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Web design is the art of making a web page. The page or website will usually be visually constructed in 2D graphics editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. If this step is by-passed, it is likely that the designer already had a good idea mentally of how he/she wants the web page to look and can complete it without any additional graphics.
After the design is completed, it needs to be put to code. Normally the designer will use WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) software to place the elements onto the page and have it write the code for them. More advanced editors may resort to writing all of the code free-hand. By doing this, they know the web page is optimized and that there is no extra or un-needed code on the back-end of the web page.