Do you know the differences between graphic design vs web design? If not, you’ve come to the right place. Many people, especially clients who hire web design agencies, are confused by the two terms and often use them interchangeably (although they shouldn’t). To clarify this confusion, here are the main characteristics of and differences between graphic design and web design.
What is Graphic Design?
Here are the main attributes of graphic design — as it’s done by pros.
- Graphic design is creating, manipulating, and combining symbols, images, or texts to form visual representations of ideas.
- The end result of graphic design can be a graphic, image, or typography used in advertisement, branding products (logos, brochures, posters, etc.), and more.
- Graphic designers often use specialized software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, to create or manipulate images.
- Unlike web designers, graphic designers don’t usually do programming but are more focused on the graphic side of a project.
- Graphic design projects can be digital (creating visuals for websites) or in print (creating graphics for a brand to be published in a magazine).
What is Web Design?
Professional web designers may characterize web design like so:
- Web design is the process that determines the way a website looks and works – from content, layout, and structure to graphics, images, and animations.
- Like graphic design, web design involves creating graphics, images, and typography, but the medium is the World Wide Web.
- Web design is more restrictive than graphic design – quality is often sacrificed for speed. Unlike graphic designers, web designers take into account file size, screen resolution, as well as the speed and performance of a website.
- Web designers work with image manipulation software like Photoshop but also use Content Management Systems (CMSs) like WordPress or Drupal.
- Web designers must also have knowledge of HTML and CSS. They often collaborate with web developers who deal with the programming side of a website.
- Since the end result is a website, web designers must consider the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aspect. SEO involves tweaking the website’s content to rank better in search engines.
Graphic Design vs Web Design: What Are the Key Differences?
Now that you know what graphic and web design are, let’s see how they differ.
- Graphic design deals with creating graphics for both print and the web, whereas web design is mainly concerned with the design and inner workings of websites.
- Graphic designers can create graphics by hand and with technological aids. Web designers almost exclusively work on the computer using specialized software.
- Web design agencies can hire graphic designers to create graphics for websites. A web designer can also replace a graphic designer, but their web skills would not be employed.
- As web design is more restrictive, graphic designers often collaborate with web designers to determine the artistic layout of a web page.
- A web designer typically has less training in creating graphics for printed materials. Likewise, graphic designers usually don’t have the programming skills and web knowledge to fulfill the role of a web designer.
- Some people can do both jobs, but they tend to have more strengths in one area than the other.
- Unlike graphic designers, web designers typically communicate with their clients to optimize the client’s website, as required by the constant technological changes on the web.
Graphic design and web design will always be different, and the differences will always be confusing. These tips can help you grasp the fundamental differences between the two professions.
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