An Open Letter to Design Students: Learn to Code (Part 1 of 2)

Heather Sakai
  • Jan 15, 2014
  • Comments Off on An Open Letter to Design Students: Learn to Code (Part 1 of 2)
Turquoise Flag-Tip


Please listen when we say this:

Learn to code.

But wait, you say, your heart pounding out of your chest: I am a designer.

I draw; I create.

I need not code.

Well my friends, listen here and listen good.

We receive resumes every day from students just like you who do what you do: Branding! Print! Illustration! Typography, too.

And, we know, we know.

Sure, it’s your portfolio that stands above the rest.

But in reality, here’s what you have to realize:

Print/Brand designers are a dime a dozen.

Even if you did a brand refresh for Apple and hand-lettered your thesis in chalk on the Great Wall, don’t be naive enough to think that code is better left to programmers.

Why learn?

One of the biggest mistakes we see in young designers is their sacrifice of design decisions simply due to a lack of understanding of code.

They’ll come to us with one design and deliver quite another. The reason, we ask as they sweat and stammer, is quite apparent.

When it comes time to code the web page, making rounded corners on your boxes is far more difficult than just having sharp 90 degree corners… so, instead of honoring their design, they just scrapped the rounded corners because they don’t know the code.

Do not fear the mystical world of unicorns and rainbows.

Embrace the concept: if you can design it, you can code it. The sky really is the limit.

Now don’t get too programmer on us. When we say code, stay true to your design self, but do get some solid training in HTML/CSS and Javascript.

This will assure that you are well-rounded and competitive in a fierce job market.

Having all of these skills in your backpocket will make you a better, more well-rounded, capable designer.  And that’s what we love to see here at Go Media.

Love, me

P.S. Read on for Part 2: Learn to Code: Tips for Designers


About the Author, Heather Sakai

Heather Sakai

Heather Sakai is the Arsenal Manager here at Go Media, home of the world's best mockup templates, vectors, textures and other must-have design weaponry. She also serves as the Event Director at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Heather is proud to work for the most passionate creative agency in the universe, the best in Cleveland Web Design, custom branding and print.

Discover More by Heather Sakai


We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.