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Web Design Business

I'm looking to get into the web design business but I'm a bit confused on how this actually works in terms of the tools web designers use to make designs for their clients.

Do they start from scratch or use software to manage their products? When I say scratch, I mean it. I'm talking without the help of any CMS like WordPress or any such thing (of course, frameworks and libraries like Bootstrap may be used), but I'd like a more precise vision of how it actually works.

Brian Goldstein
Brian Goldstein
19,419 Points

All designs start with some sort of discovery process about the client and their needs, desires, and preferences. this may be a cup of coffee or a 3 month long intensive research project --- It mostly depends on what kind of client, what kind of site, and what kind of budget.

Most of the designers I know may do anything from pen and paper doodling to pinteresting to get inspiration for the specific project, and then if they have to develop assets like logo marks or graphics, they build that out in illustrator. They go through at least 1 round of collaborative feedback at my agency before internal approval. Last, they will produce .jpg (for client approval) and .psd in layers (for developers to work off).

As a developer, once I'm handed a .psd, I'll pow wow with our senior developer, the project manager who oversees the whole project (except bringing in the client - that's usually the purview of a partner), and the lead designer to understand the moving parts of the design - what functionality each element has, etc. I like to really break it down and almost write out the site long hand before I write a line of code. I also prefer larger notebooks and make crude wire frames to help me understand - again pen and paper.

AS FAR AS tools go --- the last tools are Coda 2 (because we manage a LOT of sites and basic FTP would be a hassle), a fresh WP install, and our in-house starter theme (which is functionally a more elaborate css reset) for most projects. The code may be free and open source but the time, effort and attention to design detail is not - that's what clients pay for.

But I want to stress this - those DO NOT effect the design. The design process is the same as in the videos here and the tools don't matter so long as you're consistent from client to client and project to project.

1 Answer

It depends on the project, some businesses use photoshop and have a team of designers who design their whole websites and then a team of developers who program that website, sometimes the developers are also the designers as well. Sometimes businesses decide to program their own Content Management Systems from scratch, I have noticed this a lot but others just use Wordpress and build themes for that and build their own plugins. Sometimes on projects they will choose to use frameworks and libraries because it can give more freedom to the develops and designers for instance if you are using a library like jQuery then it saves time on javascript programming because the developers have a tonne of functions already built in and they do not have to spend time programming out all of these functions they can just create their own code using jQuery as a backbone to their code. I hope this helps, this may not be entirely correct as I am still learning, but in my experience this is how most people do it, I really hope this helps you.

Kindest Regards,