The title says it all really. I just want to find out whether I need to know web code to be a good graphic designer.

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    @Ryan Any "graphic designer" creating content for the web is a "web designer". If all you are doing is print materials then this question would be entirely pointless. Merely asking if code should be known indicates web content is being created. I'm looking at intent not exact, explicit words here. – Scott Aug 18 '15 at 20:10
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    I disagree with both sides of your statement. I've created banner images, YouTube videos, email campaigns --- all of which go on the internet without being web design. The second is an assumption about Archie's intent when you really have no idea. Maybe they're just started in graphic design and don't know what roles exist. @Scott – Ryan Aug 18 '15 at 20:13
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    Archie, care to clarify what you're asking instead of me and Scott hypothesizing – Ryan Aug 18 '15 at 20:14
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    Lets put it like this: It sure does not hurt. So why not, its not like its rocket science. – joojaa Aug 18 '15 at 20:37
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    Possibly @Ryan. I could be wrong. I just think the question itself indicates that at least a desire to generate web pages/conent is sought. – Scott Aug 18 '15 at 20:39

A graphic designer creates graphics.

A web designer builds web sites.

They aren't the same job. It's very cool if a web designer can create his own graphics, or a graphic designer can prototype web pages, but in my experience of working in organisations, the 'graphics department' and the 'web team' are usually different teams with different skill sets. I'm sure there are individual freelancers who combine both skills, but most web designers I've met are NOT Photoshop experts, and most graphic designers don't know Bootstrap and jQuery.

As @joojaa says in the comments, it doesn't hurt if someone can do both. But it's not usually a necessity.

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    They aren't always the same job. They often are the same job. – DA01 Aug 19 '15 at 2:55

It never hurts to know both and I think that knowing both puts you above the rest. I think that if you like this line of work you learn both. I personally do both and I cannot honestly tell you which one I enjoy the most. Both are awesome in their different ways.


Define "web code".

That can mean a whole lot of things.

Do you need to be a great coder to be a great graphic designer? No. Of course not.

Does having a good understanding of front end presentation layer code make you a better web/UI designer? Absolutely.

As with any medium, the more you understand the medium and the tools used within it, the more you can bend it to your desires.


If you're going to be designing graphics intended for web use it would be good to understand what makes your work user friendly to the web developer that needs to use it, but beyond that, NO!!!... There's a quirk to being an Artist where a lot of people look at us as the "grunts" of the workplace simply because they underestimate the value of our trade. When you encounter people like that RUUUUUN!!!!... idk how many fellow Artists and Designers I've known who worked for a place who used them as a secretary, janitor and errand boy/girl. The whole place could be slow and EVERYBODY could be standing around chit chatting watching youtube, but it's the Artists who have to go clean toilets and wipe sinks for the sake of being useful and earning their keep.

With that being said, a lot of times when you see job ads asking for an Artist who knows alllllll these other professions, that's usually the frame of mind they're thinking from and it sucks because they pass it off as something realistic when it's really not.

  • What does janitorial work have to do with coding? – DA01 Aug 19 '15 at 2:56
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    you'd have to be an Artist to understand :) – Optiq Aug 19 '15 at 3:51
  • I am. I also code. I don't understand the connection you are trying to make. – DA01 Aug 19 '15 at 3:52
  • Just shedding light onto the type of mindframe we have to battle with from time to time. If you go on Craig's list and look at the graphic design jobs and see all the tasks they expect out of us it'll make a lot more sense lol. – Optiq Aug 19 '15 at 4:00
  • Oh! I see what you are getting at. Yes, that's true that a lot of people don't understand the value of a designer. That said, I don't think this is actually addressing what the OP is asking about. They're asking about particular skill sets for a particular type of position. – DA01 Aug 19 '15 at 4:19

It does not hurt. Knowing how to do X is not really a part of design. Designing means that you put thought behind your task, plan it, and make sure the plan is executable. So for great designers it wold be enough to communicate the idea to others. Note not really talking of graphic design just design in general.

Now for practical purposes the designer usually needs to make at least a mock-up of what he is designing. Partly because its hard to know how things will come out, without doing so. Partly because its not possible to ensure that the design works otherwise, thus is not executable. In reality nobody is going to pay for a design that can not be shown to work.

Graphic designers also are understandably required to be able to do the graphic part of the story. Usually that means to put together a layout, choose typography colors and arrange them in a somewhat final digital form. It does not necessitate the skills of an illustrator for example but that too can help. Anyway one problem is to find somebody willing to pay for your work.

As a result it is extremely valuable to know how to do things. As ultimately it makes for better designs. So at minimum you should be able to pick up a skill or two on nearly anything. The more you know the better, sometimes that means being able to pick up a new skill faster.

PS: It is also not possible to jump directly to late career greatness. The world will change before you get there. So be prepared to change with it.

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