Apr 2013 06

If you need print design, talk to me. If you need copywriting and copy-editing, talk to me. If you need photography, talk to me. I am a graphic designer.

However, if you need web development, allow me to introduce you to…

I’ve been a print designer since 1999. Like many designers, I had to choose between graphic design or web design during my college years. I chose graphic design: to understand spacial and color juxtaposition, to implement creative thoughts and ideas. Like many others’ my mantra was, “do one thing, and do it well.”

Today there is an unwritten expectation of graphic designers to know print design and web development. (And to do them both well.) We are talking about two different mediums and two different design styles. I fully confess…just in case you have any hidden expectations, I am not a web developer. I am however, a web designer. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably, but here is the difference: Web Design dictates how the web site looks, reads, flows and how information is presented to the user. A Web Developer is someone that understands platforms, languages (like html, php) and knows how to create content management systems if needed. (In a perfect world, web designers have a basic understanding of these in order to work effectively with the developer.)

As you probably know, there are thousands of web site template sites available now. (This web site is based on a word press template — albeit with several customizations.)

If you are in the market for a web site and choose to use a template, please heed my warnings.

  1. Read the fine print. You may be able to use a web site template, but if you want to change it, make sure you have the rights to do so. Often times there are levels of ownership and each level comes with it’s own price.
  2. Understand that just because it’s a template that doesn’t mean it’s a simple “drag and drop” method. If it is, and you want customization (which I deeply suggest) hire a developer, anyway. When I decided to update my web site, which used to be based on simple html technology, I chose a WordPress© template. I definitely wanted customization so I dug in and found a few functionality widgets and went to town on it. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of a long, long torrid relationship with WordPress info sites and videos. After one month of phone calls to and with my web site host and the template’s author and getting nowhere, I thankfully stumbled on to a fabulous and extremely helpful web site. It was the golden egg of web help-sites. It’s called, “Expert Help” and is located at experthelp.com. They’re good people (by the way, I have absolutely no connection with the site, nor it’s employees, except as a customer) and extremely knowledgeable in a no-nonsense kind of way. Which, when you’ve been up for 14 hours working on a web site, you really appreciate. You even set your own price — yes, really. So, check that out if you decide to DIY and you get stuck. (This said, WordPress web sites are fantastic way to make sure you have the necessary functionality like optimization, CMS and making sure your site works on mobile phones and other smart devices, for instance.)
  3. Know that there are some limitations to owning the site as well. Ask a lot of questions.

In a perfect world, you, the consumer, will hire a web developer and a web designer, like me, to beautifully marry form and function, as it should be.  🙂  Good Luck!

 

 

 

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