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Graphic Design vs Web Design

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Image depicting graphic design tools and web design tools

Posted on 12/01/2021 at 10:00 AM

What's the Difference Between Graphic Design and Web Design?

A web designer and a graphic designer may seem virtually the same right of the bat, but the services they provide are different. Both strive to create graphics, typography, and images that are eye-catching and compelling. However, if you are looking to hire a graphic designer or a web designer, the two are not interchangeable. Each service, though both under the umbrella of visual design, requires different education, skillsets, and utilizes different software to get the job done. 

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic designers are crucial to creating eye-catching, compelling images for a variety of mediums. Aside from creating graphics and editing images for web content, their designs are often used in the print world. The designs that graphic designers make online are often used in print media such as brochures, posters, logo design, and more. For graphic designers, art comes first in creating custom designs to build strong branding. 

“Writing is designing with words. Designing is writing without them.” - Robert Hoekman, Author

Global Reach brochure design

Graphic designers must have a solid understanding of art design elements from color theory, to typography, and so much more. Their work has to communicate a clear and compelling message. This is especially true in print work, which is static and less interactive when compared to web design. Graphic designers frequently use creative tools (Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate, to name a few) to achieve these goals. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two professions is that graphic designers do not do any programming.

What is Web Design?

Web designers also work to create compelling visuals but are limited by the restrictions that come with programming. Web designers work solely in the digital landscape and work to make a responsive website design that is attractive as well as user-friendly. 

“Your website is the center of your digital eco-system, like a brick and mortar location, the experience matters just as much once a customer enters, just as much as the perception they have of you before they walk through the door."” - Leland Dieno, Dieno Digital

web design Iowa

A web designer is concerned not only with the visual aspect of their work but also translating it into a responsive web page design and ensuring adherence to SEO best practices for website designs. This means they must account for certain restrictions such as image resolutions, file size, and other factors that impact page load speed. When incorporating their designs into a custom web design project, web designers must have an understanding of programming. This involves the usage of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, and more. This means that their work often needs to be more dynamic and ongoing than graphic designers. A graphic designer can create all the branding material as a one-time project, while web designers must continually monitor and make updates based on changing algorithms and analytics. 

The Bottom Line: Key Differences and Similarities 

Both graphic and web designers are vital for digital marketing and web design services. Both must stay up to date with the latest trends, understand the fundamentals of visual design, and create compelling designs that communicate a clear message.

“Good design's not about what medium you're working in. It's about thinking hard about what you want to do and what you have to work with before you start.” - Susan Kare, Artist and Graphic Designer

Graphic designers have more freedom with their designs as they are not hindered by programming restrictions. Web designers have to balance good design with website speed and efficiency. There are some professionals out there who can excel in both roles, but it is rare that they are masterful at all of the strengths and skill sets that each requires. 

Looking for the Best in Graphic Design and Web Design?

Global Reach has a team of experts ready to elevate your business's presence. Our team has won dozens of awards for custom website development for clients across a wide range of industries. The combined expertise of our digital marketing team, IT service team, web developers, and designers can help take your business to the next level!


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