The Difference Between Designers and Developers

As a non-technical founder, it can be difficult to make your first technical hire, whether it’s for a full-time employee or a contractor.

If you hire a designer who can’t build web experiences, you may end up with beautiful designs and no website.

If you hire a developer who can’t design, you might be left with a website that is difficult or impossible to use, has low conversion rates, and just looks ugly.

What is a designer’s role?

A designer is like an architect — they create the most ideal version of how a website could behave.

A designer will usually hand off mocks. These are non-functional files that represent exactly how a website should look and behave. They may also deliver a prototype and assets like images, logos, and fonts.

What is a developer’s role?

A developer is like a contractor — they take the designer’s vision and apply it to the real world. A developer will hand off a functional website that matches the mocks reasonably closely.

What should you do?

If you struggle with design but feel confident that you can figure out Squarespace, hire a designer.

If you’d rather not do either, you have a few options. You can hire a design contractor and a full-time developer. Or you can hire an agency that does both design and development work.

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