Web Developer vs Web Designer: Which Do You Need?

Web developer vs Web designer: How to Decide Which One You Need

In the Orlando web design market, we’ve noticed an interesting phrase that’s been popping up on some of our competitors’ websites (as well as our own). It’s a common enough phrase, but we realized that people who aren’t in the industry probably don’t know what it means. You may have seen the phrase yourself: web development.

Is this just a fancy way of talking about web design? Is it some higher mystical order made up of only the best designers in the world? Is there even a difference between a web design and web development?


Web Developer vs. Web Designer: What’s the Difference?

Choosing between a web developer and a web designer is easy once you understand the difference between the two. To illustrate this, imagine that we’re building a house instead of a website.

The first step of building a house actually happens before a single nail is purchased: the creation of the blueprint. The blueprint of a house determines whether it will be a single-story ranch-style home, or a 3-story Victorian with a wrap-around porch and a gazebo. It specifies whether the exterior will be siding or brick, how many fireplaces there will be, and the size of each of the rooms.

Once the blueprint and the location have been finalized, the builders can begin to construct the house. They do so by following the blueprint, but they have their own processes for completing quality work. They know how to pour the foundation to minimize cracking and settling. They know how to frame a perfectly straight wall. They can ensure the electric and plumbing function properly without interfering with each other.

The architect decides what the home will look like; the contractor makes sure the house passes code.

Building a website is very similar. The web designer, like the architect, decides what the site will look like, how many pages it will have, and how the pages will be organized. Like the contractor, the web developer makes sure everything works the way it should.


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Which One Do You Need?

There may be some instances where you will need only a web designer or only a web developer. For instance, if you have an amazing IT staff who can code like nobody’s business, but doesn’t necessarily have an eye for aesthetics, you only need a web designer. If you have a really creative graphic designer on staff, but with only limited knowledge of coding, you can pass the project to a web developer to fill in the blanks.

But in most cases, web design and web development need to go hand-in-hand. Like an architect with some knowledge of building procedures or a foreman who can draft up a mean blueprint, marrying form and function is the most seamless way of completing a quality job.

For this reason, make sure you do thorough research when hiring a web design/development company. Do you like the way their sites look and function? Many companies will say they specialize in web design, when they really do just development (i.e. the sites look terrible).


Although the difference sounds like a minimal one, it’s important to consider your individual needs before hiring a web designer over a web developer (or vice versa).

What about you? Does the phrase “web development” weigh any heavier when you’re looking for a web company? Let us know what you look for in the comments section!


Clarity Creative Group is a web design (and development!) & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. There is no such thing as a mystical order of web designers. Pretend we never told you about it.




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