Take any creative field and you'll find well-known influencers who are responsible for leading the way, either with new interpretations, technical approaches or ideas. This is true whether you're looking at David Bailey in the photography world, or Tracey Emin in fine art. It comes about because some practitioners define a movement or technique, either inventing it, championing it, or otherwise leading a charge towards it.
Of course, the world of web design is no different. We've got our own champions and leaders, although it's surprisingly difficult to pick just a few names every web designer should know. Luckily, we live in an age of democratised sharing, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter making it easy to keep up to date with both current and future movers and shakers, so watch these thirteen and see who they recommend!
A quick note of caution before we upset those concerned, these names aren't ranked or in any specific order! If we've missed someone you think should be in our list, let us know.
01. Ethan Marcotte
- Twitter: twitter.com/beep
If there's one man in the web industry who probably doesn't need an introduction, it's Ethan Marcotte. One of the web's best-known designers Ethan is a regular and popular speaker on the conference circuit and, in his own words, the one who "started that whole 'responsive web design' thing".
02. Chris Coyier
- Twitter: twitter.com/chriscoyier
A world-known CSS expert and HTML guru, Chris Coyier writes one of the most popular CSS blogs on the web, CSS-Tricks. Throughout his career, Chris has published many tutorials, websites, and scripts to help designers improve their skills. A designer at CodePen, Chris can also be found at web design and development podcast ShopTalk.
03. Karen McGrane
- Twitter: twitter.com/karenmcgrane
UX expert Karen McGrane motto is simple - 'On a good day, I make the web more awesome. On a bad day, I make it suck less'. A content strategist and user experience designer, Karen has over 15 years experience of making big, complicated websites. Currently managing partner of Bond Art + Science, she is also the author of Content Strategy for Mobile.
04. Andy Clarke
- Twitter: twitter.com/malarkey
Andy is a well-known speaker on the conference circuit, and is the founder of a Welsh-based design studio, Stuff and Nonsense, that boasts clients including the likes of The Home Office, STV and the International Organization for Standardization. Andy is perhaps best known for his book, Hardboiled Web Design, which combined the idea of progressive enhancement with responsive web design.
05. Dan Cederholm
- Twitter: twitter.com/simplebits
Dan is the author of five web design books covering everything from standards-based code approaches to Sass. As well as writing, Dan is a practicing web designer, and a popular speaker. Alongside Rich Thornett, Dan is a co-founder of the popular dribbble.com show-and-tell website that allows designers to upload micro-shots of their work in progress.
06. Sarah Parmenter
- Twitter: twitter.com/sazzy
User interface designer Sarah Parmenter specialises in design for the web, iPhone and iPad. Owner of design studio You Know Who and co-host of the Happy Monday podcast, Sarah can often be found travelling the world to speak at the world's leading web design conferences. Her client list includes Blackberry, News International, STV and The National Breast Cancer Foundation of America.
07. Dave Shea
- Twitter: twitter.com/mezzoblue
Dave Shea is most famous for his CSS Zen Garden project, which helped spearhead the move from table-based web design layout to CSS-based layouts. The website became very popular, both helping to push the boundaries of what designs could be achieved with CSS alone, and also encouraging web designers the world over to adopt the approach.
08. Jeffrey Zeldman
- Twitter: twitter.com/zeldman
Jeffrey is perhaps the best known of all the people featured in our list. He's the author of a must-have book, Designing with Web Standards, publisher of books via A Book Apart, Speaker and is the driving force behind the immensely popular industry-leading online journal, A List Apart. Jeffrey is also the founder of Happy Cog studios, a US-based consultancy with clients including MTV, Ben & Jerry's and Stanford University.
09. Vitaly Friedman
- Twitter: twitter.com/smashingmag
Vitaly is well-known in the web design world for his web design blog, Smashing Magazine. The original blog has grown over the past few years to incorporate a huge set of web design resources, and has branched out into both publishing (with Smashing Books), and workshops/conferences which attract some of the web's best experts.
10. Rachel Andrew
- Twitter: twitter.com/rachelandrew
Rachel is a web developer, speaker and prolific writer. Her books include titles for SitePoint, Apress and Five Simple Steps, covering the likes of PHP web development, CSS3 Layout Modules and Adobe's Dreamweaver web design tool.
Aside from her speaking and writing, Rachel is the Managing Director of edgeofmyseat.com, a web development consultancy known for its Perch CMS app.
11. Simon Collison
- Twitter: twitter.com/colly
Based in Nottingham, England, Simon Collison is a designer, speaker and author. Having worked in a variety of situations throughout his career, Simon shares his knowledge on web design via books and conferences. He's also a proud partner with Fictive Kin, and organises the annual New Adventures in Web Design event in his hometown of Nottingham UK.
12. Veerle Pieters
- Twitter: twitter.com/vpieters
Veerle is a hugely talented graphic designer from Belgium, best known for both her work through Duoh!, the agency she co-founded with Geert Leyseele, and her blog at veerle.duoh.com where she shares insights and tutorials. She's also an author and speaker, and has worked on some high profile projects including the GUI for ExpressionEngine.
13. Cameron Moll
- Twitter: twitter.com/cameronmoll
Cameron is a well-known designer who speaks regularly at web design conferences across the world. As well as the Authentic Jobs website, which Cameron is responsible for, he's collaborated on books with the likes of Andy Budd and Simon Collison - both well known in the web design industry in their own rights.
As well as his speaking and books, Cameron is well known for a series of typographical posters rendered with letterpress, which are well worth a look!
Words: Sam Hampton-Smith and Kerrie Hughes
This is an updated version of an article that previously appeared on Creative Bloq.
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