Front-End Development VS Graphic Design - Who Do I Hire?
Compelling visuals and a convenient user interface are two vital areas of a website for attracting and converting customers. However, when you’re just getting started building, how do you know if you need a graphic designer or a front-end developer to create your dream site? While the two are often thought of as being one and the same, they actually require very different skill sets.
So, what do these jobs actually entail?
Graphic design is image and spatial based. These are the people who will conceptualize and create the actual images, color schemes, videos, and other visual content for your company. A good graphic designer will not only be able to come up with multiple options for you to choose from, but more importantly will be able to translate your thoughts and goals into tangible products. Extensive research on color schemes and their related psychology, capturing the culture and emotion of your business goals, and creating designs that delight users is their specialty. While most graphic designers cannot code or build a website template for you, they can create Photoshop or other image documents that are used to develop the template.
When hiring a graphic designer, be sure to check out their portfolio to get a sense of their personal style. Like all artists, designers have unique signature looks, so pick someone that already excels at what you’re looking for.
A front-end developer takes the work of a graphic designer and brings it to life with code. These developers focus on the user interface including things like button functionality, forms, and ease of use. Details like links highlighting when hovered over, image sliders, and ensuring perfect alignment are all intricately handled by front-end developers. This requires skill in technologies such as HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, and jQuery. Another common skill for front-end developers is something called slicing. Essentially, it is taking an image or Photoshop document of how the entire website is supposed to look, cutting the image into individual parts, and then using that in coding work so it shows visually on the web page.
When looking for a front-end developer, be sure to focus on software development skills rather than an artistic background. A thorough knowledge of coding, slicing, and UI/UX testing procedures will make for a strong, well-rounded employee.
While some people can do aspects of both graphic design and front-end work, these skill sets tend to be different enough that it is often worth hiring two separate people who excel in their specific field. Hire a graphic designer who can create a flawless visual theme for your website or app, and then hire a skilled front-end developer to create a robust coded user interface.
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