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What is Web Design?

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardized code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization.

Depending on the organization, web designers have a few different titles, such as web developers. Compared with graphic designers, web designers are responsible for the technical, behind-the-scenes, computer-related aspects of a project. More specific, web designers usually use computers and are often responsible for programming or writing code, such as HTML. Although often responsible for the “look” of a web page, web designers collaborate with graphic designers to determine artistic layout and effect. Web designers may work with a variety of clients to support needs for websites and gaming applications, to name a few.

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What is Graphic Design?

Graphic Design involves creating graphics, typography, and images to present an idea. Graphic Designers create digital graphics, which  then are turned into brochures, posters, or whatever branding materials are required of them. Other job duties include the development of layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and maintain an archive of images and photos for reference and future use.

Bachelor’s Degree-Web Design

An undergraduate program in web design teaches you how to code using various programming languages, including CSS (cascading style sheets), HTML5, JavaScript, XML, and ActionScript. You also learn design skills, like creating vector and raster graphics, and developing animations.

Generally, a Bachelor of Arts in web design will study animation, drawing, color, typography, photography, and composition in addition to programming and design. Coursework may also involve web applications, interactive design, 3D modeling and animation, drawing and photography. The degree program places emphasis on creative problem solving, aesthetics and advanced technical skills in multimedia technologies using current digital production software.

Examples of web design courses:

Web Design: You will study web layouts and style, artistic quality and performance, and navigation and accessibility in the development of Web sites using HTML and CSS. The focus of the course is to develop a core foundation in HTML and CSS before the evaluation of other Web development tools.

Designing for Motion Graphics: Students create animated graphics in a variety of mediums to meet client business needs. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments. It may also involve the creation and exhibition of student artwork. The programs might stipulate that students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Bachelor’s Degree-Graphic Design

A graphic design degree may provide equal parts theory and practice, this specialized graphic design program stresses the critical thinking skills and hands-on technical proficiency to complement your designs.

Examples of technical courses are:

Graphic and Layout in Print Media: Adobe Illustrator is used as a primary tool in exploring visual perception through a variety of creative exercises. This allows the student to become familiar with basic visual principles such as figure/ground manipulation, shape grouping, letter-form shape creation, and grid and system creation.

Advanced Digital Imaging: Coursework includes topics such as logo design, selection of fonts and colors, and the development of branded marketing materials. In addition, you study the important techniques of imaging software integration and file format compatibility. In addition, how these are applied while preparing images for print, video, and Web.

Graphic/Web Design

There is the choice of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Science (B.S.) in web design, though there is little difference between the two degrees. Both emphasize design, digital imaging, graphic design, and application of computer graphics tools. Where there is a difference, the science programs examine languages for web pages, using scripting languages, and web services to transfer data. Students taking the B.S. degree may also learn to conceptualize and plan an internet-based business. They learn to combine multiple web technologies to create advanced web components and design websites using appropriate security principles.

Similarly, graphic design programs offer either a Bachelor of Arts or Science. Some of the B.A. programs stress the creative aspect. For example, the study of digital and emerging media design. This course involves hands-on projects, exercises, and lectures, students learn to conceptualize, design, and deploy successful websites for clients. Course topics include intermediate web design concepts such as interface design, usability principles, web typography, information architecture, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code.

Employment Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to web designer as a web developer. According to the BLS, the qualifications are the same as a web designer. They describe web developer as designing and creating websites. For this occupation, the median salary is $67,990 with an Associate’s degree as of May 2017. The job growth is much faster than average at a projected 15% or 24,400 job changes over ten years (through 2026).

Graphic designers, per the BLS, have a median salary of $48,700 with a Bachelor’s degree. The top four paying states above $60,000 are District of Columbia, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Unfortunately, their job growth will be much lower at 4% or 11,100 job changes for the same period. The Bureau describes the profession as creating visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. In addition, they develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.