Should a Designer Know How to Code?

Categories code, CSS, Front End Development, HTML, inspiration, web design

As I roam blogs and twitter, one debate I see cropping up continually is the discussion: ‘Should designers code?’ It’s a question that pops up all the time and there are people who make a valid point for and against.

Let’s put it bluntly, you’re a designer at a top agency, you have front end guys to slice and code and the back end developers to work their magic. You don’t need to code, right?

From my personal experience, I feel that’s the wrong mentality to have. Now I’m not suggesting a designer should code every pixel perfect design straight out of Photoshop, but having the ability and knowledge in your design arsenal is key to becoming the best designer you can be, as well as being able to have valid and valuable input in the coding process.


From a personal point of view, when I made the decision to move form print to web I made every effort to know the basics of HTML and CSS, which helped me massively in making the transition and getting my first opportunity in the web industry.

I’m not, and never will, claim or sell myself as a front end developer but continue to be able to code my own sites to a relatively good standard (some front end developers may disagree) while keeping up to date with the latest developments in web technologies.

Learning the Basics of HTML / CSS

So, any new designers looking to learn the basics of code or a seasoned designer looking to get some ideas of where to start, there are plenty of tutorial sites for HTML including w3schools which is a good starting point and lynda which is full of great video tutorials.

It’s not as daunting as you may think! Why not download a free template, tear them apart, move them around and re-create them.

To Conclude

So my final thoughts on ‘should designer be able to code?’ Yes! They should at least have an understanding of the code and overall functionality behind the pretty pixels they create on a daily basis.

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