Web Design vs Web Development: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people ask if Flax Digital does web design. The answer’s a little complicated, so here’s our explanation of the difference between website design and website development.

What does a web designer do?

A web designer has a background in graphic design. They may have studied visual arts, may have a background in design or marketing, or might be self-taught.

A web designer specialises in:

  • developing a “look” for your brand
  • creating custom art such as logos
  • making your website look visually compelling

Web designers may also offer print design (for business cards, brochures or banners), or various forms of multimedia such as video production.

what does a web designer do? branding, visual design, and more.

What does a web developer do?

A web developer has a background in software development. They may have studied computer science or IT or they might be self taught. They often have a background as a programmer, business analyst, or other technical role.

A web developer specialises in putting together the building blocks of your website to create a functional system for your business:

  • understanding your requirements and translating them into technical specifications.
  • integrating your website with existing systems.
  • writing custom code, including building new software features from scratch.

Web developers may also offer other IT services, including working with your existing software, importing or migrating data, system administration, or business systems support.

Of course, there’s some crossover

At Flax Digital, though we call ourselves web developers not web designers, we can still make your website look great.

WordPress, our favourite web platform, offers many great-looking visual themes which we can adapt to your needs. We can work with your existing brand or collaborate with a graphic designer to use your preferred logo, colours and fonts. And of course, all our sites are mobile-ready and 100% responsive!

If you don’t yet have a logo, we can provide some advice on what formats will work best, and refer you to one of the designers we know.

Going beyond web design

Here are some examples of our website development projects:

  • Learning management systems to allow our clients to deliver online courses.
  • Online stores using WooCommerce, the powerful e-commerce platform for WordPress.
  • Online memberships and automatic renewals for some of our non-profit clients.
  • Community forums, including private forums restricted to paid members.
  • Integrated online booking systems for several clients in the health sector.
  • Connecting website leads (from contact forms) directly to customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Automating email marketing and social media campaigns.
  • Integrating legacy databases and booking systems with new WordPress websites.
  • We’ve also set up corporate email and other apps for our clients, when needed.

Take this quick test

Which features do you want for your next website upgrade?

List A:

A new logo or branding
Better visual appeal
Mobile friendly design
Matching print or physical design (business cards, trade show booth, etc)
Video, animations or other multimedia

List B:

Online sales or bookings
Membership management or subscriptions
Integration with business systems (inventory, sales, accounting…)
Less manual data entry
Automated processes

If you chose mostly from List A, you want a web designer. If you want mostly features from List B, you’re looking for a website developer – someone with experience in building complete business functionality for your website. Does that sound like what you want? Drop us a line.

ballarat web developer - flax digital


Alex is the owner of Flax Digital, a website consulting agency based in Ballarat, Australia. Alex has over 20 years' experience developing websites and digital strategy for businesses and non-profits in Australia and internationally.

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