In my opinion, there are two types of designers in this world – trained and untrained. Those that have been trained are well equipped to handle challenges ahead and tasks at hand. In an effort to be fully prepared, web designers attend school and spend countless hours in design labs. That design diploma, along with a portfolio, is their key to seek new design opportunities.
While school teaches you the main foundations of your field, there are important skills that you can only learn from experience in the design field.
1. Difference between School & Design Projects
Web design schools do their best to give assignments that closely resemble the practical world. However, they tend to be a few steps behind. One reason is because the constant advances in technology and updates in website design trends. This creates a big gap between a school project and a design project. Your grade depends on one, but your career depends on the other.
2. Become an Expert
There are thousands of web designers out there vying for the same job. Becoming an expert will distinguish and establish you as the go-to source in web design. If you have a certain talent, always be sure to highlight it. Master your craft in every aspect and market yourself to become a well-known expert in that niche.
3. Low Budget Equals Hands on Client
All companies have a budget they must follow, web design included. Professional designers agree that clients who have a higher budget for web design tend to allow more freedom during the design process. A company with a lower budget tends to be more hands on. They’ll probably analyze and critique the design process because of the limited budget. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for clients on a low budget; you’ll have to work with smaller companies to build your portfolio. Take it step by step and work your way up.
4. The Design Project is the Client’s
Designers sometimes lose sight of this. Once a project is finished, clients are free to make changes which can alter or distort the overall look of the website. Those designers who tend to get frustrated with this, remember, that it is the client’s website after all. Give them advice, guide them and provide additional services but don’t get mad if they want things their way.
5. Keep the User in Mind
This is a big one. Web designers keep their client in mind when designing a website, but they should also consider the user. After all, user experience is what counts the most. The more comfortable users are with the website design and its navigation, the more likely they are to return to it. Develop a thorough understanding of the users’ needs and requirements.
These points are good ones, but do not confuse the message behind this post. It is not meant to discourage people from learning about web design, it’s meant to give an idea of the professional world that awaits designers after school. Don’t be intimidated; just understand how big this industry is. You can accomplish a lot, all you need to do is work harder and stick with the basics.