Is Coding Important in Graphic Design?

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Despite what some new graphic designers say, coding is still an important part of graphic design. This is hotly debated because graphic designers can use many professional drag-and-drop tools to create beautifully functional websites. These tools allow graphic designers to focus on fine tuning their art and efficiently using their time. The graphic design industry is highly competitive because there is always a readily available labor force of highly qualified, part-time professionals on hand for employers. Graphic designers who can code will increase their job competitiveness and enjoy better job security.

The Advantages of Coding

Graphic designers do not work in a bubble, but instead collaborate with artists, marketers, web developers, IT personnel and business leaders. Graphic designers who know how to code will have the skill set and industry vocabulary needed to understand and express technical design ideas to web programmers. Graphic designers who have a basic understanding of the web development process, common programming languages and standard web infrastructures will better understand the project’s technical needs and limitations.

As mentioned above, many graphic designers are independent entrepreneurs who need to offer all-inclusive services to their customers. Freelance graphic designers will most likely lack the financial resources to hire a web developer to translate design deliverables into functioning websites. In the same way, clients appreciate being able to outsource their projects to a single professional instead of handling the communication between separate parties. Graphic designers enjoy greater artistic control over their work because they manage every step of the product development.

Recommended Skills

Graphic designers need traditional and digital visual creativity skills. This means that they should be able to create original pencil sketches based on either their clients’ ideas or their own ideas. Taking drawing classes is always a good idea. Graphic designers should be able to differentiate between the different typography styles and characters. Typography refers to the text styles used in printing and publishing. Experienced graphic designers know that people either positively or negatively subconsciously react to fonts and their associated content and images.

Some clients will want multimedia deliverables such as simple animations, interactive documents, interface elements and complex infographics. Graphic designers should have the multimedia skills to meet basic requests. All graphic designers should be familiar with color theory, so they know how to mix, contrast and juxtapose sets of colors based on the client’s context. Colors, like typography, are a powerful psychological influence on the readers’ subconscious. Graphic designers should know how to organize, structure and customize page elements so that visitors are directed to appropriate calls to action.

Recommended Programs

All graphic designers should be very familiar with certain applications and platforms. This includes Adobe InDesign, which is the single most important program for graphic designers. Adobe InDesign is the standard desktop publishing program used for designing and editing visual materials like books, posers, books and magazines. Adobe Photoshop is used by graphic designers to create graphics and manipulate photos through re-sizing, cropping and color-correcting.

Adobe Illustrator is primarily used for creating high-quality images that can be re-sized without loss of quality. Graphic designers use Adobe Illustrator to create charts, graphs and logos. Adobe Dreamweaver is used by graphic designers who for web development purposes. It’s also important to know Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel.

When it comes to coding, graphic designers should be familiar with CSS, HTML and Javascript because these three programming languages are behind most web content. Readers can learn about how to become a graphic designer here.

Related Resource: Top 20 Best Affordable Graphic Design Degree Programs 

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