How to become a Web Designer in Australia
If web developers are the builders and engineers of the internet, then Web Designers can be considered the architects. They are responsible for the entire look and feel of a website, from the colours and fonts used to the layout, what the buttons look like and how the information is accessed. Virtually everything you see on the internet has been handled by a Web Designer to some degree.
Although primarily concerned with the aesthetic side of things; utilising design software to create attractive and practical layouts, any successful Web Designer likely has at least a basic understanding of the code involved in implementing their designs. This enables them to either produce a website on their own or more effectively communicate their ideas to the developers who do the bulk of the coding and construction involved in a website.
If you love the idea of mixing your creativity with practical, technical ability and contributing to the global resource that is the world wide web, here are a few steps to get you into Web Design.
Step 1: Become familiar with the fundamentals.
Determine where your strength lies, are you a creative, aesthetic type who wants to learn the technical aspects or are you already familiar with some code and want to learn how to create more dynamic and exciting designs?
If design comes naturally to you and you have some experience using programs such as Adobe Photoshop, teach yourself the basics of HTML and CSS by completing online tutorials, joining forums and asking questions. On the other hand, if you are a more technical, logical person, it can be a little harder to figure out what exactly makes for a good design but never fear, the internet can still help! Online resources can help you to understand the basics of colour theory and other fundamental design principles, and there are many design forums that will showcase cutting-edge web design to give you an idea of what is possible.
Either way, you will need to be comfortable with both sides of the equation in order to become a successful and sought-after Web Designer.
Step 2: Complete a course.
While it is possible to learn all the skills you will need be a Web Designer by online research and tutorials, there is still great value to a formal education in graphic design, computer science or web design. Many employers will require you to possess at least a bachelor’s degree before even considering your application and you will learn many tricks and tips that you may not necessarily pick up if you are self-taught.
Step 3: Build your web-presence and portfolio.
A Web Designer without a web presence is, like an aeroplane with no wings, not going anywhere. Build yourself an online portfolio website which can showcase all your design work. Set yourself some projects to start filling it out and offer to do some work for local businesses or even friends and family. Aside from adding to your portfolio, these jobs will give you more real-world experience and help you to further hone your skills.
Social media is also a powerful tool, so make sure you are posting your work on Instagram, keep an up-to-date Linkedin profile and have a visible presence on as many platforms as you can.
Step 4: Promote your work.
Once you have a few projects in your portfolio, it’s time to build your network and make a name for yourself. You can start approaching companies and firms as a freelance designer, sign up to job boards and keep an eye out for full-time employment or even do both! The more work you do, the more presence you will have online and the greater your employment prospects will become, so get cracking!
What does a Web Designer do?
Web Designers utilise a mix of creative and technological skills to produce visually appealing and functionally effective websites. They employ the design principles of colour theory, font choice and layout to create a satisfying experience that is tailored to a website’s target audience or user. A Web Designer’s main challenge lies in finding the balance between the aesthetic appeal of a page and it’s functionality. Using design software they create custom graphics, buttons, menu layouts and other elements that will be used, and then assemble those pieces into a working website using HTML, CSS and other programming ‘languages’.
Many Web Designers are self-employed while others may find full-time employment with a dedicated design firm or a large company with its own in-house design and development team.
- Producing visually appealing and functional websites.
- Liaising with clients and developers to create relevant aesthetics.
- Creating custom elements such as buttons, menu layouts and logos
- Developing designs based on the website’s targeted users.
- Identifying and fixing errors and bugs.
Skills for Success
Web Designers need to possess both technical ability and artistic flair. They must have a good creative eye and the ability to think outside the box, whilst also being methodical, logical and great at problem-solving. To succeed as a Web Designer you will need excellent computer skills, dedication and the ability to innovate. You will need to be comfortable with using design software and writing code using languages such as HTML and CSS.
- A creative mind
- Attention to detail
- Strong computer literacy
- A methodical approach to work and problem solving.
- Familiarity with design software and programming languages.
- Great communication skills.
What is the salary of a Web Designer in Australia? In Australia, the average annual salary for a Web Designer is around $52,595. This varies depending on experience and skill and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 02/18