The rise of the “Full Stack” Designer and the tools they use

When I had just started as a web designer, I already had some experience with front-end development. I wanted to take part in the entire process — from concept to design to actually solving world problems — and I wanted to code it on my own, as I could.

Having these skills as a young product designer in a design agency enforced me to code stuff on a daily basis. This has led me, much like other web designers, to a professional identity crisis. I started asking myself the questions such as — “What is the border between design and code?”, “Should I really code stuff instead of design?”, “Does having developers in the process really makes it simpler?”, “Damn it! I’m wasting important design time on solving some #$%@ing code issues!”

As time passed, I realized more and more what was obvious — design is not only ‘look and feel’ or ‘visual identity language’ but also how things work and behave. Code is only a tool to make it happen, and nothing but a tool, just like a hammer or scissors.

Don’t stay classy

Working with developers in terms of the realization of the design has always been a big pain and non-stop iterations, but recently a beautiful thing has happened in the world of Web design — the term “Web Designer” is turning in favour of the term “Full Stack Designer”. It no longer conveys the meaning that the designer just delivers source files, but that the designer understands the world of the web on technical levels and fulfils the design to a working prototype, and not just a few designers but many.

Ben Blumenfeld (Former Design lead at Facebook, Co-Director at Designer Fund) tweeted something that made me think “What is your profession?”

The borders between design and front-end development were always thin. After years of discussions and debates in the design community — Let’s not ignore it anymore — The borders are now getting even thinner, very thin.

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself “The line is getting thinner because web designers have more awareness to code” which is true in a way, well… The days when a web designer finished a job by sending the PSD's to the developer are not completely gone yet, but there is movement, something is starting to happen, awareness, right? I’ll get to the point — it’s the tools that have been given to us to build the web, that makes it either intuitive or complicated.

More and more tools are entering the market that is labelled “No Coding Required”, allowing designers to execute their work without writing a single line of code. Designers want tools, simple, yet flexible tools! More and more designers and small web agencies are using tools like Webflow, Froont, and Macaw, which generate static pages with beautiful semantic code.

Code is complicated, UI is not (if it’s done correctly).

In web development — “Stack” means layers of technology in an application. Example:

HTML & CSS is not coding anymore. Now what?

Ran Segall (nuSchool,

The Full Stack Deisgner Manifesto, Ran Segall

Full Stack Designers — Designers can provide much more value than just the design of the product by being full stack designers: write great copy, create videos, do marketing, research and basically solve much of the startups problems with their tool box”

This slide describes it the best:

The Full Stack Deisgner Manifesto, Ran Segall

Design now defines the process

I’m not trying to create any new labels here, nor convince web designers to change their workflows or to be more versatile, but I do think that it has now become easier than ever.

The best entrepreneurs are Designers.

Looking forward to the future. (epic music)



Designer & Maker @ / /

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