I see lots of these posts on Craigslist -

Meeting Planning firm is seeking a web designer on a freelance basis to work with provided art work in Photoshop/Illustrator and host onto closed invitation system.


Web designer must have design sense. Must code HTML/CSS — Java a plus.

I think they’d probably get taken more seriously if they replaced all instances of “designer” with “developer”.

So, it’s pretty simple. A designer designs. A developer develops. “Web designer must have design sense.” Well, yeah. A designer must design.

So there are two parts to building anything on the web. See if you can guess what they are. I like to describe the difference to clients or my parents like this.

Think of your website project as building a house. Before you start building anything you probably want to meet with an architect. That architect will meet with you to find out what kind of house you want, will use their prior experience to help guide you with different ideas and options, and will ultimately deliver detailed plans of what your house will look like so that you can go hire someone who will actually build it.

The person who will actually build it is the general contractor. They have experience in building things from plans and can help guide you with difference options based on their experiences once in the building phase of the project.

Designer - architect. Developer - general contractor.

Do you already have artwork that you’re happy with and need someone to help you build the darn thing? You need a web developer.

Are you just starting the planning phase and need to flesh out the ideas in your head? You probably want to meet with a web designer.


This is a very loose metaphor. Many designers have some skills coding, and many developers have at least some clue about design. I am one that has some clue. I get layout, flow, what makes for good and bad user interface. I am a hell of a finish carpenter. I can make buttons like you wouldn’t believe. What I struggle with is the “blank canvas”. I can’t brand your idea. I can’t come up with what I’d call a “design”. for that I call my buddy Bob. Bob is an artist. He does shit in Photoshop you wouldn’t believe, but couldn’t/wouldn’t write a line of HTML if his life depended on it. We work really well together, and less well apart.

I sincerely hope this helps at least one person write a better Craigslist ad. Thank you.