I’m gonna talk about how you become a web designer in 2018, how it’s changed since I got started in web design about 5 years ago when I was like 14 years old, and what you need to know today to succeed as a web designer, whether that be as a freelancer or working at an in-house company or working at an ad agency.One of the big questions that always comes up is do you need to learn HTML/CSS language to be a web designer? And the short answer is yes and no. And I say that to say this, you can design websites without learning HTML coding, but it’s not recommended, and just because you can code doesn’t necessarily mean you can design.It requires both things. Part of the process of web design actually still requires some pen and paper because you have to plan these things out. You have to know a lot of things when you wanna get started as a web designer.One of the first things is, what is the website gonna be about. When you’re taking on a web designproject, just like any other graphic design project, you need to start with a client brief. Too many people, whether it’s designers or whether it’s more technical people, want to jump into the computer and not deal with human beings first and deal with pen and paper. Pen and paper is still part of the process and there’s a reason for that.You need to organize your ideas, you need to have a hierarchy for the website, you need to know how many pages it’s going to be, you need to determine do those pages have different layouts and are there templates that need to be developed for specific parts of the website, different types of content that are gonna be on there. What media types are gonna be on the website? Is it gonna have a lot of images? Is it gonna have a lot of video? Is there gonna be an audio component? Is there gonna be a blog? Is this an e-commerce website that needs to move products and if so, what are we doing in terms of, like taking credit card payments, PayPal? All of these things are important and they need to be decided before you even think about touching a keyboard and mouse.So, people ignore the planning stages of a website and people don’t know what to necessarily ask the clients. You needs to ask the clients a lot of specific questions if you’re going to be designing websites for clients, and if it’s a project team, you gotta make sure you have a brief from your supervisor and you gotta know, well, who’s supplying the content?Are you creating the images? Are the clients or your employer going to supply you with the images As for the copy of the website, the text that’s gonna go in each of these web pages, who’s supplying that? Are you responsible for the copywriting? is the copywriting gonna be provided to you, and if so, I recommend requesting it be in a Word document sent to you in an email as an attachment so that you have the ability to just copy and paste it out of the Word document, you have it to where you canstrip out any formatting, and you have a documented timeline of the fact that it was sent to you.So, those are important things. If there are pictures, you need to know if they’re gonna be delivered to you digitally or are you gonna have to scan them? If it’s gonna be stock photos, you need to figure out who has the rights to them. So there’s things that have nothing to do with coding, nothing to do with visual design, color theory, CSS, PHP, Word Press, any of that stuff that people take for granted as web designers to begin with. They don’t know how to plan a website. The other thing is you need tounderstand how websites work.So you need to think about these things and you need to understand what the aspects of a website are, what the technology that back sit is, and you need to have a grasp of those before you even think about touching a computer and trying to code a website or use a program like Adobe Muse or Dreamweaver or WordPress to build one. So, let’s talk about the software you need to operate, run, and manage a website.HTML code is how websites are traditionally built. But there are other editors called WYSIWYG editors, or what you see is what you get, and coders and programmers hate these applications, because in their mind, real web designers code.I firmly disagree with that. Coders code. Designers design. And you might be able to code and build a website, but you might not be able to design your way out of a paper bag, because you might be able to make this great, robust, functional website that is ugly as sin, that can’t sell your client’s product and can’t accomplish your employer’s goals, so that doesn’t make you a designer, that makes you someone who built a website. And that’s not a dig at coders.I coded in Notepad. That’s why I know what I’m talking about when I say that. There are people who style themselves as web designers who can’t design.Now, there are designers who can design who don’t know any technical things and can’t code, but at the end of the day, people are more interested in how a website looks and presents and whether it accomplishes getting someone to want to buy the product, and then if it doesn’t work, then they get frustrated. But they will never get that far to figure out that the button they’reclicking doesn’t work if they look at the website, it’s ugly as sin, and they leave in under five seconds. And that’s kind of the conflict between coders and designers.And I think it’s important to be both. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it take more time and energy and training? Yes. But at the end of the day, you need to be able to accomplish well placed, aesthetic, visually appealing design that can sell a product,service, get people engaged, get people interested, and then it actually needs to work under the hood and dowhat it’s supposed to.