UX design vs graphic design is a common comparison in the design industry. Before we go into all of that, keep this in mind: Graphic design is to branding and UX design is to users. You see, graphic design is focused on communicating a brand’s appeal while UX design is focused on creating optimal user experience.
Apart from the variance in salary, which is amounts to approximately $30,000, the distinctions and overlaps between UX design and graphic design can lead to more well-rounded and comprehensive design solutions.
What this article will contain
Graphic design is focused on aesthetic appeal. A graphic designer creates an impression of a brand or product in the mind of users through visually appealing designs. Graphic design is mostly used to design marketing materials such as Logo, poster, illustrations and promotional materials.
UX design focuses on creating an optimal user experience by emphasizing usability, functionality, and user satisfaction. UX design is focused on a users interaction with a product or service to ensure ease of use, efficiency and satisfaction.
UX design vs Graphic design: Understanding the Difference
Let us look at the difference between UX design and graphic design in terms of focus, goal and process involved and deliverability.
- UX design focuses on improving the user experience, which includes every aspect of user interaction with a product or service – ease of use, how the product feels while using, functionality and usability. It emphasizes understanding user needs, conducting research, and designing intuitive interactions.
- Graphic design focuses on the visual aspects of a product or service. This includes working with the layout, typography, colors, and images used to convey a message or evoke a specific response regarding a product.
- The goal of UX design is to create user-centered designs for products and services that are easy to use and enjoyable. To do this effectively, UX designers need to understand the needs of users and how they interact with products. This can be achieved by carrying out research on the target users.
- The aim of graphic design is to create products and services that are visually appealing and communicate a message to users or reflect a brand’s identity. To get this done, graphic designers need to have a strong understanding of design principles and how to use them to accurately convey a brand’s message.
- UX design is not a linear process like graphic design is. UX designers often start by conducting user research to understand the needs of users. The information or data collected is then used to create wireframes and prototypes, which are then tested by users so feedback will be gotten. This process is repeated until the UX designer is satisfied that the product meets the needs of users.
- Graphic design is a more linear process than UX design. Graphic designers start out with an idea or creating a mood board or style guide to capture the overall look and feel of the product. They go ahead to decide the suitable typography, visual composition and image to create the final design.
- UX design deliverables are wireframes, prototypes, user stories, and user personas, user flows and usability reports.
- Graphic design deliverables are mockups, high-fidelity designs, logos, illustrations, icons, marketing materials and style guides.
Where is graphic design applied?
This is the most common and fundamental application of graphic design. Logos are used to represent a brand – brand identity. A logo is how people will recognize your brand this is why it has to be visually appealing and memorable.
Graphic design is applied to websites also. Its use here is to communicate information to the target audience. Eg. design of a discounted product showing 20% off. A feature like this should be visually appealing and provide the website visitors with all the information they need to carry out desired actions.
Flyers, posters and informational materials used to convey information regarding a brand, its service or product for promotional purposes, are all advertising materials. And yes, it should be visually appealing and attention grabbing while communicating the product’s or service’s benefits clearly.
Where is UX design applied?
Like graphic designers, UX designers are involved in website designs. Keeping user concerns in mind, they work to ensure that websites are easy to navigate and information discovery is seamless and easy.
UX designers are involved in software design to ensure that users accomplish their tasks efficiently and with ease.
UX designers are also involved in the design of mobile apps and collaborate with developers to ensure that users find it easy to interact with.
UX designers vs. Graphic designers: Job Roles
The job of a graphic designer may include; collaborating with clients, web developers and art directors. Choosing typography, color and image design. Using illustration tools, mockups and image editing applications.
The job of a UX designer may include; collaborating with stakeholders, developers and other designers. Interview people from the business to understand business goals and needs. Identifying user needs, goals, behaviors, and pain points through user research. Creating user personas and user journey maps. Designing site maps, sketches, wireframes, and prototypes. Conducting competitor research.
UX design vs. Graphic design: Collaboration possibility
Both UX designers and graphic designers have the same goal. To make users happy or satisfied, be it in solving problems or evoking emotions. Because of this common goal, it is easy to work together on a project to achieve a harmonious and cohesive product experience. Collaboration between these two professionals can lead to increased user satisfaction, engagement, and conversion rates.
Exploring Opportunities in Design
Some graphic design roles that can be explored include; Art director, Package Designer, Brand Identity Developer, Visual Image Developer, Creative Director, Broadcast Designer and Logo Designer.
UX design roles that can be explored include; UX Researcher, UX Designer, UX Product Manager, Usability Tester, Product Designer, Interaction Designer, Experience Designer, Information Architect, UX Engineer, UX Analyst, UX Strategist, UX Developer and Product Designer.
Impact on Products
Graphic design and UX design both play important roles in creating products, but they have different ways of making an impact. Graphic designers focus on how things look. They create logos for identifying a product or brand, packaging, and other designs that catch people’s attention and communicate a message. On the other hand, UX designers focus on how people use products. They make sure they meet people’s needs with their products by creating easy to navigate interfaces and user flows that guide a user through a product or service in an intuitive way.
Finding the right fit and choosing the right career path between ux design and graphic design
If you enjoy being creative and using technology, you might want to consider a career in design. There are different fields in design you can choose from, depending on what you’re good at and what you like doing. It is all about finding the right fit for your unique skills and interests. \
For example, if you understand the world of style, brand, color, layout, typography, emotion and sales psychology, a career in graphic design could be a great option for you. On the other hand, if you understand user behavior, interaction design, have an interest in human psychology and love figuring out problems using research and data, a career in UX design will best suit you.
And that’s it
You can start by evaluating which path feels more like you by reading and taking courses related to where your interest lie.
To know if graphic design is where you would excel, take the basic graphic design course by canva.
To know if UX design is where you would excel, take the short course on UX design by Career Foundary.
Read the 5 ways to become a badass UX designer in 2023 if you have decided on the UX design path.