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Difference Between Graphic Design and UX Design

by Ryan Sanchez

A few years back, a design used to mean graphic design, and that was that. But in this continually evolving world of portable screens and smartphones attached to the palms of everyone, the definition of design keeps getting broader. VisD, UI, UX… the acronyms keep accumulating. If you are feeling lost, well, you aren’t alone. The contemporary designs are a tangle of overlapping terms that make it difficult to know where to turn.

Let’s begin with a couple of definitions:

Graphic design

Graphic design combines problem-solving with visual communication. People who offer graphic design service uses colors, typography, and images to communicate a feeling via visual design, print, or web. Most graphic designs fall under the umbrella of “branding,” so traditional designers often acquire much of their direction from marketing. For this conversation, it is essential to understand that a graphic designer only polishes a product and is not concerned about the things going on beneath the surface.

User Experience (UX) Design

UX moves a step further than graphic design; UX’s process starts well before a pen hits the paper or a mouse hits the adobe creative suite. It is a multifaceted industry that combines graphic design, human factors, information architecture, and user research. This design aims to create the user encounter with brands or products in a stress-free way by placing users and the goals as the subject of every decision. Furthermore, UX is the total experience of a user as they interact with a service or product to archive a goal.

How is Graphic design different from UX?

The simple and the most straightforward answer to this question is that graphic design is an aspect of UX, an essential one at that.

However, the difference between both is that; while a graphic designer takes his ideas from marketing and his creativity, a UX visual designers create a wireframe or a framework with a plan that has the users experience as the principal focus, and of course, while keeping the needs and goals of the clients in mind.

Just because there is a framework, that doesn’t imply that one can discount the users. Let’s put that in perspective. Assuming we are designing a hiking app with trail info and checkpoints to offer a more interactive experience. A graphic designer’s prime focus on this project would be creating a visual identity for the application by using layouts, colors, spacing, typography, and more. Although UX designers care about the same things, they also consider what the users intend to accomplish and the type of environment they are trying that.

A graphic designer assesses his success by how well he communicates a marketing message to the users by following the brand standards. On the other hand, UX designers view every design process as a dialogue; they use how much the users understand the messages received as a criterion to measure a UX design’s success. Testing reveals whether or not the UX designers achieved their goals. If the design doesn’t work, they go back to the drawing board.

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