Web Design vs. Type Setting

HTML code interpretation

Web design tends to be viewed as ‘the least challenging task’ for designers. Let alone when this website is required to be implemented in HTML. That’s what I thought too, until I was faced with a job that required mostly HTML website designs.

After graduating, the dream job I was seeking was in a design house that emphasized on corporate identity designs, all kinds of printed materials, where I would get to deal with the pringting press, chose the special effects, etc. To me web design seemed like the least challenging.

However, luck led me to work in an environment that is mostly web oriented, and specifically in HTML/CSS design. Sometimes I ask myself, as a designer, is it worth it to get to know this relatively ‘new’ language, what are the limits between being a designer and a developer? After 9 months working in this field, I can create an analogy between the typesetter/designer relationship, and developer/designer

In fact, what is typesetting but the layout and choice of leading, tracking, kerning, sizes … and what is web design but the layout and choice of divisions <div>, padding, colors, sizes… The relation/difference between the printer/typographer was and still is delicate. Today, this applies also yet more virtually to web design. In fact, looking at old printed books, the difference between printers and designers is flagrant. The same applies nowadays for websites. The internet has replaced printed materials, and in a way, the job of the typographer is moving also to the internet.

However, the web requires the knowledge of specific languages that seem –for most of us designers– gibberish. The first time I opened a CSS style sheet in Dreamweaver, I was actually studying the typographical layout of the sheet, the color scheme and contrast. Yet, once I got to know the language, the logic behind it, it turned out being quite a challenging and vast area, that, when known by designers, can be exploited to produce much more visually appealing layouts the most practically possible.

Unfortunately, most designers still look at web design (especially the code part) as a scary field, and as a result, most of the websites we see online are badly designed, not well studied to fit the viewers, done by people who were trained to purely work on codes and logic and maths. It’s about time this area of design got more motivation, and pushed towards new boundaries.

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