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Daily Life of a Web Designer

Aspiring Web Designers might be interested in learning the day-to-day workflow of designers so that they can judge whether or not the field is right for them. Most Web Designers work for companies or firms and will have fairly stable workday schedules. While the work will vary depending on the stage of the project you are working on, it is possible to map out a relatively consistent work schedule. Specialist Web Designers and more advanced designers (such as team leaders) will have different day-to-day responsibilities. 

Students interested in learning more about the day-to-day jobs of designers can read on to help make a more informed decision about whether or not this is the kind of career they can see themselves in.

What is a Web Designer?

Web Designers are creative professionals who are tasked with designing the layout and assets for web pages and mobile applications. They are creative professionals who are responsible for designing evocative and visually appealing web designs for their clients, and they will work on a diverse range of different projects. They tend to be well-rounded creatives who use both creative software applications and programming knowledge to design and build web applications. Using software applications such as Figma or Adobe XD, web designers will construct the appearance and feel of both the visual and functional elements of a webpage before handing that design off to web developers who will make the design a reality. At smaller firms, a Web Designer may also be expected to work on the programming side of a web design project, so most Web Designers learn the basics of HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

Web designers are most commonly employed by design firms that contract their service to clients, though many work as self-employed freelancers or work in-house for large businesses that are regularly building or updating web applications. They will most frequently work as part of large teams of designers and developers when working on large projects, but they may also find themselves working on individual smaller assignments, particularly if they are working as freelancers. Web Designers may specialize in working on specific elements or aspects of webpages or digital applications, such as building user interfaces or working on the tactile elements of a webpage to build a positive user experience.

Web Designer Specializations

Web Designer job titles are divided into two broad categories: those that express experience and responsibilities and those that denote specialization. Titles that denote required experience include titles like Junior Web Designer, Associate Web Designer, or just Web Designer. These are jobs intended for entry-level Web Designers who receive assignments from management and work as a part of a large design team. Positions like Senior Web Designer and Design Director indicate that a job position requires more experience and that the person holding that job will have more direct responsibility for the design of large projects and the work of teams. Some, like Creative Director or Chief Creative Officer, are reserved for very high-level designers who have a direct hand in major web development projects.

Titles indicating specialization include Web Developers (both front end and back end), which concern employees who primarily handle the programming and functional development side of a design project. These jobs almost exclusively focus on programming work and are likely to require little to no creative skills training. Other specializations include User Interface and User Experience Designers. These professionals focus on the interactive elements of a web application, usually the complete interface, though they may also work in mobile applications or game development. UI Designers focus on how the interface looks, emphasizing the visual elements, and UX Designers focus on how it feels, collecting user feedback and data to build better, more accessible interfaces.

Starting Your Day

For non-freelance Web Designers, you are likely to work in a design studio environment, which can be a cubicle or part of an open-concept office. You are likely to work in a metropolitan area alongside teams of other designers who will be working on similar design projects (often the same design project). An increasing number of Web Designers are working from home several days a week since the job can be done remotely. Freelance Designers will have their own schedule and will most often work from home.

9 AM:

The start of your day will largely depend on the stage of the project you are working on. If you have recently completed a project, you are likely to start your day receiving a new assignment and being briefed on what aspects of the web design process you are going to be working on and what the expectations are for your work. If you are in the middle of a project, you may check to see if there is any feedback on your work that you need to account for or revise. If there isn’t, you may just start working right away. Nearing the end of a project, designers may be tasked with working alongside other teams to ensure that everything is ready for a fixed completion date and that there aren’t any major problems or frictions between the two elements of the design process.

Freelance Web Designers may need to spend the morning checking in on clients and handling administrative tasks related to completed contracts. They may also need to spend their mornings looking over their professional contact and finding out if they have received any new professional inquiries or commissions. If they have a lot of work, they may be able to put that on the back burner, but they may also need to find additional jobs in order to have work for the rest of the day.

Regardless, the start of the day is the time when you are most likely to be in contact with team leaders, clients, or other supervisors who are likely to give your day direction. This can be either in the form of in-person meetings or in telecommunications platforms like Slack. Morning is also the time when more professionals catch up on their emails.

11 AM:

For the most part, Web Designers in entry-level positions will be tasked with building discrete elements of a web project in their entirety. This means that they will be tasked with designing and developing some element of a web design project, and this can range from an entire webpage to something as simple as an interactive menu bar. This means that your work will depend largely on where you are in the project and how large it is. If you are working on a discrete element of a webpage, you may find that it is as simple as inquiring about the desired goals of the design, building a sample for approval, and then coding a working version of the asset.

If you are working on a larger project, the process of design and development will naturally take longer. Anyone working on a single user interface could find that it takes a great deal of time and effort. The project may be broken down into smaller parts that are designed and developed individually, or they may all be constructed at once and iterated several times. Regardless, the general process of working on web design projects will involve producing assets and interactive elements of a webpage and iterating on those elements in response to feedback. Freelance Web Designers may receive feedback from clients directly, but studio Designers are far more likely to receive feedback from higher-ups or team leaders

2 PM:

Web Designers, once they have worked at a firm long enough, may also be brought into work on larger-scale projects that require more teamwork and planning. These projects will require greater coordination and, thus, more work between teams and designers working on the project. To handle this, designers may end up working on logistical or team-building projects intended to ensure that a large project doesn’t fall behind schedule. They may also be asked to work on simple corrections or alterations to other aspects of the project since correcting a minor error or altering a line of code is easier than kicking it back down the line.

Web Designers will also need to become accustomed to receiving feedback on their work and needing to respond to this criticism to produce work that is more in line with the goals of the project. Oftentimes, this will take the form of annotations on work delivered remotely, but specific changes may call for feedback meetings among individuals or teams. This feedback will come from managers and clients, and learning how to respond to criticism is a vital part of maintaining a job. This can be essential when your vision of a project and a client’s vision don’t align, especially if you are working as a freelancer. Studio designers won’t usually receive feedback directly from clients, but they will need to be responsive to feedback in order to keep working in the industry.

5 PM:

Near the end of the work day, Web Designers are likely to inform their supervisors or other team members where they are in the design process. If they are nearing completion, they can signal this to team leaders and submit assignments for completion or to receive a new assignment. Designers who aren’t nearing the end of a project may be asked to provide an update on their work or submit elements of the design project for review. At the beginning of a project, they may be asked to submit things like sketches or designs, but this will vary from position to position. Freelance Designers will have less of a stable end-of-work-day routine unless they need to bring a client back into the conversation as the project draws to a close.

Web Designers can reasonably expect to know what aspects of the design process they are leaving for the next day, so it won’t be difficult to know the project you are returning to in the morning. They may need to submit work for feedback and approval, but this generally means that the design process is beginning to come to a close. For most designers, after you’ve handled things like morning emails, you’ll have a fairly good idea of what kind of work you’ll have for the remainder of the day, so preparation at night is fairly minimal.

After Work

Studio Web Designers may be tasked with doing crunch work after hours if they are working on a project that is starting to run up against deadlines. Since the work often requires that web design projects be coded and launched by a certain date, this means that near the tail end of the project, extra work may be necessary to get the finished product ready. This is a fairly predictable process since a project running behind schedule will likely be visible well ahead of crunch time. This work will also disproportionately fall on web designers specializing in development since that is among the last stages of the process.

Freelance designers will have a far more flexible schedule when it comes to the beginning and end of their day. Freelancers will be able to start later and work deeper into the night as it fits their needs. However, because their projects tend to be smaller and they are the only workers on any given project, it is much more common for real-life issues to arise, causing a backlog and forcing them to work after the end of their day.

Learn the Skills to Become a Web Designer at Noble Desktop

Students looking to build the technical skills they need to become Web Designers may want to consider the options available to them for professional training and skills development through Noble Desktop. These classes provide students with live training from expert instructors and include hands-on training and practical experience using real-world design samples. These classes are available at Noble’s Manhattan Campus or through live online instruction. No matter the delivery method, class sizes are kept small so students won’t have to compete with one another for their instructor’s attention. As a bonus, every Noble course comes with a free retake option, meaning you can take the class again within a year. This is ideal for students who want to receive more instruction and for students who want more time to gain hands-on experience that they can parlay into better job opportunities.

Students interested in becoming professional Web Designers will need a lot of skills training. For novices, Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program that will teach students how to use common web design software applications, how to code their designs in basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and how to use WordPress for more advanced webpage design. In addition, students enrolled in this class will receive one-on-one career mentoring assistance and professional development seminars, including portfolio-building exercises. This is an ideal course for any student who wants to start a new career in the field of web design. Noble also offers more targeted programs, such as the UX/UI Design Certificate program, which prepares students to design interactive interfaces for digital applications and products. This focused career-program de-emphasizes the importance of learning to code and emphasizes the importance of tactile user experience design.

Students who have a measure of professional training and are seeking to expand their skills may want to instead consider enrolling in one of Noble’s skills bootcamps. For example, in Noble’s Figma Bootcamp, students will learn how to use Adobe’s Figma software application to build interactive prototypes of web designs in order to test their functionality before beginning the coding process. This is an invaluable tool for any Web Designer to know how to use, and in a bootcamp, you can focus on learning individual skills to improve your own career standing.

Learn more in these courses

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