Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Washington (state), USA
    Posts
    461
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 143 Times in 127 Posts

    Web Design for a living (w/art on the side)?

    So I'm thinking of going for a certificate degree of Web Design at my community college - it would be a more creative job that what I do now (receptionist), so I think I'd enjoy it. Do any of you do this for a living, and how's it going? It seems like everyone and their dog has 10 friends who do web design, is it impossible to beat the competition unless you are the internet wwwizard? I'm not sure I completely trust the optimistic career outlook from the CC's website, and people I know personally who do web design get paid anywhere from thousands of dollars to personal favors. I just want to get some more input before I shell out $5000+.

    My idea would be to do web design as a living while working on my art, and hopefully someday be able to do both for money. Does anyone else around here do something like this? Do you pick up freelance jobs and do art in your free time, or crunch short-term contract jobs and practice drawing between them? Are full-time web design jobs impossible to get?

    Any insight appreciated, thanks!

    ***EDIT***


    So, I'm also wondering if maybe a graphic design certificate would provide for reasonable income? Especially after talking to some of the experienced people in the forum. Is anyone a graphic artist by profession? I have pretty much the same questions - how is the job market? Freelance, contracting or full-time? Livable wage?

    Thank you so much for all the help!!!
    Last edited by Saramel; August 27th, 2010 at 10:26 PM.


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    2,337
    Thanks
    1,074
    Thanked 2,206 Times in 1,056 Posts
    I partly make my living from web design (somewhat less so now than in some previous years, I seem to do a lot more Flash these days...)

    The more technical stuff you know, the more types of work you can get and the more you can get paid. Be warned there will always be a perpetual scramble to keep up with current technology, so you'll be constantly having to reeducate yourself, it gets very hectic after a while. If you fall too far behind, you can start losing work... unlike illustration where if you can draw, you're all set.

    If you can bring lots of technical skills to a job, that's a plus; another way to get good jobs is if you can bring an original and/or sophisticated design sense to the job. There are some designers who don't do much of the tech side at all, they just mock up a pretty design and let someone else figure out how to implement it (though if you want much of that kind of work, you usually have to be a top-notch designer. Or lucky.)

    There are full-time web-design jobs, though I don't know how easy they are to find right now. Large publishers and corporations may have full-time web staff of some sort. Most of the publishers I've worked with have in-house web staff to maintain their sites, often including someone who can handle design. The full-time gigs may not be terribly interesting or glamorous, but they'd still be better than a receptionist job.

    Tip: Learn HTML5 and CSS3... (I still need to do this. I'M BEHIND! AAAUGH!!)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    surrey, london
    Posts
    631
    Thanks
    1,130
    Thanked 1,228 Times in 334 Posts
    Hi Saramel

    I'm currently running a web design studio, and I have to say it is far from an easy job. Breaking into the market is very difficult, the stress from working freelance builds up quick and there is some very good and very cheap competition out there.

    I haven't heard of any degrees in web design over here before - the basics (html, basic photoshop, css and basic server stuff) can be very easily learned from the web; w3schools and other sites will take you through those just fine. With those combined and the right attitude it isn't too hard to earn a happy buck doing websites for local businesses and people; even if there is some local competition there will always be this demand to start with.

    That isn't going to earn a living however, you do need to dedicate some serious time and effort if you want to go further, there is much out there to learn that can give you a boost in securing better jobs like PHP/wordpress themes/printed media, and you need to keep on the ball at all times - the next big challenge is keeping up/ahead of design trends and web standards.

    This article from sixrevisions is also good at explaining some basics about the profession and dispelling some myths. both that and the earlier linked smashing magazine are treasure troves of web design information.. web design magazines are often very good too and still cheaper than that course!

    I suppose it is more creative than being a secretary, but it is not an easy job at all and can be incredibly demanding - I'm only working in it for some extra money until I can take an entry-level art job that would pay much less. On that grim note, I hope this ramble was helpful!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Washington (state), USA
    Posts
    461
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 143 Times in 127 Posts
    QueenGuenevere
    The problem of keeping up with technology/coding had occured to me, but most of what I heard before was "I'm sure things won't change that much". Thank you for your honesty, that was definitely one of my bigger concerns.

    teh.meh
    ah! that is rather grim, but again, appreciate the honesty. I'm definitely hesitating, especially since it took me like, 3 times reading an html-for-kids website to finally understand what css actually is. :/ I don't know, maybe I should put all my gusto into my art and try to get a badass portfolio asap, but I don't have much gusto left at the end of the day... I was also thinking of getting the graphic design certificate, but in general I've heard that, in order to stand up to the competition, you need to have web design skills as well.

    Thanks for the input so far, guys... definitely more to think about

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    140
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 26 Times in 17 Posts
    Ultimately the more skills you have the more likely you are to get jobs. Web design, CSS, PHP, graphic design, even print media design (inDesign/pagemaker/quarkXpress) all of these help you become more impressive than others who you will compete against. This is not to say that you can know them half-assed and be ok, you need to know your apps before you can sell yourself as knowing them!
    And teh.meh is absolutely correct when they say there is some very good and very cheap competition out there.
    It also wouldn't hurt to learn Joomla and Wordpress.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    surrey, london
    Posts
    631
    Thanks
    1,130
    Thanked 1,228 Times in 334 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Saramel View Post
    QueenGuenevere
    I was also thinking of getting the graphic design certificate, but in general I've heard that, in order to stand up to the competition, you need to have web design skills as well.
    This is contrary to experiences I've had with design studios here. Obviously it's a bonus to know it, but there are plenty of graphic design jobs out there seperate from web design.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Colorado, USA
    Posts
    206
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 24 Times in 17 Posts
    I'm sure things won't change that much
    Hehe.. now that is awesome. Don't listen to another word from anyone who gives you the above advice concerning the Internet. I've been an Internet developer for 15 years, and if you can count on one thing, it is the blistering pace at which web technologies and standards evolve.

  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to thinairart For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Washington (state), USA
    Posts
    461
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 143 Times in 127 Posts
    Brian.May - this I definitely agree with - I've seen people's portfolio sites who had their talent/skills/knowledge spread too thin - and you can tell they'd be much better at one or two aspects if they just focused. and then there's those people who are amazing at everything - I'm fairly certain those people have found a magic lamp or something.

    Hehe.. now that is awesome. Don't listen to another word from anyone who gives you the above advice concerning the Internet. I've been an Internet developer for 15 years, and if you can count on one thing, it is the blistering pace at which web technologies and standards evolve.
    Yeah, I didn't really believe it when I heard it, so I'm glad I double checked with people who have worked in the field.

    This is contrary to experiences I've had with design studios here. Obviously it's a bonus to know it, but there are plenty of graphic design jobs out there seperate from web design.
    You know, my main reason for not wanting to get my certificate in graphic design is that I'm afraid there's not enough steady work for that specific skill - I think I will modify my thread to include that option - thank you again for your input, it's really nice to hear from experienced people.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Curitiba, Brazil
    Posts
    46
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 23 Times in 11 Posts
    Hi Saramel

    Besides what everyone said, it's a nice opportunity to break in the design/publicity market and do networking. Also, some websites may require illustration, although most of them will probably be "vector-style" mascots, icons or infographics.

    About competition, it really depends in you area, I guess. Here we also have lots of self-called webdesigners, but a good portfolio, experience, skills, up-to-date knowledge and a degree in design makes a huge difference. I've seen some companies taking illustration skills as a differential for web designers, too, specially if you'll work with e-learning and flash. I'm in a 6h/day web/graphic design job now, doing some freelances (mostly webdesign) at home and I'll probably switch to 8h once I finish my degree. I'm not drawing too much besides live model drawing classes on the weekends, but it's entire my fault...
    sketchbook coming back soon

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    2,337
    Thanks
    1,074
    Thanked 2,206 Times in 1,056 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Saramel View Post
    QueenGuenevere
    The problem of keeping up with technology/coding had occured to me, but most of what I heard before was "I'm sure things won't change that much". Thank you for your honesty, that was definitely one of my bigger concerns
    HA! It changes practically every month! This is why I hesitate to tell you what specific skills would be good to learn, because they may be obsolete by next year. (Heck, HTML5 is still in flux last I checked, goodness knows what will happen there...) So you have to try to keep on top of what's current and make your best guess as to what you should learn next (and sometimes you'll waste time learning something that dies out by the time you've learned it.) Honestly, I have to wonder how valuable an actual course in web design would be - if it's mostly about the graphic design aspect, that could be useful (good design is good design no matter how it's implemented,) but classes that teach any kind of technical skills are often a bit out-of-date. It may be better to hunt for tutorials online, that's how I learned HTML and CSS to begin with (and that's how I learn new stuff and re-learn old stuff, too...)

    The other thing you'll have to keep on top of is constantly changing browsers. Every time a new browser comes out, it's guaranteed to have its own set of quirks, which you'll have to take into account in your coding. Internet Exploder alone will make you tear your hair out on a regular basis. (And hey, anyone remember Netscape 4.X? HO yeah, fun times, fun times... )

    And of course now there's a continual barrage of new delivery media - new smartphones, new iPad-derivatives, new whatever, you never know what's lurking around the next corner... Who knows, we could be designing for interactive T-shirts next.

    I've been doing this since the mid-nineties, I can tell you the one constant in web design (and interactive media as a whole) is that it constantly changes.

    If this all seems too daunting, you could maybe take the graphic design route instead... Focus on learning the design aspect, and learn to handle design for both print and digital media so you can get a broad range of work. Though of course this won't be an easy way to get work, either, there's a gazillion graphic designers out there.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,830
    Thanks
    1,110
    Thanked 1,312 Times in 544 Posts
    My advice in web design once youve taught yourself is dont be afraid to start small. Im in my second year of uni at 22 and recently bagged myself a job as an assistant designer and web developer at a small company here. Sometimes im usually doing the grunt work but still with some creative flexibility, even if only slightly. But the great thing is how much you learn from the supervisor, the amount of networking you get with workmates n cients, and the portfolio you get out of it. you still have to start small, but its good

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Washington (state), USA
    Posts
    461
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 143 Times in 127 Posts
    Thank you so much for the advice everyone - I think for now maybe I'll try teaching myself a little web design through tutorials and such - I'm also gonna check out the free information session about the graphic design certificate program at my cc. This has been a huge help!!

Similar Threads

  1. Do I Study Painting As Side-By-Side Drawing?
    By CapnNOMN in forum Art Discussions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: November 16th, 2013, 09:21 AM
  2. Brain Left side right side JeffX99
    By RangerX in forum Art Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 10th, 2011, 04:12 PM
  3. Art: Living Liquid Armor design and gesture posing (17 pics)
    By bbwolf in forum Finished Art
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: April 14th, 2004, 03:52 PM
  4. living in southern california. emphasis on living.
    By loken in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: August 29th, 2003, 06:18 AM
  5. DSG|EU 155: Character Design: Side kick
    By Yaseck in forum DAILY SKETCH GROUP
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: July 28th, 2003, 08:32 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Designed by The Coldest Water, we build the coldest best water bottles, ice packs and best pillows.