Be honest, you’ve considered becoming a web designer.
You’ve always fancied yourself a creative at heart, with an eye for good design. You know that a nice looking website has to maintain a certain balance and flow—a wall of tiny white text on a black background won’t be gaining anyone raving fans anytime soon.
If you combine your creativity with your signature style, you could bring your grand ideas to life on the web. And what’s more, you could make a living doing work that makes you feel alive.
So, what’s stopping you?
Maybe you’re unsure where to start. Or maybe someone told you that without a fancy degree in Computer Science or Graphic Design you’d never have a chance.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to go back to school (yay, for no more student loans!), and you don’t even need to leave the house—you can learn everything you need to know right here, online!
And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Follow this simple 5-ingredient recipe for the top 5 web design skills you can learn online:
1. Design Fundamentals
Design is all about visual communication, specifically designed to turn wants into needs. For example, did you know that something as simple as changing the color of your website background can evoke a completely different feeling?
A wireframe is, in essence, a blueprint for your website. Not only will a wireframe help you visualize what direction your web design project is going to take, but it also serves as a valuable communication model to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Without a wireframe, you may as well add hours of wasted time to your project!
You’ll need to learn how to sketch out a wireframe and how to use wireframing tools and programs to save you time and communicate your plans professionally and in an easy to follow format.
3. Graphic Manipulation & Photo Editing Software
Learn how to design websites and apps—and retouch all those gorgeous vacation photos!—using powerful design software, like Photoshop. Photoshop is a design tool that is used by not only web designers, but also graphic designers, print designers, and photographers, to name a few.
You’ll want to learn how to manipulate shapes, work with paths and layers, and customize typefaces to bring your designs to life. And if you’re worried about the expense, don’t be—gone are the days when Photoshop was an industry-only tool. With the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service, you can use the latest release of Photoshop without having to shell out thousands of dollars for software that can quickly become outdated. Score!
HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, is a basic building block of the web—without it the web as we know it, wouldn’t exist.
Now, you may be thinking “I want to be a designer, not a developer” but let me tell you why it’s in your best interest to learn HTML. With just the basics, you can start building actual websites from scratch! You’ll be able to customize newsletter templates, theme templates, and basic websites, and with an understanding of HTML you can style up elements to your heart’s desire using the last —but certainly not least—skill on this list, CSS. Make sure to learn HTML5, the latest HTML release.
Have you ever wondered how they get those fun rollover effects on web pages? You know, when you glide your mouse over the ‘About’ page link and it turns from black to fluorescent purple? That’s achieved using CSS!
Cascading Style Sheets, more commonly know as CSS, is how designers style a website. So things like font colors, borders around buttons, and even the layout of the white space on your website can all be controlled and modified using CSS. Also, CSS tells your web browser how your website should look and function when being viewed, whether that be on your laptop or your phone. We all know how frustrating it is when a site looks totally wonky on your phone, right?
So, there you have it! Having great ideas will take you far. But having the skills to act on those great ideas is your meal ticket to a long and profitable career as a web designer.