Commentary Content

In 2018, will designers need to know code?

Today’s creative design is produced often utilizing a combined effort of skills from multiple sources. See in the last 10 years there has been a direct collision of right-brained and left-brained functionality. If your projects involve some portion that’s going to live online as a digital piece, some “code” may be unavoidable.

First off let’s look at what is widely accepted as characteristics of right vs left brained thought processes. Typically left-brained functionality is described as the analytical side containing logic, language, science and mathematics. While the right-brain is based in holistic thought, containing creativity, intuition, art, music and of course design.

left vs right brain
It’s been documented that most people are dominated by one side or the other and can really struggle when given challenges that require solutions from the opposite side. For example with HTML5 advertising, during the initial design conceptualization, the designer must not think linear the way they would approach key art for print. They actually have to work backward, considering all the final sizes, placements and technical capabilities of those placements first and foremost. From there they deduce the elements required and placement of those elements accordingly. If the digital pieces being created are going to be static, this process may not seem all that complicated but motion is a ton more engaging and highly sought after. Add a few frames of animation or user interactivity and you can start to imagine how a design begins to become quite complicated. Only after all this is considered can the designer then begin to think of creative that will work under these conditions.

Now over the years, it’s gone back and forth on whether designer’s need to know code. See with the rapid pace the digital industry continues to evolve, digital designer’s are in a constant state of flux and redevelopment. As is the software we use to create our content. This software often bridges the gaps for designers that can’t code but can also be quite limiting as it only templates the most basic code snippets for you.

While I don’t think it’s necessary for strictly print, architects or interior designers etc. For anyone that plans to design for the web in any fashion. A good understanding of code is very important. Having a solid knowledge base of what is possible digitally can only allow your creativity to have greater range. Without it you’re going to find you are quite restricted and no designer wants to have all their ideas stifled by the limitations of their own knowledge.

What do you think? Will designers need to know code in 2018 and beyond? Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Written using references from Design Shack