Web designer vs web developer: what’s the difference? And, more importantly, which one do you need? If you’re a business owner or a professional starting to build your website, it’s important to learn the difference between the two to choose which service or services you need.

In this blog, we’ll define, compare, and contrast each of these two services so you can make the best decision for your online presence.

Web Designer vs Web Developer: A Basic Overview

The simple difference between web designers and developers is in their job titles. Designers craft the website’s look while developers turn that design into an actual, functioning, published website. More accurately, the developers build/code a website based on the design they’re given.

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Different Types of Web Designers

The only thing a web designer is required to do is to hand the client a picture of what their website should look like. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do more.

Let’s look at the different types of web designers. These range from the basic to some specialized types that provide valuable upgraded services.

Basic Web Designers

This basic type of web designer provides no additional, specialized services. If a web designer doesn’t specify that they provide the following specialized services, it’s because they don’t. Still, they provide custom designs that benefit the website far more than a free template.

But if you’re paying for a design that doesn’t benefit the function or performance of your website, make sure it’s cheaper than the one that does. Otherwise, it’s best that you maximize the benefits of your web design service by opting for the following specialties.

UI Designers

User Interface (UI) design is the most basic design level for the look and feel of how a website functions. In addition to the visual aspects of the site, UI designers focus on the site’s usability as well.

This includes making sure the site is organized intuitively. UI designers make sure the site’s navigation system looks right, functions smoothly, and allows users to find things easily.

They will govern the look of links and buttons on the site. They may design animations to reveal content as visitors scroll down a page or transition to another page. UI designers strive to combine the look and function of the site into one well-oiled machine.

UX Designers

Many web designers specialize in designing for user experience. This is like UI design—so similar that people are often confused as to what the difference is. The truth is that UX design includes UI but also much more.

First, they differ in the focus of their design techniques. UI design governs the look and usability of the site. On the other hand, UX design focuses on the overall level of user satisfaction. Usability is only one factor in how well a user is pleased with the site.

UX design requires a lot more research than UI design. This includes data on general internet user behavior and the behavior of the client’s specific audience. UX web designers want users to be, overall, happy with and hooked on the website they’ve designed. Plus, they want their clients to reach their website performance goals.

Visual Designers

Lastly, visual designers combine both UI and UX design skills. Since UI is part of the total UX, UX designers already incorporate usability in their design process to some degree.

However, visual designers have a more complete understanding of UI and how to incorporate it into UX. They are the ultimate web designer with the most comprehensive skills and services you can ask for.

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Different Types of Web Developers

Now, let’s look at the various types of web developers.

Back-End Developers

Back-end development is purely the coding and programming of the website’s structure. As such, back-end developers are experts in coding and programming languages.

Their focus is mainly on providing a functional website. They have nothing to do with the final look or layout of the website. However, they spend a lot of time and effort making sure there are no programming/coding bugs when they submit their work to the front-end developers.


Front-end developers are sometimes known as “client-end” developers. This is because they oversee the final appearance of the website that the client will see.

They usually work closely with a designer or at least closely with the design they’ve been given. It’s their job to take the back-end developers’ website structure and apply the design they’ve been given to it.

They also work more closely with the client than the back-end developers. They also need to be fully educated in coding and programming.

Full-Stack Developers

Full-stack developers are just what they sound like. They do both the back-end and front-end development of the website on their own (or as a team). Full-stack development is the complete package.

Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer: Comparison Table

Let’s highlight key aspects of each role to simplify the distinctions between web designers and web developers.

Comparison Web Designer Web Developer
Analogy Ensures the car looks good inside and focuses on driving ease. Builds a fully working and error-free vehicle using various parts.
Tools Graphic design software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator) for layouts. Programming languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) for website construction.
Portfolios Behance.com, Dribble.com, personal portfolio website. GitHub, AWS, Heroku.com, cloud-based hosting services.
Job Types Basic Web Designers, UI Designers, UX Designers, Visual Designers. Back-End Developers, Front-End Developers, Full-Stack Developers.
Job Focus Visual aspects, user experience, color scheme, and graphic design. Technical aspects, implementing design, ensuring functionality.
Skill Sets Focused on creative aspects, aesthetics, and visual elements. Concerned with determining how to render the design vision.
Main Responsibilities Design and layout oversight, creating UI/UX, testing, and enhancing visuals. Developing websites, testing code, writing efficient code, and documentation.
Creativity Highly creative, turning concepts into visually appealing designs. Tech-savvy, turning concepts into highly functional websites.
Elements Focus Aesthetic elements and the website’s appearance to users. User-friendly website construction and functionality.
Concept Role Turns concepts into visually appealing designs. Turns concepts into highly functional websites.
Functionality Focus Concerned with how the website appears to users. Focus on how a website functions.
Interface Development Designs the website’s concept and style, creating mockups based on visuals, UX, and UI. Develops the website’s functionality and ensures optimal performance.

While web designers excel in creativity and visual aspects, web developers specialize in websites’ technical implementation and functionality.

Web design and development share commonalities as both endeavour to create a seamless website experience for users. Exploring these parallels in greater detail will enhance your comprehension of why both are indispensable in creating a successful website.

Web Design vs Web Development for Marketers

Marketers must communicate effectively with both the developer and designer. Being clear and specific about your requirements ensures a more satisfying outcome. Make a list of essential functionalities you want to see on your website to guarantee that the results align with your expectations.

Need an Expert Web Designer or Web Developer? We Got Them Both at BrandLume!

Understanding the difference between a web designer and a web developer boils down to this: designers shape the look, and developers make it work. If you’re looking for top web development and design services, contact BrandLume today. Our expertise can bring your vision to life seamlessly. Reach out to us now.

FAQs About Web Designer vs Web Developer

How do web designers and web developers showcase their skills?

Web designers often create personal portfolios on platforms like Behance and Dribble to showcase creativity. Web developers use tools like GitHub and cloud-based services to display their projects and coding skills.

How do web designers and web developers collaborate on a project?

Collaboration involves clear communication and understanding of each other’s roles. Web designers and developers collaborate to realize the project’s vision by combining creativity with technical implementation.

Is it better to hire a web designer or a web developer?

Since a website should have both a professional, original design and proper coding/security, most clients need both. For example, if you’re creating a website from scratch, it’s best to hire both. But if you just want to spruce up an existing site, a web designer might be all you need.