Web Developer vs Web Designer: Is There A Difference?

Are there any real significant differences between a web designer and a web developer? This article will take a closer look at what each one does in their respective field to shed some light on the difference between the two.

Platforms like WordPress give us the ability to create our own website in minutes. There is also a lot of information and tutorials online on how to make your presence known on the internet, as well as plugins to help the website grow. Nevertheless, there are times when we still need the services of a professional web developer or web designer to make significant improvements in our existing site.

But which one should you choose to do the task at hand? Which specialist can help you? And what are the skills you require?

Today, the lines between the two are becoming blurry. Developers are starting to be aware of the theories of design, while designers are taking an interest in learning how to code. This makes it even more confusing to tell the difference between a web developer and web designer. In this article, we will make things clear for you.

What Web Designers Do

The term most commonly used for individuals creating websites is web designer. They have a wide range of skills that can help your brand, product or niche, make an impact on your target demographic. They usually start off by considering the objectives of your website, they set up the hierarchy of its information and then help to guide the process of the design.


Visual Graphics

Most web designers produce a visual design of a site and then create its overall look and feel. They will sit down with their clients first so that they can better understand their requirements to come up with a concept suitable to it. Furthermore, they also consider several aspects including branding.

Once they put together a concept, they will begin to create the visuals. Designers have extensive experience and skills in graphic design tools such as Photoshop, CorelDraw, InDesign, Illustrator, and much more. They can provide you with animations, buttons, graphics, vector images, and other visuals in various forms.

To do this properly, they need to acquire knowledge on design concepts which include how colors work together, typography, textures, shapes, and contrast among others. Designers are right-brained thus they are very imaginative and creative.

User Experience

Web designers aim to provide a good user experience while interacting with the content of your website. Web design is both an art and a craft. A website should be functional aside from looking aesthetically pleasing.

There are sites like e-commerce shops which aim for users to take part in actions like subscribing to a service or making a purchase. Moreover, they also need to be intuitive and easy to navigate. That is why designers are required to always know about the current interface design development. A good web designer is up to date with the latest trends in web design so that they can provide their clients with modern solutions.

What Web Developers Do

Web developers are also known as programmers. Unlike designers, providing you with an attractive website is not on top of their priority list. They focus more on making sure your site’s codes are clean and they take care of all the functionalities and the technical side of things.

The next step on the whole website process is web development. This is the part where developers turn the design into a reality by separating its components. They are highly knowledgeable about HTML, Javascript, CSS, other more dynamic methods for incorporating PHP, CMS, and other programming languages in your site.


Web developers can be classified into two groups:

Frontend Developers – They translate the finished design into codes. They are usually experts in HTML and CSS. They also utilize Javascript for more complex and advanced designs.

Backend Developers – These web developers deal with even more complicated codes. They are centered more on the functionality of your site such as shopping carts and accounts. They also need to have a solid background on PHP, knowledge on APIs, combining various software types, and even building functionalities from scratch.

Developers use the left side of their brains the most. They are great at logic and analytics. Usually, they are armed with a degree in computer programming, computer science, and other associated technical areas.

Is There A Difference On How Much They Cost?

When it comes to hiring a web designer or web developer, always remember the phrase “you get what you paid for.” So if you want to hire a freelancer, better do it the right way to avoid problems that may cost you more in the future. The hourly rate of a decent designer is usually between $40 to $75, while developers can go for as much as $150.

The big price difference here is due to the experience, background, and knowledge that one needs to acquire before getting started in the industry. Web development is more challenging to get started in, compared to web design.

Although it is not easy for any web designer to get his way around the design principles, graphics, and use of Photoshop, the developer’s job of learning algorithms, coding multiple languages or problem-solving is even more difficult.

Can They Work Together?

The answer is yes! They both have specific skills that can help you create a website that meets the needs and demands of your clients. A comprehensive briefing is the key to make the whole “working together” thing beneficial for you. If your web developer and designer lacks communication, you will end up with a not-so-good UI.

If you can’t afford to hire them both, you may consider hiring a hybrid which can help you set up the design of your site, as well as its development. Hybrids are web designers and developers fused into one. They mostly work with WordPress and other CMS platforms, allowing them to complete the job quickly.

Web development and web design are two different aspects of creating a website yet both are just as essential for the success of your brand or niche. Hopefully, this article answered all the questions you have about what a web designer and web developer can do for you and your website. Let us know if we have missed any important difference by commenting below.

Aileen Cuaresma

Aileen Cuaresma

Aileen is a Technical and Creative writer with an extensive knowledge of WordPress and Shopify. She works with companies on building their brand and optimizing their website. She also runs a local travel agency with her family. On her free time, she loves reading books, exploring the unknown, playing with her two adorable dogs, and listening to K-pop.

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5 Comments

  1. Isa

    This is by far the best article I’ve seen on what a web developer and web designer is and also the comparison was brilliant too.

    Reply
    • Aileen Cuaresma

      thanks so much…glad you find the article helpful 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lisa Brown

    Hi Aileen,
    This is an excellent article you share here. I just love the way you write this wonderful article. Thank you for sharing this informative article with us. Keep sharing new posts.

    Reply
  3. Owen Levinee

    Hello Aileen, you have done a great job, article written very well. Thank you so much for sharing precious information with us. It really helps. Keep going.

    Reply
  4. wonderwoman

    Thanks a lot for this beneficial article!

    Reply

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