Benjamin De Cock, user interface designer at Stripe and Meng To, writer of the Design+Code book gave us the other day two very nice talks at the Design ♡ Code mini conference, organised by Feweb in Brussels.

The theme of the talks was around the — still?— ongoing debate “Should designers code?” The answer was — of course — a unanimous Yes!

Benjami De Cock

Figure 1: Benjamin De Cock (photo by @pvermaer)

Benjamin talked about his work at Stripe and his side-project UIlang.com, an educational tool Benjamin built to de-dramatize coding to designers. Benjamin’s thesis is straightforward; coding helps you as a designer stay true to your vision, while it makes things faster. As a designer you don’t need to communicate your mockups to a developer, neither to rely on the developer’s interpretations. You build your idea yourself.

Relying on interpretations

Figure 2: What happends when relying on interpretations)

Figure 3: Meng To (photo by @pvermaer)

Meng To talked about his personal story. He dropped out college, to be a Web designer. Worked hard in the Valley to make it, only to be denied his Visa because he didn’t have a college degree. With nothing to lose, he packed his things and went traveling around the world. To make ends meet he worked as a freelancer, and started writing Design+Code, his successful book teaching designers how to design with Sketch and code with Swift, to create quick prototypes of their ideas.

So far, Meng To has sold more than 13.000 copies of his book, helping out 6 young readers of his book to earn a scholarship for the WWDC, while making this year his first $1.000.000. An impressive story — to say the least — that wouldn’t have been possible according Meng To without coding.

“Code is a design tool. It’s like pushing pixels with words.” — Meng To

Coding made it possible for him to set up Parse, and Stripe payments for his book, paying a mere 2,9% on commission fees compared to the 30% commission Apple Store charges.

The conclusion was clear. Code made it possible both for Meng To and Benjamin de Cock to be autonomous and be able to be master their tools. Without a bit of coding they wouldn’t have made it this far. Wouldn’t you want the same?


This article was originally published on Medium for Central.