Is there a true difference between graphic design and UX design? Both disciplines heavily rely on the visuals and both influence the audience’s decision-making process. However, there are still fundamental differences in terms of what is the actual purpose of graphic design comparing to UX design. While graphic designers base their work on the visuals such as imagery, typography, shapes, and other aspects of visual representation, the UX design includes usability, which is a practical component not a visual one, and the feeling that users experience during interaction with a certain product.
Since UX design already includes the graphics component, graphic designers often decide to switch careers and focus on the option that’s both in higher demand but also pays much better. If you are interested in transitioning from graphic to UX design, here is a short walkthrough through that process.
What you need to know about UX design
The main job of a UX designer is to create a concept that satisfies the user in three major aspects:
The look is a visual aspect of a product, and it includes creating such a visual concept that will satisfy the aesthetic needs of the target audience, that is the user. Visual design differs among various demographics but also depends on the industry that pushes the product. Designing a Nike and mobile app for Edubirdie service to write essays requires completely different approaches. Moreover, the visuals should also illustrate the brand identity, which means taking into account multiple interests.
The feel is an abstract component of the design; it’s what it feels like to interact with a certain design solution. Designing a product that feels good to use doesn’t mean it just functions well, it’s more than getting the functionality part right, the user should enjoy using the product.
The usability is the third component of UX design which includes creating a product that’s easy to use, intuitive, and provides all the features that a user would require. Good usability allows people to handle the product without any additional tools, volumes of user manuals and tutorials, overwhelming adjustments and setup process.
Bring some of the luggage with you
Switching from graphic designer to UX designer career doesn’t mean you should forget all the things you already know and fly into the unknown. There are many aspects of both disciplines that place a bridge between them.
Every UX designer, as well as a graphic designer, should aim to convey emotion through typography, images, color palettes, shapes, and objects. Although, in order to achieve a satisfying user experience, designers also have to keep in mind the information architecture which means making sure that all the content is clearly visible and placed in an order that’s logical for the user.
Creative thinking is also the string that binds graphic and UX design, because both require innovative, authentic solutions. There’s a slight difference, however, since UX design often requires taking into consideration the functionality of the product and how the design influences it.
Prototyping is also a part of the design process you would use as a UX designer. You create a mockup of a certain product, then send it over to your client and act upon the feedback. The only difference is that, as a UX designer, you have to answer three questions:
- Does it look good?
- Does it feel good?
Is it usable?
Design process differences
Both disciplines include researching the target audience and their preferences; we have already learned that UX design requires much deeper analysis. Also, while the graphic design process is linear, including analysis and design which iterates until the client is satisfied, the UX design is under constant development. UX designer can create a product, the users test it and evaluate it, and then the product gets the required design improvements. This process can go in a circle as long as the product is active because the users will change their habits and needs, the technology will change and force you to adapt the design accordingly, it just doesn’t stop with the first accepted design solution.
While there is a gap between the skills, switching from graphic design to UX design is not that difficult once you know what it really means to be a UX designer. It’s all about focusing on user needs and expectations, which is easy if you do your research well. Once you get to know your user, it’s easy to design a great experience.
Nicholas Walker is a content writer focused on delivering informational and compelling content to the audience. His articles get published by respectful publishers dedicated to web design, UX, and all things creative. As an accomplished designer, Nicholas tries to transfer as much experience as possible to the wide array of audience.