I started as a graphic designer in the 80's, working for small ad agencies and by 1999 I was an Art Director at a publishing company in NYC. During that time this company thought it may be a good idea for me to learn dreamweaver and flash. I took a few classes and enjoyed it, but was not able to put it to practice.
Graphic Designers in "the old days" wanted nothing to do with the web and many of them wanted nothing to do with computers. I was not one of them. Always had a little techy in me. Loved learning the software on my MAC about how the computer worked - I was able to figure things out pretty easily.
When I eventually left my position as an art director, I decided to work for myself. I freelanced for several publishing companies, a wine distributor and local businesses.
In 2012 I was working on a political campaign for a gentleman running for NYS Assembly. He had hired someone to create a website but the guy didn't come through. So, my client said: "I need this website - can you do it?" I replied - I'll try. That was how I began creating websites - I taught myself and eventually put myself out there — joined networking groups, the local chamber, etc., and eventually started getting small businesses website design jobs. I was totally hooked.
What is a Graphic Designer?
A Graphic Designer needs to have a strong knowledge of creativity and design skills. These skills are needed for designing print materials, logos, marketing materials, signage and so much more. They need to be able to express ideas and thoughts to communicate messages. Typography is also a very important component being a good graphic designer.
Then there are the necessary tools - ILLUSTRATOR, INDESIGN, PHOTOSHOP, (and in the olden days, Freehand, Page Maker and Quark Express) that we had to learn and master.
What is a Website Designer?
It is my humble opinion that a website designer should have a strong background in Graphic Design. In the early days of the Web, most of what we saw was information with little or no design. Websites were loud and difficult to make sense of.
Thank goodness for Website Designers with a design background because today we're seeing so much creativity, easier to navigate and more pleasing to the eye websites.
A Website Designer goes through a similar process as the Graphic Designer but in some ways more intense. A strong knowledge of HTML and CSS is very important.
We conceptualize and arrange the content and graphical elements to share and access on the web. It is more technical in nature and focuses on the functionality of a website. Unlike print, you have a very short window of opportunity to catch the users attention. Experience in marketing and advertising is a true plus!