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5 Defining Characteristics of a Successful Web Designer in 2008

Jan 4, 2008
As we stand on the threshold of 2008, I thought it would be a good time to reevaluate the state of the web designer. Let's face it. The web designer of today is a completely different animal than a few years ago. If you've been in the web design business for just a year or two, you've already seen more change in your industry than most people see in an entire lifetime. In just the last seven years we've waved goodbye to our good friends font and table tag, learned all about RSS, and saw little ideas like JavaScript and CSS come into their own.

Aside from changes to our day to day work, the perception of our role in the business world has also make quite a transformation. We are expected to know a great deal about a variety subjects ranging from traditional web issues to advertising and marketing. With that in mind, what will the essential web designer look like in 2008? I made a list of five defining characteristics you should be striving for if you want to make it big in the near future.

1. Know Marketing - As you design successful web site, people will start trusting you more with additional marketing decisions. Don't let them down. Be prepared.

2. Jack of All Trades - This one especially applies if you want to be independent. Educate yourself and make sure you have a group of contractors ready to fill in where you are lacking.

3. Print Savvy - It will be a long time before print goes away. In the meantime, position yourself to take on the design work.

4. Design Aware - This one has always been an important one but in 2008 it becomes essential.

5. Video Literate - All the web is moving now and you need to know enough about video to keep up.

In my opinion, 2008 will be the first year of the web designer's metamorphosis into a little ad agency. In most cases the role of the web designer has been that of an independent contractor up to this point. But in 2008 we will start seeing those sporadic individuals start forming teams and cooperatives. I'd like to think that those teams and cooperatives will take over the marketing world but that may be wishful thinking. In reality, the established network of ad agencies will most likely evolve and conform to the new way of doing things. If they don't, they'll die. What happens after that is beyond my prognosticative powers.
About the Author
Matthew Griffin is a successful independent web designer and author of the professional web design blog Bits O' NewMedia.
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