Are you a Web Designer? You Should Learn to Code.

The I-can’t-believe-we’re-still-talking-about-this-in-2014 issue.

This past weekend, I attended my second Digitized event in Athens. It is easily the most important digital design event in Greece, featuring inspiring speakers from around the world. Konstantinos and Demetrios are doing a fine, fine job in orchestrating an event that brings people together to inspire them, be them designers, developers, marketers or ninjas.

This year, the good people at Digitized organized a Dribbble meetup, the first in Greece. I was really excited to be there, partly because I could meet in person all those designers I’ve met online, partly because my colleague and fellow designer, Panagiotis, would give a lightning talk on how designers should learn how to code. Panagiotis was extra cool and explained that, really, HTML & CSS are not that hard to grasp, while he presented helpful resources for any designer that wanted to expand her skills.

All this sparked a really interesting conversation on design and coding, which was cool. What wasn’t cool was when I got totally smacked in the head because of how many web designers resisted, just plain resisted, learning how to write HTML and CSS.

I find it astounding that it’s 2014, we’re in the age of responsive design and mobile growth, and people are still arguing about how design is all about creativity and how coding hinders that. I cannot overstate how wrong I think it is.

If you design for the web, you have to learn its language.

Writing HTML & CSS is not programming. HTML & CSS don’t deal with logic. They’re just the language that translates those beautiful static mockups to actual, living pages that people can use. The rules are simple and everyone can start coding – you don’t need a computer science degree, advanced technical knowledge or specialised software.

You can just fire up Notepad and code up that sucker, people. Really.

Creating pixel-perfect web mockups in Photoshop is a dying art. The sooner we realise that, the better. These days, our designs are meant to be touched, interacted with, loved and hated. Not knowing how to code spends unnecessary resources and adds overhead to an already convoluted workflow.

Sure, yes, you never needed to do that until now. But why would you resist learning a skill that will definitely help you understand your craft? I’ve never, ever met someone that regretted learning a skill.

How can you deny yourselves that?

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