I’m exactly where you were two years ago right now. I’d been freelancing and designing a lot of print work and branding work that never had any web implementation. Then my old clients began asking for websites. I figured I’d been absorbing the best and latest in web design practices and trends for two years, I can surely design for the web.
Thing is, more and more employers were looking for brand designers, graphic designers, web designer cum front-end developers all rolled into one and it was surprisingly common. Then I saw that while I had a handle on how I would want a brand to behave and present itself on the web, I had no knowledge of how to execute that. That would be fine if I could always use other people, but being a one-man army puts things in major perspective.
I realized that I’ve been spoiled just like you were, I’ve always had total creative control over my work because my only team experiences involved me leading a team and pretty much still doing all the designing, and a brief stint I had as an intern in a design studio.
So in order for me to keep my control and also deliver a full-service to my clients in the future, I decided to learn to code. However there are many workflows out there, and transitioning to coding has been challenging, so I thought if there was a way to leverage my layout skills and my newfound coding knowledge all at once, it would be grande. That’s when I decided to design in Photoshop for web for its css export features, and more importantly use pseudo-wysiwyg editors like Webydo, rukzuk, Froont, Macaw. My pick is Webflow, and with Webflow I can work on my code exports after I’m done designing and spruce things up a lot more. Leveraging the two and consuming way less time.
I don’t know how things would workout as I go along, but I just want to say you’ve inspired me a great deal. I don’t even know why I wrote all this, it just felt like the first time I could talk about always being a print designer even through the “flat-design” craze and the now more sensible “semi-flat”. I think I’ve released a lot my jealousy of designers who don’t know how to design for print but picked up UI design and web design from the get go. I’ll catch up to them, and I’ll surpass them. You know what I’m waiting for? Scarlet from Macaw, the stuff they are proposing is exactly how I want to work, best of both worlds. I’ll have to buy a Mac though, but it’s too good to pass up.
Thanks for reading this lengthy response, good luck in your endeavors, I would like to hear more from you about your experience so keep writing.