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How To Differentiate Between A Graphic Designer And A UI Designer

Web Design | Anurag Gupta | Last Updated: 2019-03-24

How To Differentiate Between A Graphic Designer And A UI Designer

Design has long been considered synonymous with the way things look and are presented on the surface. But with the evolution in technology, the purview of design has expanded deeper into the world of web. Now, there is not just a graphic designer creating beautiful combinations of colors, images, and fonts for branding, but there is also a UI designer who is designing interfaces, user testing them, and iterating to suit user response and feedback. Designing, today, is not just about the visual display but more about the way it makes the users feel, the way it makes them interact, and the type of experience it offers. It is no more limited to pleasing the eyes; it has extended to making a user feel comfortable while acting on any platform after understanding his/her expectations and requirements. While the roles and responsibilities of a graphic designer and a UI designer have stark differences, there are many who still mistake one for the other. To clear out all those confusions and doubts, here's a quick guide.

Graphic Designer

A visual storyteller, a graphic designer is someone who conceptualizes an idea using the right combination of colors, fonts, lines, and other visual elements. They master the art of beautifying things while clearly conveying the required information to the target viewers. They may be working to create and arrange visual elements like images, tests, etc., for both online (mobile apps, websites, etc.,) as well as offline channels (magazines, covers, billboards, etc.). They are essentially artists who create art that is there only to be consumed by the targeted audience. Envato is a great example of a good graphic design.

Skills Required :-

  • Artistic Sensibility One of the core skills of a graphic designer is to have the artistic sensibility to portray everything in the most beautiful manner. They need to have the required artistic sense to bring together colors, fonts, images, etc., for an end product that pleases the eyes.
  • Creativity Creative insight into combing the right colors and where to place texts, images, or other graphic elements for making a new design that attracts the users while also reciting the story that the brand wants to tell is something a graphic designer should have.
  • Analytical Skills Understanding the requirements of the client along with its target audience and then assessing the design time and again to ensure it conveys the message straight to the audience is a must-have quality for the graphic designers.
  • Designing Capabilities Apart from having artistic sensibilities, it is also important for a graphic designer to be skilled with the designing capabilities of today. This could be achieved by getting the knowledge of designing tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

Responsibilities :-

The responsibilities that a graphic designer shares are also pretty different from the ones shared by a UI designer. Their main aim is to boost the branding of their client. They are responsible for combining design and technology to ensure that the ideas or messages are communicated to the target audience. Their role is critical in the sales and marketing of any product or service. Despite having to face many challenges, graphic designers need to transform the statistical data into interesting and enticing visual imagery.

UI Designer

An evoker of actions, a UI designer is someone who creates an interactive interface that compels the visitors to take desired actions. They weave a bridge that determines how well the user is able to interact with the software and how seamlessly the software is responding to the query. It is important for the user interface designers to know the users they are targeting and what type of design can elicit a reaction from them. A user interface is an expanded version of graphic designing where the designer not only beautifies the thing using colors, fonts, designs etc. but also uses other interactive elements like menus, clickable elements, micro-interactions, animations, form fields, etc., to make sure the interface is easy to use. Gmail is a great example of a good UI design.

Skills Required :-

  • Communication Ability One of the core skills that a UI designer needs is communication and not just verbal, visual too. They should be able to explain their design and how it would evoke a response from the users.
  • User Advocacy As user interface is connected to the users more than anyone else, and a UI designer should be skilled to understand the expectations, needs, behavior, and perception of the users for designing their interactive prototype. They should also be able to tackle the cause of the concern for the users and work on any new change seen in the users behavior.
  • Persuasive Designing The UI designers should be skilled enough to create a design that persuades the users into taking the required action. They should know the psychological designing techniques, placements, and elements like social proofing, scarcity, etc., could make them take the required action.
  • Ability To Explore & Iterate Rapid prototyping is one of the core responsibilities of UI designers and to ensure they fulfill it, they should have the ability to explore and iterate. Many designers suffer from the inability to work or implement their own creations. A UI designer should be able to test and examine their interface multiple times until they find the right solution.

Responsibilities :-

Bringing user-friendliness to the interactive interface is the main responsibility that any UI designer needs to fulfill. They not only need to communicate the interactions by creating process flows, wireframes, site maps, user flow, etc. but also need to conceptualize any ideas to ensure it is up to par. Once they have created the interface design, they need to add more interactive elements in the design to make it more engaging and user-friendly. They also need to analyze the operation software, tree structure, and operation flow of the interaction design to ensure it is getting the desired action and response.

Putting In A Nutshell

While many people still confuse a graphic designer with a UI designer, the above points prove that they have some really stark differences. While a graphic designer creates static designs for online as well as print mediums, a UI designer is the brain behind the interactive designs on websites, web apps, and mobile apps. The graphic designers are responsible for building a design that conveys the required brand message in the right light whereas a UI designer ensures that the design he/she creates also function properly to engage the users and interact with them. However, when it comes to about portal website designing, responsive website designing, e-commerce designing, or any other type of website designing, both graphic designers and UI designers come together to ensure that the business's goal is met.


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