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Web Design vs. Graphic Design 3 Web Design vs. Graphic Design
Review: 5 - Web Design vs. Graphic Design

Web and graphic designs may sound similar for newcomers and common audiences. However, these are two different fields of an interesting and creative profession. They have their special characteristics and difficulties.

Graphic design vs web design is an exciting topic, and it is not always easy to determine their similarities and differences. We will discuss the possible outcomes of each of the professions in the future and give you useful tips to start your way as a designer. 

But first of all, let’s start with what is graphic and web design?

What is graphic design?

Graphic design is all about creating graphics, balancing photos of pictures with typography, drawing illustrations to express a certain idea or help promote a certain product. Back in the old days, graphic design was associated with creating logos, posters, illustrating magazines, making brochures, etc. But over time, graphic design moved to digital space and used the latest technologies to create perfect images.

A good graphic designer should demonstrate deep knowledge of the basics of the design. They should be masters of color theory, typography, know visual hierarchy and layouts.

The main tools of a graphic designer are Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign. However, some designers may use other tools of their taste.

Both web and graphic design are part of the visual design group, and they work in the same field. However, let’s take a closer look at what web design is.

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Illustration by Valeria Rimkevich

What is web design?

What makes a difference between web and graphic designers? A web designer is working mainly with the general looks of the websites. They create visuals and the overall style of web pages. The tasks of a web designer are planning the UX of the website, wireframing the layouts, cataloging the content, and designing the final UI of the website.

Web and graphic design use principles of the basic design, so web designers should also know how to use typography, colors, layouts, and visual hierarchy when designing websites.

Web designers use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator the same as graphic designers. However, web designers should also know the basics of computer programming. They should know HTML and CSS, and it’s desirable to have a basic knowledge of JavaScript, PHP, or other programming languages.

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Illustration by Valeria Rimkevich

How are web design and graphic design different?

So, the web design vs graphic design “battle” continues. Let’s compare the designers working in these fields in detail. We already know that they both create visual media to illustrate something. But what are the main differences between graphic design and web design? Let’s find out.

1. Set of Technical Skills

The first and the most important difference between graphic design and web design is a set of technical skills the designer use while working on the project. While working on the illustration, graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and other applications, and only their imagination limits them. Web designers should know HTML and CSS to work on their projects and have basic skills in some other programming languages. Moreover, web designers are limited by the technical capacities of the website. They should keep in mind the size of the files and the time to load. 

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Illustration by Julia Hanke

2. Dynamic and Permanent

Graphic design, web design are about art for sure. Graphic design is closer to the classical means of art, and it makes it more permanent. We still remember posters and illustrations from the past. Some of them are even displayed in museums. And as for web design, this kind of design is dynamic and tends to be renovated and reimagines every couple of years. Website designs lose their relevance in a relatively short amount of time, and they should be renovated. The old design may be seen in the archives of Google only, and the older trends rarely return in fashion. 

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Illustration by Lily

3. Interactive and Static

Another great difference between web design and graphic design is that web design is more interactive. You can directly interact with the website by clicking different buttons. Your actions will trigger different pop-up windows of motion graphics. With graphic design, we have fewer ways to interact. We can look at it, we can probably touch it, and that’s all.

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Illustration by Den Klenkov

4. DPI and Pixel Dimensions

Web designers are limited in their creativity by several parameters: the size of the image, the number of pixels, the load time, etc. That is why producing images specifically for the website in question is harder from the technical side.

The main task of the web designer is to create or choose an image with the highest resolution but with the smallest file size. The printed image and the image used for the web design will have different DPI (dots per inch). For example, a website illustration can have 72 DPI, while a graphic illustration for a poster will have 300 DPI or more.

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Illustration by Alexander Masliy

5. Typography Restraints

Both website design and graphic design use typography in the working process. However, web designers have restrictions here as well. Not all the fonts are supported on all the devices, and you should keep that in mind while choosing that one certain font. Certain browsers cannot display some fonts in CSS. 

A good solution to this issue would be creating a font stack for the browser to have several fonts to choose from.

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Illustration by Yuliia Dobrokhod

6. Ongoing Relationship

Website design requires constant renovations and innovations, so web designers have bigger chances to have long-term contracts with the customers. Once you have created a website design, the work is not done. It will demand more changes and additional features in the future, and all the websites evolve to be competitive.

If you are working on a graphic design, your work is basically finished once the customers accept your illustration. If the client requires a new print version, it most likely requires a new piece of art to work on.

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Illustration by Julia Tur

How are web design and graphic design similar?

We have discussed the differences between website and graphic designers, but now, let’s study what they have in common. From the previous paragraphs, you may think that they have nothing in common, but that is not true.

1. Design Fundamentals

Print design vs web design, what do you think they have in common? Both of the designers should study the fundamental laws of the design before they become professionals. Typography, color theory, visual hierarchy, all of these tools are necessary for successful designs. Moreover, it’s really desirable for designers to have artistic skills and to be overall creative people. Whether it’s graphic design or web design, basic art knowledge is essential.

2. Design Trends 

Modern trends come and go, and design trends are no exception. Every designer needs to keep an eye on modern trends and create their projects according to them. If you don’t want your website or an illustration to be outdated in a couple of months after the creation, make sure they align with the vector of trend evolution. Web design trends are more dynamic so that they may change more frequently.

3. Creative Solutions

Web and graphic designer is no doubt a creative person. That is why most customers hire them as specialists to find creative and efficient solutions to the design problems they have. A website with a bad design won’t convert enough customers, and a badly-designed poster won’t promote the product. And in this case, designers come to the rescue. Web designers make sure the website looks and works well, and graphic designers solve problems by creating appealing logos, branding, or other images for the company.

4. Communication

Web and graphic design require good communication to perform well. It doesn’t matter what you are designing: a website or a brochure, good communicational skills are the keys to success. Your task is to understand the client’s requirements and ask the right questions to create a clear picture of the desirable design. 

Most of the customers are not specialists in the design, so it’s hard for them to explain what is needed. In this case, it’s up to you if this communication is successful and if the design will satisfy all the client’s needs.

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Illustration by Magda

Which design role will be more in demand in the future?

Graphic design vs web design. Which one has more prospects in the future? It’s really hard to say as both of the professions are still in high demand. While after 2019, many businesses went online, almost 90% of the shopping in the US stays offline. That is why, while web designers may experience growing demand, graphic designers are still highly requested professionals. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, this field has met only a 4% decline from 2019.

It’s practically impossible which of these design professions will thrive in the future. Still, we can see that graphic design and web design are highly requested and won’t be forgotten professions in many years.

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Illustration by Anastasia Golub

Which is the right job choice: Web design vs. Graphic design?

Sometimes it’s hard for new designers to choose web design or graphic design. While there are a lot of online and offline design courses, some of the companies still demand web and graphic designers to have at least Bachelor’s diploma to start their work.

Web designers have bigger salaries, $57,454/year compared to $49,371/year for graphic designers. However, the salary gap is not that massive.

Overall, it’s up to you to decide which fiend of design to choose. If you are not good with programming, then graphic designer is the career of your choice. If you are not satisfied with a simple design and love your coding, go for a web design career! Both careers are creative, fulfilling and are in high demand. 

To Sum Up

If your question was “web design vs graphic design, which one is better?” we hope you have found some answers in our article. Web and graphic design are two different sides of one creative profession, and only you can choose which is better for you. They all have their pros and cons, differences and similarities, but both are equally interesting and challenging at the same time.

If you search for a web and graphic designer, Fireart Studio is a great place for you. Whether you have a website to design or an illustration to create, we are ready to help you.


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