Can you consider yourself a designer if you don’t do websites?

Woman sitting at a desk with question marks

Are you a graphic designer who gets asked to do websites and wonders:

“Do I have to do web design if I’m a graphic designer?”

So many of my colleagues are graphic designers—and sometimes, they get asked to design websites. But many don’t design websites (or necessarily want to). Yet they wonder if they’re supposed to because they’re a “graphic designer.”

Do these designers need to do websites because that’s what the person is asking for?

As someone who supports specialization, I think the answer is a big fat NO. Why? Because you don’t want to be a generalist who does everything. It’s better to specialize and have a lot of knowledge about a smaller amount of things! In my experience, this doesn’t only make you better at your craft, it also makes you more sane, means you can charge more, market with direction and get more relevant referrals.

How do I know this?

Let’s back up about 10 years. I was a print designer and I kept getting asked  to do websites, which piqued my interest. So, I learned how to do web design and now that’s all I do because I realized how much I loved it! So…

  • If web design interests or enthralls you, try it!
  • If you want nothing to do with it, then don’t.
  • Either way, you’re still a graphic designer!

Here are 3 possible solutions when asked if you do web design:

  1. Say no thanks, and own your specialty. You don’t have to be a jack of all trades. You don’t have to design every single thing that could ever be designed. Own it. Say, “I specialize in X, Y and Z” and refer the project if you can. This is what I do when people ask me to do print design. I specialize in WordPress web design, but if I wanted to do print design again, I’d have no clue what I was doing. Or logos—no thank you!
  2. Handle the design—let someone else (like me!) handle the development. If you are interested in designing for the web, you’ll need to get familiar with best practices (here are 7 ways to make your web developer adore you), but beyond that, you don’t have to do any coding if you partner with a web developer. You can still offer web design services under your company’s umbrella. Check out my You design it package.
  3. Explore web design & development. If you want to consider adding “web designer” to your list of specialties, here are a few places I recommend. You might end up loving it as much as I do!

I enjoy partnering with other designers to build websites for them or their clients. Want to discuss the possibilities? Let’s talk.

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress WordPress designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. Get my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers, and check out my Client Onboarding Toolkit, a simple 4-step digital course for converting prospects into a paying clients.


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