Lots of professions have individuals who become so good at what they do and so well known that they become celebrities within their industry, and that certainly applies to web designers. When we use the word “celebrity” in relation to web designers, we are not suggesting that they are going to have the high profile of a celebrity chef like Gordon Ramsey or a celebrity dog trainer such as Steve Austin.
We have to be realistic and accept that a website being created will not attract TV audiences like a dog being trained to do tricks or a fantastic meal being prepared and cooked would. In that sense, we have to define web designer celebrities as being well-known and highly admired within the web design industry versus instantly recognized by the wider population.
However, that should not diminish what some of the celebrity web designers we highlight have achieved. Some have created entire web-building languages, others are pioneers in how websites should look, and some are years ahead when developing the latest website functionality. Beyond the ten web designers selected there are many more, so we are not suggesting that these are the “Top Ten”, but instead ten web designers we felt deserved recognition.
Håkon Wium Lie: Regarded as a web design pioneer and a campaigner for high web standards, he is responsible for the creation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) which has transformed the appearance of websites.
Ethan Marcotte: Responsive websites are at the core of modern web design, and that is mainly due to Ethan Marcotte being one of the first to define the principles of responsive web design and educate other web designers on its implementation.
Jeffrey Zeldman: Known as the “Web Standards King”, Jeffrey Zeldman is regarded by many in the web design industry as THE person to learn from. He publishes the must-read web design magazine called “A List Apart”.
Andy Clarke: Based in the UK, Andy Clarke may be familiar to beginner web designers as he is the author of “Hardboiled Web Design” which teaches HTML and CSS fundamentals to those starting.
Vitaly Friedman: A well-respected German web designer, Vitaly Friedman has one of the most popular web design blogs online called “Smashing Magazine” which includes lots of innovative web design advice.
Veerle Pieters: “Duoh” is one of the top web design agencies in the world, and its co-founder is Veerle Pieters from Belgium, who teaches CSS and web design standards to other web designers via her blog and speaking engagements.
Nick Finck: With Google’s obsession with User Experience (UX), it is little wonder the need for expertise in the subject is required, and that is what Nick Finck provides. He is also responsible for designing websites for Boeing, Adobe, and Oprah Winfrey.
Dan Cederholm: Apart from writing five web design books that teach CSS and web standards, he is reliable for ‘dribble.com’ which is a huge website dedicated to web design including web designers promoting their skills.
Val Head: Not only has she written a book on UX animation, but Val also speaks at major web conferences, and yet still finds time to run her customised workshops on UX animation for web designers at all experience levels.
Brad Frost: Brad Frost created “Atomic Design” which is a web design methodology that helps web designers take abstract design ideas and turn them into a logical website creation process.