Interview with a Web Designer
by Mark Sotell
What is the job like to be a Web Designer:
Being a web designer makes work fun every day because I am able to use my own creativity in almost every process. Its also rewarding as many people look at my work on a daily basis, some websites see my work more than 10,000 times a day. The work environment is great as I’m a gadget head – I get to geek out on computers and software all day.
A typical day of a Web Designer:
The most common task I have during the week is to mock-up different compositions for websites. This involves using Photoshop and Illustrator primarily, and sometimes some 3d software or other vector applications to prepare a comp. For animation I use Flash or a similar app and when I cut up the designs for the web I’ll use Dreamweaver or the like for the HTML and CSS. I have an 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday work schedule which seems to be the norm. I typically get to work and read through my email, respond to those that are simple, and prepare for the day. During the mornings, I tend to have a good deal of mental energy for design. Otherwise, it’s after midnight where my creative juice starts to rock. After lunch, I’ll continue layout design if I can, otherwise I am usually making changes to other comps requested by clients or project managers.
Tasks & Responsibilities:
- Meeting with clients
- Outlining goals
- Graphic design
- Logo design
- Website layout design
- Creating HTML/CSS to lay in design
- Continuous changes to my work
Pros and Cons of being a Web Designer:
- Simple schedule
- Pretty good money – $38,000/year
- Relaxed office environment
- People generally leave you alone
- People generally love my work
- Rewards are fun
- Career advancement is easy – with enough dedication you can be a developer, a programmer, or a project manager. You just need to keep adding to your skill set.
- Challenging as you must always out perform yourself
- Chatting with friends throughout the day
- Facebook and Myspace all day
- The ability to make side-money at home designing websites
- Family and friends always want you to build them a website
- Sometimes people hate your designs
- Competition among designers can be out-of-control
- Too much freelance work can be a con because work sometimes never ends. You get off work at the day job, and then go home and work on private clients. That will run into weekends, and before you know it, you haven’t slept much in weeks.
- Sitting in a chair looking at a screen for 8 hours
- Constant learning of new trends, techniques and technology
How to Become a Web Designer
Most people go to graphic design school; however I never went to school. I was always naturally creative and once I got a computer, I started creating graphics. Before I worked as a web designer I came in from a print design career. I was doing magazine and newspaper ads when I decided to branch out and do websites. Once I had a decent portfolio of websites, I started to apply to agencies where my work spoke for itself.
Degrees help to get you in the door, but not necessary if you’re strong in what you do.
Must be able to learn new software
Must be on top of latest trends and techniques
Must be able to sit still for 8 hours – that is always tough for me