, web developers will get paid more because rightly or wrongly they’re seen as more valuable than a web designer. That’s obviously not the case. The specific cases will override these generalisations. Again, in general, web development will be seen as a skill that’s more in demand and basically paid more as a result.

It’s harder in many aspects to be a good web developer, and that’s because with web design, if you’ve got good artistic skills, you can keep those skills up. There’s not really a lot of software you need to continually relearn. On the other hand, as a web developer, technology is changing so fast! New versions of software are coming out and you need to be on top of things like HTML specifications, JavaScript, etc.

As a web designer, once you’ve got your basic skills and learned software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Adobe XD, then you can maintain those and make a good living without having to continually reinvest in learning new software and staying constantly updated. It’s not to say you won’t have to do some relearning. However, there’s a lot more to learn and keep up to date with as a web developer. That’s probably the reason for the extra dollars that typically a web developer will get compared to a web designer.

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