The Difference Between a Web Designer and Graphic Designer

Graphic designers and web designers have quite a couple of things in common. They both work with fonts, graphics and design principles, though graphic and website design are very different in other ways. Here are examples of some of those differences in order to give you a better understanding of how these two professions are different.

 

Dynamic

Graphic design is meant for print in books or magazines and as such not that very interactive. The copy and imagery are all static and they cannot change form or display something different depending on your whereabouts.

Now website designers create the opposite. Website design is very dynamic and interactive. Depending on which website you have visited before, it may show you a whole lot of different content. What is more, when you interact with it you can get a different result depending on your actions. This means that website design calls for a lot of thinking and planning as the user experience should be good no matter what the point of entry is (for instance it could be another website, a mobile device or another country).

In short, when you compare a website designer’s work to that of a graphic designer, you are basically comparing a tablet to an artwork. Although both are visually beautiful, only one delivers an interactive experience.

 

Loading times

Website designers are limited by file sizes and website loading times. They can create beautiful designs, but if the servers cannot handle the heaviness of the website, the website will slow down and the site’s visitors will stay away as a result.

So, a web designer needs to pay a lot of attention to optimisation. Fortunately for graphic designers this is one less thing that they have to worry about.

 

Fonts

Both a graphic designer and web designer will need to use legible fonts for their mediums, but the graphic designer does not need to worry about different screen sizes as well. The size of the book is predetermined and luckily if it works in one of them, it works in all of them. However, for a web designer this is quite different. The font that might work on a desktop screen may not work for mobile users. Then, to make matters even more complicated, web designers need to consider how a specific font will display in the different browsers too!

 

Screen sizes

When it comes to web design, the importance of being responsive cannot be emphasised enough. Like with fonts, imagery and website layouts need to be responsive to different screen sizes. Not only mobile devices have different screen sizes, but also desktop and laptop screens come in a wide range of screen sizes. Graphic designers only have to worry about having one design that works for one medium and that is it.

 

Allow for change and growth

A web designer will always need to allow for the possibility to adapt the website with a good CMS to allow for the content to change. This is unheard of for a book! Once you buy a book in a certain edition, the content will not change anymore until perhaps it is time for another edition to be printed.

A website is subject to change all the time! As a result a web designer is never really truly done designing. There are new products, latest news, price updates and new contact information. To add to that list, new content also needs to be generated all the time.

 

Audience interaction

In order for a website to be truly effective it needs to get many repeat visitors and even more traffic. Once a web designer has built a website, he or she will not only get feedback from his client, but also from anybody who visits the website. Whether or not a design is good or bad will not only show through customer feedback, but also in traffic and conversion numbers.

To make matters even more complicated, the Internet is a great place where users can quickly share exactly what they think of a particular website. So, when visitors cannot stand a website, it is oh-so easy for them to share this with other users.

 

Teamwork

A graphic designer has only the text and imagery to work with. A web designer on the other hand needs to work closely with web developers to make sure the full potential of the design really comes to life. When a design is limited by its technical possibilities, the design will need to be adapted.

Though, there is one thing that graphic design and web design have in common… It is their creativity and their drive to combine optical beauty with practical usability.

Related article: “Melbourne Web Designer Reveals The 10 Principles of Good Website Design”

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