What Kind of Credentials Should I Expect from My Web Designer?

web design credentials

There are several paths to becoming a web designer and just as many ways to do web design. This can make it challenging to know exactly what credentials to look for when choosing a web designer that will be the perfect fit for your company and the job you need done. Here are some credentials you can expect to see from a web designer and some tips for making sure they match your needs.





Formal Education

When we think of credentials we generally think of formal education, such as a bachelor’s degree in web development and design, or an IT certification. Great programs exist in almost every part of the world, providing a fast-track to acquiring web design skills. A list of the top schools is beyond the scope of this blog post. However, there are a few things to think of when looking at a designer’s education:

  • Are their skills up-to-date? The world of technology moves quickly and if your designer has not stayed current that will be reflected in their work.
  • Most designers today are working with Adobe Creative Cloud (formerly known as Adobe Creative Suite), a bundle of applications which includes Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator among others. This is a standard qualification.
  • What programming skills does your designer have? Code languages like HTML, CSS, SQL and Javascript are common but their necessity depends on the applications the designer uses. The important thing to look for here is not only a list of skills, but how they are using them and some real world examples of those skills in use.

Experience vs Education

Web designers who have chosen less formal education, such as being self-taught through books, online sources, and experience can still provide the highest quality service. If it comes down to whether or not your designer has a formal education the best place to look is at their real world experience, in the form of a portfolio.

The Portfolio

The most important proof of your prospective designer’s ability will be the work they have produced, and their track record of service. The first place to look (after seeing our designer rankings page) is the designer’s own site. This may be called a portfolio or may be a site that simply acts as an example of their work. Either way, they should have a website and it should be up-to-date. You don’t necessarily need to love the content but you should like how it is presented.

A designer who has gone the formal education route will have a portfolio of projects they completed in their training and these can be valuable, but you should also expect to see examples of their work in the professional world. These will provide a more accurate display of their ability to meet the demands of paying customers in today’s work environment. Look for sites listed in the portfolio and look to see if they are still active, how much you like the design, and how user-friendly they are.

Street Credentials

Do not underestimate the value of client feedback. A client who took the time to write about their designer was probably either overjoyed by their work or dissatisfied. Look for specific details clients have liked about the work and see if it matches your needs. Of course, the designer’s own portfolio will only show positive feedback from clients, but a little searching will dig up any negative reviews out there.

Go to our Best WordPress Design Companies page to find designers who have received the highest ratings on their level of experience, education, and client feedback.