Upgrade your design skills in 2017

Illustration: Flavio Montiel

You're a graphic designer, so you don't need to worry about web design, right? Wrong.

"You can find jobs as a graphic designer if you don't know how to code, but I still think it's a crucial skill for designers – maybe even more than ever before," says freelance graphic and web designer Mirko Humbert.

Don't panic, you don't need to be a fully fledged programmer, "but you do have to be 'code-literate' to do anything related to building websites or apps," says Humbert. "This is what will help you land a job, or new projects if you are a freelancer."

01. Start with free resources

There are plenty of resources to get you started. Creative director Matt Rice of London studio Sennep recommends Codecademy – "a great place to start for beginners and the lessons are free".

He also recommends CodePen as "a good resource for inspiration in terms of more playful things you can do with code".

02. Study the masters

That was more or less how he originally approached coding. "I took people's cool experiments, looked at the code and tried to work out how they were done, or a least manipulate them to create something myself," he explains.

03. Learn by doing

Coding is largely a question of learning by doing, Humbert believes. "Build real-life projects that give you results you can share in your portfolio," he advises. "For example, you can try to build a WordPress plugin that you can then share with the community, and get some feedback from an experienced developer."

Useful resources

Illustration: Flavio Montiel