“Design Developers” – The Newest Role in Website Design?

If you browse through career opportunities in 2018, you may see a surprising new job title in website design. “Design developer,” a title coined by Andree Huk of, describes a new kind of front-end developer.

“Design Developers” – The Newest Role in Website Design?

Huk explains that a new job position may be necessary to make the transition from traditional visual designers to designers with technical front-end skills. So-called design developers would have the expertise in both roles, making them the people who are fully aware and well-versed in the best language for app development. Track this major shift in website design and explore what could be a high-demand job position in the future.

What Does a Visual Designer Do?

Modern website development requires the skills of visual designers and front-end developers, two of the most highly sought skills in digital marketing agencies. Visual designers create the aesthetics of a site. In basic terms, visual designers implement colors, fonts, text, images, and other graphic design elements of a website. It is a visual designer’s job to engage with users and build a brand’s credibility through trend-setting visual elements. The basic elements of visual design are:

  • Color palette
  • Form
  • Lines
  • Shapes
  • Texture
  • Typography

Visual designers must create a unified, cohesive website with the proper amount of white space, contrast, scale, and other elements that users expect. They must pull the components of a site’s visual appearance together in a seamless layout. Visual designers need to have a firm understanding of what visual elements users look for most in websites, as well as strategies such as color psychology. Visual designers are experts in what users think, feel, and experience on a website. They use this knowledge to come up with poignant visual design elements. It is these design elements that are offered by visual designers working at branding agencies that create a long-lasting impact on the minds of the customers. The Psychology of color affects how people see the world and which emotions come into making a logo design. This Color Emotion Guide explains the basics and uses those principles to show how to design an effective and cool logo.

What Does a Front-end Developer Do?

A front-end developer is responsible for implementing the ideas that come from visual designers and other members of the design team. The design team comes up with ideations while front-end developers turn them into reality on the page. They are key elements of the entire website redesign process. Front-end developers need to know coding, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and other skills to create dynamic, modern websites. The codes written by front-end developers run within the user’s browser rather than the web server. Web server coding is a task for back-end developers.

It is a front-end developer’s job to create a layout, buttons, and other elements that enable users to navigate and use a website. Front-end developers also fix bugs and error messages, as well as make sure multiple platforms and devices can support the webpage. The skills most in demand for this job title are coding capabilities, knowledge of plugins, experience with CSS preprocessors, debugging, problem-solving, and knowledge of responsive and mobile website design. You might have realized one very important thing when looking at the sheer number of services that these developers are providing. Finding the developer who has the knowledge and skills in the website redesign services you desire is no easy feat, which brings us to a very important question. However, there are numerous front-end developer jobs available online, with the demand for their skills and expertise continually on the rise.

What’s missing from Current Website Design Job Titles?

The roles of visual designers and front-end developers are different, yet the two jobs go hand-in-hand. Visual designers create the visual elements of a site while front-end developers make sure they work as desired. Both the design and the web development languages are necessary for a beautiful, functional website. Currently, the two exist separately within most website development firms. Thanks to fundamental changes in website design, however, it makes sense to combine these two roles into one comprehensive professional: the design developer.

Merging these two jobs could fill the gaps that currently exist in the roles of visual designers and front-end developers. For example, most visual designers do not have adequate coding capabilities to bring their ideas to fruition. Instead, they must develop graphic elements and then take these ideas to the front-end developer or other employee to install the elements onto the website. In the same vein, front-end developers can add visual elements to a website but may not have the skill set or knowledge to create these elements.

The gap between visual design and front-end development naturally gives way to a third, hybrid career opportunity. Visual design is not just a website’s aesthetics. Front-end development is not just typing code. Both are multi-faceted job positions that delve much deeper into the website development process. When you combine the skills from these jobs and merge them into one position, you get a developer who can bridge the gap between the two roles – saving time, and money, and limiting the odds of mistakes.

Exploring the Possibilities of a Design Developer

Today, only a small fraction of front-end developers possess a good eye for website design and visuals. According to Huk, this is changing. Front-end developers with visual design expertise are hot commodities seen as valuable additions to website development teams. Huk believes that front-end development in software design is undergoing a “fundamental change whereby development is pulled much closer toward design.” What does this mean? The possibility of a brand-new job description.

A design developer would effortlessly handle both visual-oriented design details and the technical aspects of front-end development. Design developers would be tech-savvy website designers equipped with visual design knowledge and the ability to write code. Combining two important website development roles would allow teams to create sites with less lag time and less room for miscommunications. When front-end developers also have an eye for visual design, they can quickly design and execute website elements. They would have a natural talent for design while still having the know-how to create the front end.

Huk isn’t the only one tracking a shift toward design in front-end development. Others in the industry also note the blurring of the lines between design and development. Despite decreasing costs to launch the software and simpler methods to create sites, it still isn’t easy to create websites that users love. This requires an understanding of visual elements as well as how to deliver an optimal user experience. A design developer is someone who would have both these talents, along with the ability to design and develop successful websites.

What Would This Job Position Look Like?

Should design developers come to fruition in the next year or so, expect website design teams to look for professionals with backgrounds and experience in both visual design and front-end development. These professionals would be skilled in website design but also know how to write code and initiate solid front ends. Hiring this type of individual could eliminate required handoffs from person to person to bring design ideas to life on a website.

You might be a future design developer if you have an interest or experience in both the visual and technical aspects of a website while working at one of the Web design companies. You may already use sophisticated website development tools that blend these two roles, such as Squarespace or Webflow. These are design-first website-building tools that allow creators to add code to tweak the finished product. This is just a taste of what design developers could be doing in the future.

Five years from now, expect to see the composition of the average website design team change. Visual designers won’t only be in charge of aesthetics but also of website coding. Front-end developers won’t be able to turn a blind eye to a website’s visual elements. Instead, both employees will have to grasp the skills of the other – or give way to a hybrid position that blends the two on a fundamental level.

Design developers would be able to act quickly to improve a site and roll out new features faster than before. Businesses would be able to deliver better user experiences without costly downtime in site upgrades. As website teams begin to blend the roles of visual designer and front-end developer, expect to see this new job title arise in the near future. Just like we have seen Top SEO Companies and UI/UX designers move into the spotlight in digital marketing, you can expect to see design developers have their day in the spotlight as well. You never know, If you have these skill sets, this impressive title could even be yours.

Stephen Moyers

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39 thoughts to ““Design Developers” – The Newest Role in Website Design?”

  • This is an AWESOME blog post.

  • Surely sooner or later companies will look for individuals having multiple skills rather than employees who only know what they are doing for a long time. Employers now see if a person that will hire has the potential to be an asset if the portfolio is impressive. Also, it’s practical to have one than two persons when it comes to payday.

  • It is a great blog post.I am always read your blog helpful and informative tips. I like it thanks for sharing this information with us

  • It is great blog post. Helpful and Informative blog. I am always read your blog. Thanks for sharing these information with us.

  • At a time while I was looking for an impressive name to bridge a designers skills who works with developers or has a brief knowledge of front end software technicality… In which i coined Design Engineer… While looking for a softer subtitute I found the word DesignDeveloper…

    In as much a s bridging the gap in complimentary roles can save cost as long as such roles are wide enough to exhaust the professional a Hybrid claim of such role can never do without a specific Specialization just lime we now have in UI/UX design and research expert ….

    In a broad field, combinations might be an added advantage for quick performance but specialization is King for effective and efficient deliveries .

  • Imagine a Designer in Tech and Print Graphics who work always with Software Engineers most times

    This is exactly what happened at a time while I was looking for an impressive name to bridge a designers skills who works with developers or has a brief knowledge of front end software technicality… In which i coined Design Engineer… While looking for a softer subtitute I found the word DesignDeveloper…In as much a s bridging the gap in complimentary roles can save cost as long as such roles are wide enough to exhaust the professional a Hybrid claim of such role can never do without a specific Specialization just lime we now have in UI/UX design and research expert ….In a broad field, combinations might be an added advantage for quick performance but specialization is King for effective and efficient deliveries.

    This is like bridging the gap between a Motion Graphics Designer and a Videographer/Cinematographer … Specific area of Niche inspire fair knowledge of a combine skills in broader fields will demand for Specialist with a fair Hybrid Capacity.

  • Thank you for this excellent post. Very informative!

    • Thank you

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    Really it is very accommodating and instructive ideas. I like it much obliged for offering this info with us.

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  • You’re welcome.

  • Saini Web Experts

    Nice post and very helpful

    • Thank you

  • Thank you for this excellent post. Very informative!

    • I’m glad that you found the post informative

  • The role of a Design Developer, or Web Designer-Developer, has been gaining traction in the industry recently as teams look to bridge the gap between design and development tasks. Essentially, Design Developers are web designers that possess both coding and design skills: they can create visually appealing designs while also implementing them correctly into code. This combination of abilities sets them apart from other digital professionals, allowing them to better understand their client’s needs and bring projects to fruition faster with fewer revisions needed. As such, these professionals have become increasingly more important in today’s market for website creation.

    Design Developers combine the ability to create pixel perfect user interfaces with technical knowhow – something which traditional website designers lack when trying to ‘translate’ mockups into code effectively. They can take a full range of design principles and use it on multiple platforms like HTML/CSS or even iOS/Android apps.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the role of Design Developers. I completely agree that their combination of design and coding skills is valuable in bridging the gap between design and development tasks, and that their ability to create pixel-perfect user interfaces sets them apart from traditional website designers. Their importance in the website creation market is definitely increasing.

  • Christopher Alan Goodsell

    I’ve been in the creative field for 30+ years. I’m not sure I have ever met an only visual designer. I certainly wouldn’t have hired any of them. All of my designers, including myself have been both technical and visual. It’s an obvious choice, you can design much better when you know how it’s going to get built and implemented.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective! I completely agree that having both technical and visual skills is a valuable asset for a designer and can lead to better designs. It’s great to hear from someone with 30+ years of experience in the field.

  • Awesome and interesting article. Great things you’ve always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post.

    • Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I’m glad you found the article interesting and helpful.

  • Very Nice Blog, Helpful Information Thank You!

    • I’m glad you found the information helpful.

  • Nice Blog. It’s interesting to see how design and development are coming together to create better websites. As websites get more complicated, this role could be really important. It’s cool to see how the industry is changing to make websites better for all of us!

    • Thank you! It’s fascinating to witness the synergy between design and development in evolving website creation. As websites become more intricate, this collaboration is indeed crucial, and it’s exciting to see the industry’s positive changes for improved user experiences.

  • Cool Blog! I find it fascinating how design and development team up to make websites better.

    • Thanks! It’s amazing to see how design and development collaborate to enhance websites. The evolution of roles like “Design Developers” indeed brings fresh perspectives to website design.

  • Hello, writer. I just came across the blog you have created, which is both informative and fascinating!

  • I like looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    • I’m glad the post prompted some thoughtful reflection! Encouraging engagement and different perspectives is what makes this platform vibrant. If you have any insights or thoughts you’d like to share further, feel free to comment anytime! Your input is appreciated.

  • Crispy and informative content. Thankyou for sharing

    • You’re welcome!

  • Though it is an old article, I came across this article while browsing. Surely an important point discussed, and in the present world, website design, speed optimization plays a vital role in retaining users, and also a ranking factor.
    This type of content should be there. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for clarifying! I appreciate knowing that we keep our content updated to ensure its relevance. It’s essential to stay current with the latest trends and information in the ever-evolving world of website design and optimization. I’m glad you found the content valuable, and I appreciate your feedback.

  • An interesting take on website development and design. Design developers indeed sounds like a great and innovative solution to the problems today’s web development experiences.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you found the concept of design developers intriguing. Indeed, the fusion of design and development into a single role can offer innovative solutions to the challenges faced in modern web development. It’s an approach that emphasizes collaboration and efficiency, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both designers and developers.

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