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Nowadays, the terms web designer and web developer are often virtually interchangeable under the title “web companies”. However, the difference between the two is a vital element in how businesses decide to work with these web companies.

When looking to create an online presence, it’s important to know whether you’re looking for a web designer or a web developer. Whether you’re looking to rebuild your current site, or need to make one from scratch, take a look at the differences of the two below.


In short, a website designer focuses on the aesthetics of a website. They use a variety of software to create the look of the website, including photoshop.

The designer works to bring their client’s image to life on the screen; using the objectives provided from the client as well as their basic principles:


To create an aesthetically pleasing website, the design must be balanced. This involves balancing the light and heavy elements of the site. These refer to the colours of the site: heavy elements include the darker colours; light elements are the lighter colours.


Anyone familiar with colour theory will know that contrasting colours are placed in opposition on the colour wheel. In web design, colour isn’t the only thing that can be used for contrast. 

Designers look at how they can contrast colours, textures and shapes to draw attention to different parts of the site and the information.


Emphasis involves highlighting parts of the site that the client wants users to be drawn to. In a similar way to contrasting, it allows the most important elements to be centre stage when users visit the site.

It’s important that only certain parts are highlighted; if all information is emphasised then nothing is. 


 Consistency is key. For a functioning design, navigation needs to be consistent and easily followed for new users. 


The Gestalt theory outlines how the human brain organises information. This is unity. How information is grouped by elements into categories. When designing the website, keep in mind the relationship between the layout and composition. 


 A design on its own cannot create a functioning website. That’s where developers come in; they can also help rebuild or optimise existing sites.

A website developer builds the website from the backend. From HTML, Javascript and CSS, development is taking the design and creating a functioning website out of it.

Building a website takes a lot of work, including breaking it up into its different parts. Using the coding of the site, they get it up and running on the internet. Some developers will also use sites such as WordPress to allow maintenance of the site for clients once development has been completed.

Development also includes introducing interactive elements to the design. This allows users to click buttons, fill in forms and so on.

When a user requires a new website, it’s important for them to know the difference. Whether you’re looking for a new design or to get an existing design up and running, you need to know what you’re actually looking for.