Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

Silent designer

23rd March 2015

We’ve all done it. You show your work to friends, colleagues, potential employers and clients. They pull a funny face and you can see they don’t like it. This is where the line “The design was nothing to do with me!” gets used. First thing people see is the design, they don’t care what went into the page markup or CSS. It might be the best god damn markup ever but that green just doesn’t go.

I can count on my hand how many websites I’ve made professionally that I did some design for. By design, I’m talking Photoshop design or Illustrator or Fireworks or whatever. What I can’t count on my hands is how many websites I’ve had to design in the browser as I simply don’t have enough hands.

Ah Dan, the old designing in the browser topic is getting an airing eh?

Well yes but not to belittle Photoshop. We’ve covered that.

I’ve made countless websites where I’ve had to make a call on how things look based on how big the viewport is, do I left align, right align or leave it. That copy looks big on mobile so I need to make it smaller. Stuff that nobody else has considered.

It might not be pretty picture design but I am indeed designing no matter how many people disagree. As a front-ender, I make design decisions all the time. I can see something that looks off or needs fixing. Might be on paper, might be in markup or just in my head but I design a lot. I don’t have the luxury of just having to produce 3 or 4 versions. I have to worry about every pixel as it makes such a massive difference if I don’t.

As a front-ender, I probably don’t get the credit for the amount of design work I put in yet without it, the sites I make will probably look a lot worse than if I didn’t do it.

Us front-end devs are design heroes.

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