Web Design: What does it mean and what does a web designer do?

A web designer is responsible for creating the design and layout of a website or web

Web Design: What does it mean and what does a web designer do?

Web Design: What does it mean and what does a web designer do?

If you are passionate about web design and want to earn money as a web designer then this article is for you.

A web designer is responsible for creating the design and layout of a website or web
A web designer is responsible for creating the design and layout of a website or web pages./Freepik.com

In 2016 we had an unsuccessful attempt to launch an online course.

Back then I knew nothing about web design and decided to hire a web designer to make my platform for the course.

Even though I worked in the IT field, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what tools and technologies a web designer uses.

Soon I found a freelancer and agreed to make my website.

I paid in advance and was waiting for the site to be done.

2 weeks had already passed but the site was still not ready. He managed to install Joomla (a CMS similar to WordPress) + a website template for me. And that’s it.

Initially, he told me that he had problems with the membership part.

I said OK. I’m still waiting.

Some time passed, and he barely managed to make my Home Page + the blog page, but the membership area (the most useful function) didn’t work like that.

He told me that he still needs money to finish the work. I also paid another part of the amount and…. he was gone. I made a big mistake.

That freelancer disappeared and I was only left with that site that was of no use to me.

Because I had no more money to risk, I decided to make my website.

The negative experience with that freelancer motivated me to take a little interest in web design.

I didn’t want to become a web developer. It was more out of curiosity.

At first, I made websites only for myself, then for friends, and in 2018 I created the first website for a fee.

I saw web design as an opportunity to make a profit. The fact that it allows you to work online I liked the most.

When we talk about web design, there is confusion about the profession of web designer vs web developer.

At first, I also thought that the work of a web designer consists in creating websites. But it’s not quite like that.

Over the years, of working with clients I have noticed that few understand that a good website usually cannot be created by one person.

There are talented people on both the design side and the technical side, but such experts are rarer.

The design itself is only part of the process of developing a website that concerns visual aspects and has nothing to do with writing texts or programming them.

The role of a web designer is to conceive and create the design of a website and most of the time it does not require technical knowledge.

In the following, you will find out what a web designer does, what the career opportunities and what you need to know if you intend to become a freelancer or start a web design agency.

What does a web designer do?

In general, a web designer means the person responsible for creating websites or web applications from the stage of designing the structure, designing the interfaces, creating the inclusive design, and the programming (coding) part.

Some indeed experts can combine the creative side with the technical aspects of web design, but this is rather an exception.

To better understand what a web designer does, we will start with the following definition (what Wikipedia says seems too general to me).

A web designer is an artist responsible for designing the usability and visual appearance of a website. It deals with the visual or aesthetic part of a website.

A web designer usually does the following things:

  • Choose the color palette, fonts, and style of the future site
  • Create web page layouts and prototypes
  • Makes the website design keeping in mind the company’s brand manual if it exists.

Simply put, the responsibility of a web designer is limited to the creative part of the design and does NOT include the practical implementation (programming of the site).

As a web designer, you don’t need to know programming. It is good to know basic things about CSS and HTML, but it is not mandatory.

On the other hand, if you want to become a successful web designer, it is good to have several skills related to design, including software knowledge and technical aspects to have advantages over other web designers.

If you still wonder what a web designer does, then you must know that this is an artist who “draws” websites or web applications.

The difference between a web designer and vs web developer?

The person from the agency who is in charge of creating the concept and design of the website can be called a web designer and the one who will translate this into HTML & CSS is called a web developer.

There is a boundary between a web designer and a web developer:

  • A web designer is primarily a creative person and works in software such as Figma, photoshop
  • A web developer has a background as a programmer and their responsibility is to take the design and turn it into a fully functional website


Let’s say Laura wants to create a website for her brand. She goes to a web design agency.

The web designer will first create a sketch (mockup) that he will present to the client. He will present this mockup to Laura, changes will be made as necessary and if she agrees, he will move on to the design part.

At this stage, the final design of the site will be created. Normally, this is where a web designer’s work ends.

The web developer will take the design and turn it into a website using a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Wix…) or write code from scratch.

Simply put:
A web designer designs the visual part in a design software like Figma, and a web developer takes the design and turns it into a website.

What does the profession of web designer entail?

We talked about what a web designer does. I hope now it’s clear what they do and you’re probably interested in pursuing a career in web design.

You must know that web design is a profession. A beautiful and insightful activity.

Along with the digitization of industries, the demand for web designers has also increased. And this means that those who choose the profession of web designer will have the opportunity to make money from it.

Here are 5 reasons why you should choose the profession of a web designer:

  • The demand for web designers is always increasing
  • The opportunity to work remotely online
  • Access to the international market
  • It is a very good solution for freelance
  • Low entry threshold — you don’t need to be a Picasso to find a job or client on Fiverr or Upwork.
  • The opportunity to do business for those who want to start a web design agency.

There are myths that a web designer must be a born artist. In the world of design, this is true, but when we talk about web design, things are different.

You see, a website is a business product, and the design is not the most important thing. Simply put, the role of a website is to convert visitors into customers.

As a web designer, you will often have to put the artistic side aside and focus on what matters most: Website conversion.

The big mistake made by those who refuse the profession of web design is to think that design is for artists. Wrong.

A good web designer always thinks about the visitors of the website and in time will understand that the user experience plays a very important role.

I believe that a good web designer must work side by side with the copywriter and marketing person if an effective website is to be created.

A website that converts cannot be created by just a web designer.

  • Usually, the customer tells you what they want and it is related to their business.
  • The marketing team conceptualized the structure and main blocks of the future site.
  • The copywriter writes the commercial texts.
  • A web designer creates prototypes that he presents to the client
  • After the final version is reached, a web developer builds the final website.

The profession of web design requires teamwork. You will have to interact with the client, copywriter, programmer, marketer, and project manager. If you want to become a freelancer, you will often have to do multiple roles.

When I started providing web design services, I was doing it all: The client said they were giving away a website, and I was delivering the final product.

I admit, I didn’t create the best sites at first, but as long as the client was happy, I have no complaints.

How much does a web designer earn?

In case you want to pursue a career in web design, you probably want to know: How much does a web designer earn?

This question is difficult to answer because it depends on:

  • the experience
  • the market in which you operate
  • form of collaboration
  • and the most depends on how well you can “sell yourself”.

The expert’s problem is to think that if he is a good professional, he will automatically be paid more.

Wrong thing.

If you want to earn well as a web designer you need to know how to sell web design services.

Now let’s make a delimitation:

  • Web designer employed in a company (you have a fixed salary)
  • Self-employed web designer or freelancer (you get paid by the hour or by the project).

In practice, self-employed people usually manage to make more money.

Why does this happen? The answer is very simple:

As an employee, the agency takes a portion of the money the client pays.

For this reason, it is good that in parallel with your growth as a web design expert, you also develop your communication and sales skills.

About how much a web designer earns, it is best to ask a question on thematic groups.

If you want to work as a freelancer, the average prices are from $15 — $30 an hour or payment per project.

It is best to consult the Upwork or Fiverr platform to get a clearer idea of ​​how much a web designer earns based on experience.

The best-paid web designers who have at least 5 years of experience, especially those who know UI/UX practices.

Web design elements

Next, I present you with a small introduction to web design elements.

You see, web design is a huge field.

To begin with, it is good to choose a niche in the field of web design and become a professional at it.

A web designer can specialize in:

Web design for a landing page.

It deals with creating the design for sites that contain only one page. The design of a landing page is relatively simple and contains 1–7 clearly defined blocks.

A web designer specializing in single-page website design will design the design according to the purpose of that landing page.


  • A webinar registration page.
  • A page to promote an eBook
  • Landing page design for a car wash

Such pages are usually created to collect phone numbers, email addresses or to launch a new product.

Web design for presentation sites

Unlike an LP design, a showcase site contains multiple web pages. The most common pages that a web designer makes are:

  • Home page design
  • Services page
  • Contacts
  • Gallery
  • blog
  • Sales page

On these pages, you can find design elements such as:

  • Blocks with benefits
  • Reviews
  • Call to action

This type of design is probably the most requested. If you want to become a freelancer, surely web design for presentation sites is a direction where you will find clients quite easily.

Web designer specializing in e-commerce.

It is a direction of web design aimed at the e-commerce industry.

Unlike web design for LP or simple sites, a web designer specialized in e-commerce must also know design elements specific to the e-commerce industry.

Here are some design elements for online stores:

  • account creation & login page/interfaces
  • the check-out experience: from adding to the cart to completing the order
  • product page
  • product category
  • product filters

A web designer specializing in e-commerce is usually paid better, but the demand for such services is much lower.

Web designer of templates for CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Prestashop)

If you are familiar with WordPress, you probably already know that most of them use website themes created by certain companies (eg Template Monster).

Such themes are created by web designers specializing in web design for e-commerce.

Usually, both designers and programmers work on the creation of such a template. It would be difficult for a web designer to be both an artist and a technical person with solid backend knowledge.

If you want to freelance, you will most likely have requests from 1 of the categories above.

If you are a beginner you can start with web design for a landing page. It’s simpler and the demand is high enough that you can make money from it. Later, you can move on to design for more complex sites.

What do you need to know about a web design agency?

Web design agencies deliver final products. Clients of web agencies are usually companies that can afford to pay from 2–3 thousand euros for the creation of a website.

This does not change the basic tasks of a web designer. The good part is that in a web design agency, you have the opportunity to train and grow as an expert.

If you work for a large agency, then you will be able to learn from other designers and get off to a fast start.

A web design agency can also provide you with business skills. If you are a person of action and would like to work on your own or start a web design agency in the future, then the experience of working in an agency can help.

As an employee you can observe and accumulate “know-how” about how things move in an agency, who are the clients, what are the budgets and when you are ready you can make the transition to freelancer or entrepreneur with minimal risks on your part.

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