Every modern business needs a website.

This might appear to be a no-brainer, but in the age of social media, a website can seem like an afterthought. When starting a business, you may feel like you can create social media feeds yourself, while a website is more of a daunting task.

Still, it’s a must-have if you want to lend your business legitimacy. That’s why you need a web designer—to ensure your site is high-quality and brings in customers.

But what does a web designer do? What don’t they do? Where do you find one? We’ve got all the answers you need.

What is web design?

A web design project in PhotoShop

Web design may be the first thing you think of when trying to create a website, but there are other steps in the process. A web designer’s domain (no pun intended) is the layout and appearance of your website. They create the elements that users see when they type in your URL.

There are many elements that play a role in creating a good website. Some of the key considerations of web design are:

  • Layout
  • Appearance
  • User interface
  • Branding
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Navigation
  • Menus
  • Desktop/mobile/tablet optimization

These aspects can be collectively referred to as the “front end” of your website. The “back end,” often handled by developers, includes databases, servers, and other elements that the user never sees, but that allow the website to continue running.

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What does a web designer do?

A web designer does updates to a new project

Any of the responsibilities listed above can be part of a good web designer’s job description. They usually have a background in graphic design as well as a certain degree of programming knowledge.

While the primary job of a web designer is to… well, design web pages, they often take on other tasks as well. As designers work with clients who often have high expectations, it’s not a do-it-yourself process. They’re expected to work alongside their clients at every stage of the process.

This can involve producing sample sites and drafts, as well as receiving feedback and anticipating a client’s needs. If you’re creating a website for your business, you’ll likely need at least a small multidisciplinary team to bring it to life. However, many designers appreciate a hands-on approach from their clients and employers. It’s better than doing all the work themselves only to be told it’s not good enough.

What doesn’t a web designer do?

A laptop displaying code

You shouldn’t expect to hire a web designer and walk away with a finished site. While the designer plays a key role in creating the visual aspects of your site, they’re not a jack of all trades.

One of the most substantial things a web designer isn’t expected to do is coding. Most web designers do have a degree of programming knowledge. However, the technical aspects of keeping a site running, such as capacity and performance, are usually handled by a web developer.

Beyond that, don’t be surprised if the website designs you receive contain a lot of “lorem ipsum.” Designers are generally not expected to handle copywriting for your site. If you want any specific text included in your design, you have two options:

  1. Send the exact text to your designer
  2. Add it yourself once the design is finished

If you need high-quality text for your site, you’ll want to hire a copywriter.

Finally, while web design is a kind of graphic design, the branding, logos, and illustrations you use for your website are usually not created by the web designer. You may be able to contract the designer separately to work on those, or use a design service (more on that later).

Who needs a web designer?

Two people working together on a web design project

If you’re creating or revamping your company’s website, you need web design. However, different industries have different standards, which can determine whether or not you need to hire a designer.

In general, how seriously you take web design should depend on what product or service your business offers. The more your offering ties to tech, design, and online spaces, the more important a stunning website is.

Some industries where web design is not as important include law firms and restaurants. Good visuals are always appreciated, but it’s not what likely customers are most interested in. As long as you look legitimate, you probably won’t turn anyone away, and a simple template can do the trick for that.

Now, if you’re a company that offers graphic design, such as an agency or a design service, your website better be up to par. The same goes for a web app, such as a social network or SaaS, where your users will spend a lot of time on your website.

How do I find a web designer?

Illustration of several resumes on a blue background

If you’re looking for a freelance web designer, you have a few options. You can use a classic freelancer site like Upwork or Toptal, or a site like Webflow that specializes in web design. You can also check out social networks like Dribbble and Behance, where designers upload samples of their work experience. 

If you’re looking to hire a designer, short- or long-term, your best bet is hiring sites like Indeed, Google’s job search, and LinkedIn. Be aware that most designers work in a freelance capacity. An in-house web design team is not necessary for many companies—after all, unless you’re a large-scale enterprise, you probably only have one website.

If you want to work with an agency or design service, you have many options at your disposal. You may be able to find local web design companies in your area, or work with some of the top design firms around the world. For design services, you can always get started with Penji, or check out other unlimited design services. These options are great for people with an array of design needs in addition to a website, such as branding and illustrations.

Get unlimited web design with Penji

Collage of designs created by Penji web designers

What does a web designer do for you? As mentioned above, a freelance web designer won’t handle many of the individual designs that go into launching a website for your brand. If you want a whole new look (or if you’re starting from scratch), you need a logo, a color scheme, illustrations, and more.

Luckily, Penji’s got you covered. Our AI matches you with the perfect designer for any project. All you need to do is tell us what you need, and you can have a stunning website—or any other design project—done in a matter of days. Best of all, you get all your graphic design needs for a single monthly price.

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