Making beautiful business applications

Coffee: a parable between graphic designers and web designers

I have recently been helping a friend of mine with learning the basics of code. I think the main problem recently has been the issue of where to start. Let’s be honest – coding is difficult to learn. On face value it looks like quick magic – yet the people that think this is magic loves to use the final product. As long as it works, they are happy.

My friend I am teaching has a (graphic) design background, as do I. There’s a few things in the thinking that hinders and helps us to come to a point of understanding.

Just a friendly note – there’s no single interpretation of these job titles, and I am explaining it in my experience.

Graphic design thinking vs front end HTML designer thinking

Graphic design thinking is an iterative explorational thinking. Think of it like loads of coffees – like LOADS of coffees

Graphic design thinking: explore, explore explore

Graphic designers tend to think about things like this: if one solution is not working, scrap everything and start over. It’s similar to making coffee – if they tried the espresso,, but they cannot seem to get it right, maybe the latte will do. Both of them will give the same caffeine outcome, right? This way of thinking is important in doing general design. You sometimes need to explore, until you find a few solutions to show to the client. On the original solution, they will then start building the brand identity, corporate identity and brand applications.

Front end developers look at it a bit different –

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A web designer understands the limitations of the web browser (they understand HTML and CSS – some layout coding). They are the people bridging the gap between the graphic designer and the developer. They understand that the web is simply the cup in which the coffee goes. The flavour and colour of the coffee might be different, but it’s still coffee. The process that web designers work is a lot more step-driven. Think of it like making coffee. They understand what is needed, and have a formula to get the desired layout – even if the layout is different everytime.

Web designers need to understand how web layout works.

To move from graphic design to web design, there’s a few concepts you want to explore. In my next blog post, I will look into coffee and coding structures – Specifically Html and Css structures.

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