Type the word design into Google or a freelance website, and you’ll find thousands of results.
That’s not always a great starting point when you need design work because it’s pretty overwhelming, and your first thought is probably: what exactly do I need?
You’ll find two phrases repeatedly pop up: graphic design and web design. Are they one and the same?
Let’s answer that question by looking at web design vs. graphic design and what that means for your business.
Web design, as the name implies, is about designing the look of websites. It encompasses a broad spectrum of tasks.
That includes deciding on the structural layout, the content for the site, and the look and feel. It’s a skilled job because it’s the most crucial way you shape a user’s experience.
It’s a user’s first impression when they land on your website. So, this design could impact many aspects of your business. That will include traffic levels, conversion rates, your brand image, and more.
Web design often takes a combination of creative flair and web usability knowledge. It also demands a technical understanding of websites.
The latter is important because what a designer creates must be technically feasible for the development team to build.
Graphics design extends beyond websites. It’s more about the branding. That can include visual elements for a website (like icons), ad graphics, typography, or the company logo.
It’s about creating a visual identity for a company that helps that business stand out and communicate its message to the world.
Suppose a company wants to present itself as strong on sustainability. In that case, you’d need to convey that via graphics design.
When designers work on graphics, they will also consider how the image will look away from the website to ensure it works on any medium, even printed material like corporate brochures.
Let’s now look more closely at the difference between the two. Here’s how graphics and web design compare and their role in your business.
If you are building a business from scratch, you’ll need graphics design before you start your web design. Graphics are the foundation for your business branding, influencing your website’s look and feel.
However, suppose you have an existing business and brand but need a new website. In that case, you might be able to do that without any graphics design, provided you have some written brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines outline the rules about your business design, such as the font type and color scheme. You’ll need graphics design for imagery beyond your website, such as graphics for a new Facebook ad.
Graphics design tends to fall into two different services. The first is business branding. That’s usually an all-encompassing work to create a brand from scratch (or rebrand your business).
It includes logos, icons, colors, and other aspects that will form part of your graphics design.
Once you have that, other graphics design work is often a stand-alone service. For example, you might need a graphic for your social media header.
In contrast, web design is more closely linked to your website’s technical build and is intertwined. A web designer will need to understand how their static design impacts the technical construction of your website.
For example, they must ensure a button’s design and placement are technically feasible. Web design will also have close ties to website user experience design.
The design must look beautiful, but, most importantly, it should be intuitive for the end-to-end user journey.
So, a web design team will often mock up a skeleton framework for the layout and functions before focusing on the look and feel.
You might hire web design services to create a brand-new online presence. Those services may include some graphic design elements.
You will also use a web design service if you want a complete web redesign for an existing site. For example, changing the site’s layout to make it more usable.
Some businesses need web design because they want to expand their website. For example, perhaps you have an established brochure-style website but want to add a shop.
You will need web design to help you create the ecommerce elements and ensure they align with your existing site.
If you use a CMS like WordPress or Wix, you may still want to hire a web designer to customize any website template. That can help make your website more branded and help you avoid a generic-looking finish.
You’ll most likely need graphics design for a new brand or rebranding exercise. And that’s where it ties in with web design.
Suppose you have a brand new startup. The first thing you’ll need is a brand and a logo. Once you have that, you can design your website using that branding to achieve the same look and feel.
The other time you’ll use graphics design is to create design assets for your business.
For example, that might be a thumbnail version of your logo that you can use for your social media profile. Or you might want graphics for an infographic you want to produce for your website.
If you want to launch a new ad campaign, you’ll need graphics design assets. Some businesses like to create unique branded graphics for a single social media marketing campaign to help it stand out.
For example, businesses often use unique headers and color schemes for promotions like Black Friday or Valentine’s Day.
If you haven’t used design services before, it’s understandable to imagine that web design vs. graphics design is interchangeable.
In reality, that’s far from the case. If you have a website to build, you need specialist web design services to help you achieve that professional finish. You can start that journey now by reaching out to our team.
The SMB Hub has experts with a passion for great design and can help turn your website vision into a reality. To find out more, get in contact with one of our marketing professionals.
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