Web Design vs. Graphic Design

Web Design vs. Graphic Design

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Web Design - Graphic Design

There are numerous graphic designers out there who really know their stuff when it comes to print design, brochure layout, and Pantone Matching System (pms). However, not all graphic designers are good web designers. Web design is a totally different medium where the "paper size" (the screen resolution) changes for every viewer, colors don't cost extra, fonts are limited to a select handful, and extra images might mean losing customers.

Website design walks a fine line between having a great design and having a great design that no one will see because it loads too slowly or cannot be indexed by search engines. There are many "tricks" that web designers employ to overcome these obstacles and still have a great looking layout. However, many of these are hidden from graphic designers because they don't know the programming that is going on behind the scenes. All they know is how to pull up an image, slice it up in Photoshop, and dump it to the web. (Ok, that might have been a little harsh, but I've seen it done.) Or, if they have stepped into the realm of WYSIWYG programming (insert favorite WYSIWYG editor here), they get tons of extra "bloated" code and increased download sizes and still no real control over their layouts.

Unfortunately, those people who make wonderful graphic designers, normally were not the people in programming classes. They think with different sides of their brains - creative and logical, right and left brained. After learning that a new client was having difficulty getting any visitors to their website, I was asked to look at their site and give an evaluation. After reviewing the site, I sat down and showed them what the site looked like to the search engine. The entire cached site read as follows, "Your browser does not support frames.". Another site I once saw had only a blue rectangle on the cached page. No text, no images, nothing but a blue rectangle. The normal site looked amazing and very appealing to a human visitor with the right plugins (although the site still took 2 minutes to load on a T1 connection). However, the search engines were merely drawing a blank. Any wonder why they were not getting any visitors?

Now I want to say something to all my graphic design friends out there. You are some of the most passionate, strong willed, dedicated people I have ever met. I am always impressed with good graphic design. If you are contemplating doing a little web design, sit down and talk with a 100% pure web designer, someone who has experience with great web design. They will give you the needed guidance to give you a framework that you can build your masterpiece around. (Now please don't send me tons of hate mail.)