What I learned by coding 35+ Web Pages using Html, Css, jQuery and Bootstrap
It is not always the case that a brand and UI designer can code. However, I think you'll agree that this skill offers great advantages to someone in my line of work. As a freelance brand and UI specialist, I have found it to be invaluable.
After I left school, when I was attending a BA Graphic Design course in London, my desire to code came back to me and I soon re-immersed myself in coding lessons to supplement my main course on platforms like TeamTreehouse and Udemy. By this time, I had a pretty firm grasp of the basic concepts of coding. Using HTML, CSS, jQuery and Bootstrap, I was able to code entire pages from scratch.
It is true that my days as a budding coder are now gone. The fact is that I decided to go with my first passion for design as a professional career path. Nevertheless, my understanding for what goes on behind the scenes with digital design informs what I do as a brand and UI designer.
To be clear, this knowledge gives me an advantage over other designers – something which I can pass on to my clients.
I always advise new and upcoming designers I meet to learn how to code, at least to a basic level. This is because it will help them to communicate better with coders and clients alike. It really is worth it and will be a valuable asset throughout a modern design career. This is because, by understanding the same language as coders, it gives designers the opportunity to overcome creative challenges together. Without the skill, you have little common ground. After all, common ground is really a basic requirement for collaborative problem-solving in any team.
I'll illustrate this idea with an example. Say you are part of a UX team for an online based software tool and need to put over your design ideas to a developer. If you are not familiar with HTML or CSS, for instance, then what you ask for and deliver may be impractical or inefficient. With a greater understanding of these languages, you can ask for something that is more in-line with the functions of these coding systems which makes the project instantly more deliverable and easy for the developer to implement.
For example, you might alter the padding values of an element in a mock-up. With the right skills, you will know exactly how to communicate that design change in the most effective manner so that the developer can properly document the alteration and, thankfully. nowadays designers can leverage tools such as inVision to make this process easy and smooth.
In addition, understanding code – even at a basic level – makes you more employable. With coding skills on your CV, your chances of getting hired go up. It is as simple as that. Certainly, a lot of design agencies ask for them. Whether you are seeking a visual designer position or a web designer job, familiarity with CSS and HTML will certainly help you get your foot in the door.
Basically, if the person hiring has to pick between you and another candidate with exactly the same qualifications and experience, then the ability to code will often be the differentiator.
Although nowadays I am completely focused on brand and UI design work, my view is that both designers and developers should function better together. As designers, we should form a truly synergistic team with people who code. That means appreciating their perspective, points of views and taking advice on what is technically possible. Learning to code is liberating, not restrictive and opens up more creative possibilities rather than shutting them down.
So, to conclude, I'd just like to say that coding and design are not at opposite ends of some imaginary spectrum but two sides of the same coin. We can all learn from one another, especially when it comes to coding and UI design work.