Should a Product Designer know code?

8 years ago from , Interactive Designer

I think is one of the important question right now.

I think every Product Designer should know how to code! What do you think? Is it important or not?


  • Philip LesterPhilip Lester, 8 years ago

    It's 2015... are we seriously still discussing this same question?

    44 points
    • Daniel De LaneyDaniel De Laney, 8 years ago

      Just start linking this:


      8 points
      • Greg CorbyGreg Corby, 8 years ago

        That website nailed it. Knowing how to design things that other engineers can build quickly and semantically—with as little code bloat as possible—is really just inefficient.

        Having the ability to code an idea for some stupid little web app that I have would just be irresponsible. Rather, I should be focused on being a good listener and investigator, and honing my craft. Let's not forget about how ridiculous it would be to design with code, can you imagine how much time would be wasted if I could easily prototype native animations or layouts?

        God-forbid I become too valuable to my clients. Imagine how ridiculous it would be if they'd only have to pay one person to design and code.

        Actually I take that back. I'll keep coding.

        2 points
        • Daniel De LaneyDaniel De Laney, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

          Nobody is saying that designers should never also be developers. But being a developer doesn’t make you a better designer.

          1 point
    • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

      Side note: This is why connecting with the design community is so important. Things like DN, twitter, etc. are important for designers in order to stay up to date with issues like this.

      1 point
    • Axel ValdezAxel Valdez, 8 years ago

      No, we're not. But some people think we are.

      0 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, 8 years ago

    I assume we're talking digital product designers :)

    "Know code" as in know about code - yes "Know code" as in know how to code - no

    Obviously it's better and great if they do, but knowing how to is not required. Having knowledge of how apps/websites are put together definitely helps.

    IMO, a digital product designer who does not understand code is equivalent to an architect who does not understand physics.

    This. You'd expect them to understand physics, but not be a physicist.

    23 points
  • Jeremy StewartJeremy Stewart, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )


    17 points
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, 8 years ago

    Bro.. Seriously? Are we still having this discussion?

    15 points
  • Cap WatkinsCap Watkins, 8 years ago


    Can I write a bot to just auto-respond to every one of these threads?

    13 points
    • Paul @StammyPaul @Stammy, 8 years ago

      There are many levels to this - you wouldn't want a designer on your team to spend half their day in git, iOS code reviews, merging, cherry picking patches and all the stuff that comes with engineering (at any company with more than a few dozen engineers of any one type). But having technical know how to ask the right technical questions to inform the design process and the ability to prototype and beyond is hypervaluable.

      6 points
  • Joe Blau, 8 years ago

    It's not important you're a Product Designer who makes chairs...

    12 points
  • Ricardo NunesRicardo Nunes, 8 years ago

    I usually say that a great designer must know some code and a great dev must know some design.

    7 points
    • Corey LeeCorey Lee, 8 years ago

      Having overlap helps immensely with communication between people in different roles.

      2 points
  • Carlos MañasCarlos Mañas, 8 years ago

    YES,  definitely. I mean, a little knowledge will suffice, but a product designer should know what is going to happen with the design. This knowledge will make him/her able to prepare properly the design files, and make him or her a better designer in the way :)

    3 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, 8 years ago

    Should a car designer know how to drive or change pieces of a car?

    2 points
  • Riho KrollRiho Kroll, 8 years ago

    Being able to code allows you to prototype things, which I think is an incredibly valuable addition to anyone's skillset. Should a product designer know how to code? It's not necessary, but I would say it definitely helps.

    2 points
  • Nathan NNathan N, 8 years ago

    Can we please bring back the dead horse icon?

    1 point
  • John PJohn P, 8 years ago

    Not really, you don't really need code to design a kettle or a fridge. It's more of a CAD oriented skill.

    1 point
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    No. Your question is too broad.

    Should a Product Designer at Buzzfeed know how to code? Yes – your boss expects that of you and is building a team that has that wide skill set for his vision of a good product design workflow.

    Should a Product Designer at Shuddle know how to code? No, but you should be very focused on user experience and be very good at working with engineers who are very focused on code, which means you should want to understand (and sometimes actually understand) how things are put together but you don't need to know how to actually code in iOS and Android and Web.

    Should you, hypothetical 2nd year design student who is interested in digital design, know how to code? If you see yourself working at a companies that value that kind of designer, yes. If you see yourself as a specialist, then maybe not. I don't think you won't be able to get a job not knowing how to code, but it would definitely help you get a job at companies that see designers-who-code as a must-have resource.

    1 point
  • Abhijeet WankhadeAbhijeet Wankhade, 8 years ago

    I'm a Product Designer and I find this offensive.

    1 point
  • Nassos KappaNassos Kappa, 8 years ago

    It's easy as “Should a Developer know design?”

    1 point
  • Artem Troinoi, 8 years ago

    My opinion is every Product Designer should know code. He should create interactive prototypes by code

    1 point
  • Greg BowenGreg Bowen, 8 years ago

    Should an apparel designer know about different materials?

    0 points
  • Ramis KhawajaRamis Khawaja, 8 years ago

    Just enough to be able to code a simple Html/CSS site. If you can code your own portfolio, you are good to go.

    0 points
  • A B, 8 years ago

    – · – – · · · ·

    0 points
  • Nick SloggettNick Sloggett, 8 years ago

    Yes move on.

    0 points
  • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, 8 years ago

    Not to be an ass to Artem, young designers or new people in DN, but this question should be moderated.

    There are literally dozens of topics on DN surrounding this issue.

    0 points
  • Jul DelanoyJul Delanoy, 8 years ago

    Well, we've been talking about this forever but yes, a product designer should know about code.

    She/He doesn't have to code but definitively needs to understand how things work and for this, know — even a little bit — how to code.

    0 points
  • jiyin yiyongjiyin yiyong, 8 years ago

    I'm working in a team as a Web developer. I do hope designers know how browser works. They don't have to master CSS, but they should know what's the difference between the layout systems Sketch(or PS) and CSS.

    It's like we are working on two islands. We both need someone who travels between us to bring communications. And it's better when a designer learns to code.

    0 points
  • Max StoiberMax Stoiber, 8 years ago

    Should X know how to code?

    No matter what profession you are in, chances are you are working with computers at least once a day.

    Understanding more about how they work and why they do what they do not only makes their own life easier, but also the lives of many people around them. (Especially tech support/engineers they work with!) So yes, it would definitely help X if they would know how to code.

    0 points
  • Martin LeBlancMartin LeBlanc, 8 years ago

    Depends on the product and the team size. Very often knowing code and e.g. what requires a lot of resources to build is very useful knowledge. I don't think it's a coincidence there are many succesful tech companies started by people who can code.

    0 points