The Difference Between a Designer and Developer

the difference between a designer and developer

Unless you are involved in the industry, most do not realize that there is a difference between a designer and developer. In fact, there are several "roles" that go into building a website including, but not limited to: designer, content specialist, photographer/videographer, developer, SEO specialist, etc... but that is another post for another day.

In a nutshell, web designers are responsible for creating the aesthetics and usability of a website. Developers, also called Programmers, responsibility is to take the design and make it a functional website. To break it down even further, think of the design as the image or picture that you see when you look at a website. For instance, when you see the fonts, colors, and images all working together to provide the aesthetic of a website. Now, when you think of the development, think about all the code that made the layout, links, buttons, scrolling images, etc appear there. Taking it one step further... if you are on a website and see a button that draws your attention, think design. Now think development when you go to actually click that button and something happens, whether a form pops up or you are taken to another page.

the difference between a designer and developer


Designers are right-brained and are found to be more artistic, imaginative, holistic and creative thinkers. Developers are left-brained and are definitely more analytical, technical, logical, and sequential thinkers.


The role of a web designer would be to create the design of a website. This involves building layouts. These include the placement of layout of pages that take both visual appeal and usability for the site visitor into consideration. A web developer would then take that graphic layout and develop the design into a functioning and user-friendly application. They do this by writing the HTML, JavaScript, and PHP coding.

Technical Skills

Software that is typically used by a web designer includes Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Sublime Text. Skills needed by a web developer would include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

Final Words

If you are looking for a new website or website re-design, you may have been confused by the roles up to this point. Hopefully, you have found this helpful in clearing up the misconception that design and development are the same things.

Check out Amanda Schoedel's free Web Development Dictionary, a guide for non-developers!