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What’s the difference between web development and web design?

You’ve probably heard the terms web development and web design before, but it’s important to understand that these are not the same thing and they work very differently. In simplistic terms, web development refers to the back-end development of a website, where web design refers to the front-end development.

Here’s a quick and simple breakdown of the differences of both:


  • Front-end design is what we can see in browsers: images, text, menu, etc.
  • Web design is the look and feel of websites
  • Similar to graphic design, designers employ basic concepts of design: unity, contrast, balance, rhythm, etc.
  • Created in design programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel, etc.


  • Back-end is the markup languages, scripting, and programming that run behind websites
  • HTML is the basic language for web development and websites
  • Creates interactions between users and elements of websites, using programming
  • Development handles functionality of website applications
  • Technology includes things like: SSL, XHTML, JavaScript, Linux, etc.

I have never met a web designer who knew absolutely no JavaScript, PHP, or HTML. And I’ve never met a developer who wasn’t aware of the importance of design to a website. But when you apply for a job or look for someone to work on your site, you need to know what you’re looking for — web design or web development. Even if you can do or hire someone to do both jobs, knowing the difference is key to getting the job done. [About]

If you’re looking for some clarity on this topic, or are wondering what’s the best type of professional for your website, please feel free to contact us!

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