Graphic design vs. web design is a topic that has long been a subject of debate and has brought about a lot of confusion among people. There are others who seem to think that these two are just the same. But, are they really? Is web design just the same with graphic design?
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Web design vs graphic design: What’s the difference?
To finally put an end to the uncertainties, it is now time to finally know the difference between graphic design vs web design.
When you speak of graphic design, this refers to the use of images, graphics, and typography to communicate or convey an idea. A graphic designer can work on digital projects and print projects alike. Graphic design, unlike web design, only focuses on graphics creation that will be used in print or on websites. Graphic designers don’t do or deal with any form of programming.
Similar to graphic design, web design refers to the creation of images, graphs, typography, and graphics for conveying or communicating an idea. But, their difference is that web design is only concerned about websites, and not print.
A web designer is responsible for the creation of websites that don’t just look great but can also load fast. This means that web designers may deal with some restrictions that a graphic designer may not need to worry about. For instance, web designers have to consider things such as image resolution, file size, and others.
A web design professional also has to consider that websites, unlike print mediums, are more dynamic mediums. User experience or UX designers specialize in how it feels to use the website while user interface or UI designers specialize in the overall style of the website and how it is laid out.
Both of these specializations are important since website users need to interact with it unlike with just reading a newspaper. Even though there are designers specializing specifically in such fields, a good web designer must have some knowledge on both for them to use it as they draft a website.
Now that you already have some idea about graphic design vs web design, here are some of their key differences:
Technical skills and expertise
The key difference between a web designer and graphic designer is none other than their technical skills and expertise. A web designer must have familiarity with CSS, HTML, and how they can make designs work on the web. In traditional graphic design, it is possible to customize designs without a lot of limitations. On the other hand, there are technical constraints such as load time and file size that must be considered in web design.
Graphic design is static while web design is interactive
Users can interact with web design. A mere click of a button lets you navigate through different web pages that can also have videos and motion graphic. There is less interactivity in graphic design. You can touch and look at it but there are no changes even if you interact with it.
Graphic design is permanent while web design is dynamic
Graphic design is more permanent in more ways. Changes cannot be made after printing the design. Meanwhile, web design is a dynamic media with the flexibility and power to adapt and change.
Pixel dimensions and DPI
Web designers deal with some technical constraints such as load times and file sizes and this is the reason why there is a need to size down images. File size is not much of a factor as far as graphic design is concerned. It is common to opt for images with the higher resolution for print that creates larger file sizes. A similar image used on a printed layout and on the web will significantly differ in size because of pixel dimension and dots per inch or DPI.
Constraints in typography
Although there are already several advances in the web design industry, online typography remains to be a bit restricted. It is often a wise move to specify the font stack for the browser to choose from multiple fonts. But, in graphic design, you can use whatever typeface you prefer provided that you install the actual font on your computer and it will look exactly like that once you export your design and print it.
Web design calls for a continuous relationship
A website requires ongoing maintenance. You don’t just make them and leave them like that. With the web being dynamic, it is possible for you to make the necessary changes anytime you want. Clients of web designers may choose to hire them on retainer or other arrangements to help with ongoing updates on designs. As for graphic, the moment you sent your work for printing, that’s it. If changes are necessary, it usually means that a new version is required.
Graphic design and web design team up with different professionals
Web designers and graphic designers can choose to work with professionals from other fields. For instance, graphic designers can work with production artists for cleaning up and preparing their files for final print production.
Web design vs graphic design: Which is better?
Just like other industries, conflicts may arise between web design and graphic design professionals. For instance, a graphic design expert might think that the work of a web design expert is of lower quality compared to print work. Web design professionals, on the other hand, may feel upset with experts in graphic design because they don’t have a good understanding of the web. This is among the key differences that will possibly exist all the time because none of them truly understands other party.
Things can become even more perplexing because a lot of people don’t have a good understanding of the differences between these two roles or professions. Web projects, most of the time, will request for graphic designers when in fact, they should have hired web designers instead to come up with an efficient and professional website.
With the continuous progress of this technology in the future, this conflict may soon cease to exist. Once the web design becomes less restrictive, it will give them further freedom to create. Thanks to the continuous development of HTML editors for developing efficient sites, graphic designers will find it easier to use the web for presenting their idea.
So, if you are asking which is better between graphic design and web design, there is really no hard and fast answer because both are good in their own respective ways.