UI/UX vs Graphic Design
94% of first impressions in business are related to design, so it’s crucial to get them right.
Design is a complex field with a range of different sub-divisions, so how do you know which type of designer(s) you need in your project?
Today we’ll look at three different types of design (UI, UX and graphic), investigate what they are, as well as how they overlap and differ.
What is UI/UX design?
The terms UX and UI are often used interchangeably making them seem identical, so what is the difference between them?
UX stands for User eXperience:
UX design involves designing the entire user experience: how it feels to enter the product, navigate through it and use it day after day.
Some key tasks include finding solutions to pain points, mapping out the information architecture and building wireframes & prototypes.
UI stands for User Interfaces:
UI design deals specifically with the interface a user will see and interact with.
This includes font, colors and images, as well as the balance between the various elements on the page to make sure the product is easy to use and impactful.
Another way to see the difference in the roles is to think about building a house (instead of digital products):
a UX designer is like the architect of a design project who decides the layout of the house and each room,
a UI designer is more like the interior designer who decides how each room will look and feel.
The two roles can be carried out by a specialised designer in a single job, however, you need to take the time to find someone who has experience in both UX and UI design.
What is graphic design?
Graphic design is the process of communicating an idea in a visual way. There are many tools that can be used to do this, including the use of words, colors, shapes, illustrations, etc.
Graphic design’s aim is to convey information and meaning visually, which overlaps at points with UI design. For example, the creation of visual interfaces intersects both graphic and UI design.
we want to present information in a visual way,
that is easy to understand,
and subtly communicates messages about the product and brand.
How does graphic design differ to UI/UX?
The guiding principles between the two forms of design are very different. Graphic design aims to present an idea in a visual way and keeps the expression of this idea at its core.
On the other hand, UI/UX design aims to build an experience around its users. This means that users are kept at the heart of the design experience.
Why does this difference matter?
With different core values and drivers, the processes, and therefore the results, usually differ greatly. On occasion, the two design styles can end with similar results. When this happens, it usually means that the information/message at the core of the graphic design process is very user-centric, creating a similar result to the UX approach.
Imagine a museum is preparing for a new exhibition. There are many design decisions that need to be made:
how to layout the exhibition,
how to publicise the event,
how to express the information within the exhibit to the public.
While some definitely need to take the users (aka visitors) into account, UI or UX design might not be the guiding light while taking decisions.
For instance, the key focus of the advertising campaign might be to launch the museum’s new branding. Or perhaps the exhibit needs to describe the effects of an event in a way that a description alone cannot.
In these cases, the visual language could become more important to the museum's design project and graphic design would be the guiding design process.
When should I look for a graphic designer instead of a UI/UX designer?
This ultimately depends on your current project and your business goals/needs.
look for a graphic designer when you have a message or information to express is the most important factor,
and look for a UI/UX designer when you need help constructing a product that is reliant on your users' experience.
Every project is unique and must be analysed to understand what kind of design is required before starting. No design project is successful without careful planning and research to understand your users and their needs.
“Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail”
— Benjamin Franklin
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