Web Designer vs. Web Developer: Understanding the difference to hire right for your next website project.

Written By
January 11, 2024

Your online store is as important, if not more, than your physical business. With quick online sales from mobile interfaces to e-commerce stores, the web folks make your online store attractive and compelling for a fantastic customer buying experience. Web designers and web developers play an essential role in website development. But are they the same, or is there any difference between them? This article discusses the functions of these professionals, their skillsets, and the most crucial question: what is the core difference between them?

Web Designer 

A web designer specializes in creating visually appealing websites. Web designers are primarily in charge of the look and feel of a website. As far as they're concerned, they focus on the website's aesthetics and usefulness. 

The website developers bring the base design to life with coding. Web designers mainly use Adobe Photoshop, Figma, or Illustrator applications to design the visual elements and mockups to create a unique website look and feel with attractive colors and graphics. Some tech-savvy website designers may also use a bit of HTML and CSS to add to stunning designs for the web pages.

eing a web designer, one must keep up-to-date with the latest web design trends. Web designers meticulously plan brand imagery, color schemes, fonts, and other design aspects. Generally, it is necessary to follow a set of standards and design philosophies related to various brands. A web designer may create a style guide that helps to keep the design consistent across multiple digital fronts.

A web designer's work also involves research and trials to find the perfect creative mix. The website's design must satisfy the needs of both its target users and meet the client's specifications too. But that’s not all! A web designer's role can have different creative paths. 

Types of Web Designers

Web designers can fall into further career verticals like 

  1. User Experience designers (UX), 
  2. User Interface Designers (UI), and 
  3. Visual Designers 

all of which are different levels of specialization in web design. 

User Experience (UX) Designers

UX web designers aim to structure the website in an engaging way to create a positive user experience that encourages business goals like buying a product or service. They focus on user experience, which is about human behavior and designs that make it an easy experience. Research on user behavior involves data-driven decision-making with data analysis that helps arrive at design choices.

User Interface (UI) Designers

A user interface (UI) web designer aids in enhancing how your website's visitors interact with its many elements like ease of navigation, ability to interact smoothly to perform various functions, and net appeal. UI designers translate complex brand concepts and ideas into an engaging and user-friendly website.

Visual Designers

As a visual designer, you will work on improving user experience and user interface design with design layouts – In other words, a combination of UI and UX. On top of improving the user experience, designers address any design flaws. They help in the development of a brand's unique voice and characteristics.

Essential Skill Sets for Web Designers

  • Visual design
  • Eye for aesthetics
  • Design software
  • HTML and CSS
  • Time management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills

Web Developer

A web developer builds and maintains the website's essential structure using technical coding with relevant programming languages. They make a fully functional website using creative designs and mockups provided by web designers.

A web developer's work involves creating and configuring the front-end user-facing interfaces, functionalities of the website, and the back-end databases and servers. Besides that, they also handle post-launch services, such as ongoing support and maintenance and fixing server or hosting issues. Web developers also need to do testing and debugging of their code.

Types of Web Developers

Specialization is common for web developers as the technology landscape is vast, and one needs to specialize in a few technical areas. It could be an area of technology and specific technologies. Their categories are:

Front-End Web Developers

Front-end developers create user-facing interfaces using coding and programming logic. Besides that, client-driven forms use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making them more closely related to front-end web design than back-end programming. They focus on creating frameworks where end-users can interact for a great user experience. In this aspect, they collaborate with web designers to get the creative elements right.

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end development is commonly known as server-side development. The back-end developers use programming languages including Java, SQL, Ruby, C#, server-side frameworks, and others to code the database and server. As with any coding effort, the back-end developers devote a significant amount of effort to finding and removing defects.

Full-Stack Web Developers

A full-stack developer is a professional who works on both the front-end and back-end of a project. For web development, it's the complete package because they're a specialist in every field.

A full-stack developer's job includes:

  • Setting up servers 
  • Configuring servers,
  • Setting up APIs, 
  • Setting up query databases.

Essential Skill Sets for Web Developers

  • Programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and PHP
  • Testing skills
  • Debugging skills
  • Back-ends and databases
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Analytical skills 
  • Content Management Systems 
  • Search Engine Optimization 

Web Designer or Web Developer: Know the Difference so you can choose.

Web Designers VS.Web Developers

Web designers are creative and give abstract ideas a shape.

Web developers are purely technical.

Web designers work on aesthetic elements like the look, feel, color, and user experience.

Web developers build user-friendly websites based on design and client specifications.

Web designers transform creative ideas into visually appealing, attractive designs.

Web Developers transform design specifications into fully functional websites.

Web designs refer to how a website looks and feels on the outside from a user's perspective.

Web development refers to the various functionalities of the website and how it works.

Web designing tools are more of graphic design like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, DreamWeaver, etc.

Web development languages can vary based on the technology stack, but typically HTML, CSS, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, and jQuery are standard.

So, who do you choose – a web designer or a web developer?


It solely depends on your needs. If you need a website, you probably need a joint team effort of a web designer to get your idea right and a web developer to make the designs into a functional website.


Web designers and web developers are both critical in website development. Ultimately, these two sets of professionals complement each other to deliver a high-performing website that serves the business purpose. Their teamwork is necessary to build a great website. The main difference is that Web designers focus on the visuals and aesthetics required to ensure a solid UX and UI. In contrast, web developers focus on the technical aspects like front-end and back-end development of the project.

Leave it to the experts - Quant by Design 

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