Designer vs Developer: What's the Big Deal?


A question that often comes up is what’s the difference between a web designer and a web developer? This is sometimes tricky to answer as nowadays website companies use these titles interchangeably when describing their services to prospective clients.


However, there is a difference between the two roles and both offer a unique skillset when it comes to building a website. It’s good, as a client looking for a new or updated website, to know the difference.

The most basic difference is that a web designer focuses on how the usability of the site and how it looks. Often using a design program such as Photoshop, or an online site builder such as WiX or Squarespace to create the layout and visual elements of the site.

Whereas a web developer takes the design that the web designer has created and creates a fully functioning website, using programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.


The main goal of a web designer is to make a website look good and function properly. They use principles such as layout, colour and typography, among others, to achieve an aesthetically pleasing design.

Layout – It’s extremely important that the web designer arranges the site content such as imagery, text, icons and videos, in a way that allows site users to efficiently navigate the site.

Colour – A sites colour scheme takes a lot of thought, not only does the site need to be consistent with a client’s branding, but there is also colour psychology and colour theory that needs to be taken into consideration.

Typography – Font size, style and weight can change the entire look and feel of a website. Web designers need to weigh in on what is the best, easiest to read and most appropriate font to represent a clients site.


Sometimes referred to as programming, web development is the process of turning a web designers design into a fully functioning website. Using a program such as Dreamweaver or a Content Management System (CMS) such as Wordpress, a developer takes this design and breaks it down into components which they then convert into code such as HTML or PHP. This turns the original, static design into a dynamic and interactive website.

Finally, while there are some major differences between web design and development, there are some individuals who have the ability to both design and develop a site. Although, many modern web companies have dedicated designers who create the site layout and dedicated developers who will bring this to life.

Hopefully this article has helped to clear up the blurred line between designers and developers and shown that both have important roles, when it comes to a new website design or redesign.

Crystal Potter