Should Designers Learn to Code or Should Coders Learn to Design?

Some coders and designers might have little interest in learning a new discipline outside of the one on which they currently focus. Why should someone well trained in Adobe Illustrator worry about HTML and why would the champion of HTML worry about vector drawings in Illustrator? While it’s certainly true that coders and designers can work in tandem for things like software and Web development projects (and plenty of coders are designers and vice versa), it’s best if coders understand something about design and designers know something about code.

Why Coders Need Design Fundamentals

In plenty of situations, coders simply put together the code that brings a designer’s vision to life. Coders don’t always have the eye for design or maybe don’t feel comfortable making creative decisions. In order to break free from that mindset, it’s useful for coders to learn the fundamentals of design so that when they’re in a situation to make a creative decision, they can offer meaningful suggestions. When discussing design with those trained to design full time, a coder who understands the vernacular of design can have more productive conversations with designers, which can ultimately result in a better work product. An excellent resource for anyone interested in the fundamentals is “The Non Designer’s Design Guide” by Robin Williams.

Why Designers Need Coding Fundamentals

On the flip side of this, designers who understand coding and Web development fundamentals can have better dialogue with the code makers who bring their visions to life. Additionally, having a fuller understanding of what’s possible from a code writing perspective can widen a designer’s creative pallet. Only by understanding possibilities can a designer really reach their maximum creative potential. Graphic designers ready to step into the world of code and Web development can look to Kahn Academy’s online treasure-trove of resources to learn just about any type of code their heart desires.

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