Generall, the word "design" often refers to graphic design when we said it. In the digital world we now live in, the definition for it has greatly evolved. It is now not only about graphic design but also about UI and UX design. UX design is about the logic and structure of the elements on a website, UI design is all about the graphical layout of an application, while graphic design is more about using visual concepts to communicate brand ideas.

In this post, we will clearly explain what UX, UI and graphic design are and what sets them apart from each other to help you build a better understanding..

What is UX design?

UX design

UX design refers to user experience design, which focuses on the logic and structure of the elements you actually see and interact with on a website. It is the process that product design teams use tools like Axure, Mockplus, or UXPin to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to customers. UX design involves the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including all the aspects of branding, design, usability and function. It considers each and every element that shapes user experience, how it makes the user feel, and how efficient and easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired tasks. The ultimate goal of UX design is to create an easy, smooth, intuitive and all-around pleasant experience for the user. Using an online proofing tool will ensure that everyone who works on the project is aligned on how the user experience should flow.

What is UI design?

UI design

The UI design refers to the term "user interface design". It is all about the graphical layout of an application. UI design is the process design teams use to build interfaces with design tools like Sketch, Adobe XD or other software, focusing on the looks or style, which includes screen layout, transitions, interface animations and every single micro-interaction. To make the interface more visually appealing to the users, any sort of visual element, interaction, or animation must all be well designed by UI designers. In a word, the ultimate goal of UI design is to create interfaces which users find easy to use and pleasurable.

What is graphic design?

Graphic design

Graphic design is a very broad term. While UX or UI design focuses on the user experience or digital interface design for websites and apps, graphic design is more about physical things like advertisements, packaging, and books. It is the process of planning and creating visual content to communicate ideas and messages for brands. Graphic designers need to bring visual concepts to life and inform or engage consumers through text, graphics and images. For the brands or companies who want to connect with consumers their target audience, graphic design is the perfect solution. The ultimate goal of graphic design is to promote and sell products,convey a message, or develop a brand identity.

The differences among UX, UI and graphic design

UX design vs UI design

UI design focuses on the technical components that allow users to interact with websites and mobile apps. UX design emphasizes the user's overall perception of their experience with websites and mobile apps.

The differences between UX and UI design

The key differences between UX and UI design are as follows:

  • UI design is about how a website, mobile app, or software product will look and feel, while UX design is more about how the product will solve problems or pain points for the user.

  • UI design involves what’s happening on a digital screen, while UX design goes beyond the screen and includes all brand touchpoints and interactions with target users.

  • UI design attaches importance to software performance, while UX design dives into the customer journey.

  • UI design puts heavy emphasis on on-screen elements about the product’s interface, while UX design is work about interactive prototyping, user testing, market research, and development.

UI design vs graphic design

Some say that graphic design is like art, because it is all about picking colors, choosing images,  designing logos, and doing other very visual tasks. As for UI design, it is more like science, because it is about how users will engage and interact with digital products.

The differences between graphic and UI design

The key differences between UX and UI design are as follows:

  • UI design is about designing print materials, sites and other publications that help to create a positive user experience; while graphic design is about designing elements that best represent the company.

  • UI design is often about working on projects such as website landing pages, blogs, mobile apps and e-commerce sites, while graphic design is about working on projects such as brochures, posters, social media posts, product labels or book covers.

  • UI design aims to provide an attractive and responsive experience for the users of the product, while graphic design is more about the visual aspect of the experience.

UX design vs graphic design

UX design and graphic design are quite different because they perform distinctly different tasks using skillsets within the product development process. UX design prioritizes the complete interaction between the product and user, while graphic design focuses majorly on visual elements.

The differences between graphic and UX design

The key differences between UX and graphic design are as follows:

  • UX design is about using colour, images, shapes, and fonts to create visual content for print or digital media, while graphic design is about interaction design and goes beyond the visual to include product prototyping and information architecture.

  • UX design is user-centric to make sure the products bring great experience for the user, while graphic design is brand-centric to communicate a brand message.

  • The graphic design delivers logos and images to help brands stand out, while UX designers typically deliver wireframes, prototypes, site maps, flows, and other UX artifacts to the UI team.

Which type of design is right for you?

After learning all the definitions and differences, you may be interested in more than one type of design. If you want to be any type of designer, what skills do you need?

Here goes the answer.

  • For UX design, you need to identify user needs, goals, behaviors, and pain points through user research, create wireframes, site maps, and prototypes, and also collaborate with product designers, developers, UI designers, and stakeholders to get your design completed.

  • For UI design, you need to do customer analysis, make a UI prototype and its interactions and animation, and also make the design adaptive to all device screen sizes and implement it with the developer.

  • For graphic design, you need to collaborate with clients and art directors, create logos, images, and illustrations, and use digital illustration tools and photo editing software.

Which type of design is right for you?

Need a degree to become an UI/UX/Graphic designer?

Speaking of the educational requirements, there are not many established degree programs in UI/UX specifically. You do not need to get a degree in a specific field to become a UI or UX Designer. Most employers prefer to choose a candidate that has a background in design and demonstrates the requisite skills for the job. But for graphic design, it often requires a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field.

Which career path should I choose?

If you are the kind of designer who is visually oriented and could spend hours manipulating color palettes and fonts to make a graphic look just right, you can choose to do graphic design work. If you are more interested in investigating a problem through research and data or making the digital interface more visually appealing to the users, you can choose to do UX or UI design work. However, the job market for graphic design is shrinking because it is more technology-focused. At the same time, as the demand for digital products increases so does the need for good UX/UI designers.

In a word, if you are passionate about creativity and technology, you can choose a design career. But which type of design is right for you will depend on your unique skills and interests.

Wrap up

After running through all the detailed information about UX, UI, and graphic design, you must have got a better understanding of all of them. Although they are all called "design", the main point that sets them apart from each other is that they are at the different phases of a whole design process. Graphic design always comes first, because it is about communicating the brand message, then comes UX design, which is more about some wireframing or prototype work to shape user experience, and last comes UI design, which is about making the wireframes or prototypes from UX designers more visually appealing and making the design easy to use and pleasurable.