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UX Design vs Graphic Design: 6 Best Tips for Graphic Designers

Written By Zainab Aftab | Last Modified On April 22, 2024

UX design and graphic design have become popular careers, and it is predicted that this industry will grow more in the upcoming decade. Both types of design techniques are necessary for website design.

Research reveals that 65% of UX designers start their careers in the UX design field with the motive of having additional design skills to gain a competitive advantage.

Having a professional educational background in UX and graphic design is not compulsory. If you are a graphic designer looking forward to enhancing your skills in UX design because of the market demand, then this article will be the best guide for you. Let’s learn the difference between UX design vs Graphic design and which is the best career path for you.

Definition of UX Design

User Experience (UX) design is an intelligent design process where design teams create products or services that provide users with a user-centric experience. It involves the entire process, from planning the product development life cycle hiring a product design team, and delivering a final product with incorporated user feedback.

Definition of Graphic Design

Graphic design is a profession that involves practicing art and visual communications through a visual design context. The objective of graphic designing is to communicate specific messages to a customer group that provides them with some value. It is a visual form of art that has been around for many years and is developing with technological advancements. Companies use graphic design in their website or app designs to capture customer attention more effectively.

Read more about: How to Design a Website in 15 Steps? 

What’s the Actual Difference Between UX Design vs Graphic Design?

Let’s differentiate between the two terms, UX design and graphic design. Some people confuse the terms as having similar objectives and processes, but “UX is not graphic design”. Well, the main difference between these fields is their concept and objectives. UX design tends to deliver customers a value-driven user-centric design that automatically captures their attention by enhancing user experience with the product interface.

Learn More: User Interface (UI) Design

On the other hand, it targets the potential audience with illustrations through images, videos, animations, etc. Let’s classify more differences between UX and graphic design.

  • UX designers create interactive products for the customers, whereas graphic designers add visual concepts to the design to capture the audience’s attention.
  • Graphic design work is typically associated with marketing or corporate branding. Still, all software products, apps, and websites use the UX design approach to optimize their interface.
  • UX design requires an in-depth knowledge of software and the latest technology.
  • The salary of UX designers is typically higher than graphic designers due to the increase in demand for skilled UX specialists in the industry.

Tasks and Responsibilities of Graphic Designers vs UX Designers

Graphic designers typically work in an office environment and develop high-profile projects with the help of a team of other professionals. They may be self-employed or work for an agency or company specializing in design. Responsibilities of graphic designers include:

  • The role involves researching trends and new technologies so that they can be incorporated into their work. 
  • Conceptualizing visuals as required by the clients.
  • Using software to develop logos, illustrations, and animations for websites or apps.
  • Time scaling and budgeting for the whole project.

As UX designers are supposed to enhance user experience, their responsibilities involve designing interactive products by incorporating technology. Some other responsibilities of UX designers are:

  • Understanding users’ perception and psychology to incorporate it in the product specifications.
  • Conducting usability testing to gather customer feedback.
  • Use research to create personas.
  • Developing prototypes according to customer needs.

Difference Between UX Design Vs Graphic Design Salary

UX designers are the ones who make sure your website or app is intuitive and easy to use. They’re responsible for everything from your screens’ color scheme and layout to how you interact with them. Graphic designers, on the other hand, are responsible for things like logos and background images. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, UX designers can earn a median salary of $92,400 – $135,000, while graphic designers can earn $59,970.

Another reason UX designers earn more is that they have more education requirements than graphic designers. To be considered a UX designer at most companies, you need at least a bachelor’s degree (or higher level), whereas you can enter the graphic design field with just an associate’s degree or less. What matters is their ability to understand user needs and translate them into something designers can build upon.

Transitioning From Graphic Designer to UX Designer

We can understand that switching careers is a big decision, and if you are a veteran of the graphic design industry, it is hard to adopt the profession of UX designer. But if you think UX designing is challenging for you to learn as a graphic designer, then you are entirely wrong. Both approaches have a lot in common, and it’s easier for graphic designers to transition into UX designers than for newcomers in the industry.

Before transitioning, you must learn these three basic things:

  • UX research
  • Information Architecture
  • Repeated testing

1- UX Research

As a UX designer, you’ll communicate straightforwardly with clients as you lead user research. The first thing to learn about UX design is how to conduct UX research. This research is necessary o understand customer psychology and how their perceptions are associated with your product.

To shape a good user experience, you will need to learn how to create an affinity map, a user persona, a customer journey map, or a user flow through UX research.

2- Information Architecture

The next main thing to learn is UX information architecture. Expert UX designers master the art and science of information architecture to structure design so that the arrangement of design elements helps users accomplish the objective for which they interacted with your product.

3- Repeated Testing

And finally, you need to learn how to use standard industry tools for repeated testing of the design. Once UX designers have confirmed an idea for the final product through prototyping and wireframing, they must continuously test the product before launching it in the market. This is something that graphic designers are not very familiar with. Therefore, it can be a bit hard to learn. But to become a UX professional, it is necessary to learn about testing techniques.

Why Do Graphic Design Skills Convert Into UX Design Skills?

Graphic design and UX design have many common skills. That is why shifting from graphic design to UX design is not a challenging task. You need in-depth knowledge of both fields to understand the many similarities.

For example, graphic and UX design attempt to closely associate with their customers through emotional design techniques. Graphic design evokes users’ emotions through color, imagery, and typography, whereas UX design does the same but not only focuses on the visual part. UX designers create a broader picture of the entire user experience through information architecture, interaction design, and accessibility of design.

Both design approaches require creative thinking to solve user problems. UX design concepts are based on design thinking, applied in graphic design via creative thinking.

Both fields use aesthetics to evoke customers’ interest. Aesthetics are necessary to enhance the whole user experience, and graphic designers are well-taught on how to do that.

How to Choose the Right Career Path for You?

Whether you should opt for graphic design or UX design as your career depends upon two things:

  • What are you capable of?
  • What is your expectation from your profession?

If you want to be in for the money, you should go for UX design, as it pays more and is high in demand. But you should also remember that the competition in both fields is very high, so you will have to nourish your skills and expertise in whatever field you are going in.

Your interest also matters in this decision, whether you can create better graphics for a digital firm or be up to the mark while creating UX. You can learn foundational skills in both fields to determine your choice. It gives you a better idea of what you are more capable of.

Also Read: How To Get A UX Design Job With No Industry Experience.

Tips That Graphic Designers Need to Know Before Turning to UX Designing

Now that you have entirely learned the difference between UX and Graphic design fields, we have some other exciting information for you. Transitioning from a graphic designer to a UX designer requires knowledge of basics like UX information architecture, UX research, and repeated testing. But there are many other things that you need to learn to find a good UX design job as a graphic designer.

Here are some exciting tips that will help you easily transition from a graphic designer to a UX designer:

  • Learn basic UX skills
  • Analyze your current skills
  • Start by making a UX design portfolio
  • Learn to be user-focused
  • Stay connected with trends
  • Learn how to conduct UX research

1- Learn Basic UX Skills

UX design is a multi-disciplinary approach with so much variety. You don’t need complete knowledge of all the UX concepts to get a competitive advantage. Start by learning basic and necessary skills which are high in demand these days.

2- Analyze Your Current Skills

Graphics are an essential part of UX design. Your current graphic designing skills are not unrelated to UX. They are also usable for the UX design field and can help you master the art of UX more easily.

So analyze your current graphic design skills and see which ones are most needed in UX. Try to polish these skills to get an edge in the UX field. Also, as a graphic designer, having deep knowledge of tools like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop will also benefit UX design.

3- Start By Making a UX Design Portfolio

The best thing about the UX design field is that you don’t need a degree to prove your expertise. But you will need an exceptional portfolio to showcase your skills. Therefore, from the day you start learning UX, make a portfolio and keep adding to it your best work.

4- Learn to be User-Focused

Graphic design is a pixel-focused approach that doesn’t pay much attention to customers’ desires. To become a UX designer, you have to learn to be user-centric. Your final design should be able to solve users’ problems instead of just being aesthetically pleasant.

5- Stay Connected With Trends

Trends are an essential part of any design field. Especially in UX design, you cannot just follow outdated trends in the industry. You must always be aware of what the users currently demand and how you can provide it. Join a community of UX designers to keep yourself updated with new trends.

6- Learn How to Conduct UX Research

Now for the last tip, you need to learn how to conduct UX research. Remember that the research needs accurate data on customers’ needs and requirements. You will have to learn valuable research techniques which will influence your design. These techniques are usually taught in UX design courses.

Educational Requirements for UX Designing

So, where do you start your education in UX design? First, you must decide what kind of education will help you get where you want to be as a UX designer. Is it more important that your education includes certain classes or experiences? Maybe one type of experience is better for getting your foot in the door, but another type of experience will lead to more significant opportunities later.

Research Schools

Research well-known schools in the field and choose one based on these criteria. You don’t have to go too far out of your way—make sure it’s somewhere close by and accessible for commuting purposes (or at least give yourself time for travel during breaks between semesters).

Industrial Requirements

The education required to become a UX designer varies by industry. For example, graphic designers often have backgrounds in art or computer science. However, since UX design is so broadly defined as a discipline within the field of interaction design (ID), it can also include a range of disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, psychology, and more.

Additional Skills

To become an influential UX designer, you must possess strong communication skills and creativity. You should also be able to work well under pressure and complete tasks on time without getting frustrated or distracted by your surroundings.

UX Design Courses

In addition to formal education in ID disciplines such as graphic design or user experience design courses at universities around the world, there are many online resources available that allow you to study these fields at your own pace and location through self-study websites like Lynda or Udemy. These courses offer video tutorials on how to master UX design skills with online courses on different topics.

Conclusion

As we can see, UX and graphic design can be good for a career in the coming decade. Every company will need professionals from both fields to grow its online presence. So you can choose any field per your skill and interest and be assured that tremendous opportunities are available in either field.

As both of them are interrelated, the future of graphic design is also affected by the development of UX design. In addition, the future of UX design is also affected by the improvement in graphic design. It is up to you to choose any skill that is best suitable for you. To sum up the debate of UX design vs graphic design, we can say that if you can learn the basics of both, you will be among those who rule their professions in the next decade.

FAQs

Do UX Designers Need to Know Graphic Design?

UX designers don’t need to learn graphic design first. However, additional knowledge of graphic design concepts and practical applications can come in handy in UX design projects.

Who Earns More Graphic Designer or UX Designer?

Due to the increased demand for this skill, UX designers earn more than graphic designers. Also, it has become necessary for companies to optimize their websites and apps for user experience to increase conversion. That is why UX designers are earning higher these days.

Are Graphic Design Skills Compulsory for UX Designing?

No, graphic design skills are not compulsory for UX designers as you learn different UX design techniques without knowing graphic design. But a basic knowledge of how product visuals work is necessary.

Is Visual Design the Same as Graphic Design?

Although the two fields are somewhat interconnected, there is a main difference between them, and they are not the same thing. Graphic design’s objective is the visual communication of a specific message through design elements, whereas visual design focuses on crafting a unified digital image content.