Web Design vs. Graphic Design, What’s the Difference?

Trista liu
4 min readNov 15, 2017


Before I get into the design industry, I have misread the concept of designers. They are fashion with good look and distinctive personality. Most important, they get a high salary and working in a free atmosphere and creative environment. Flexible hours and well paid. That’s the dreaming working state. Till now, after learning the concepts of design, I finally understand the differences among the terms, such web design vs. graphic design, and UX vs UI vs IA vs IxD, as well as Flat Design vs. Material Design. Each term has its own definition, but from the perspective of design, they have the cross-section.

Web design VS. Graphic design, the two terms look like an irrelevant group, indeed the confusion often occurs between them. Generally, the layman always calls web designers and graphic designers as “art designer”. Because all their work are misunderstood by the involvement of art skill and creative ability. Besides, they must be familiar with some essential design tools, and they can do the jobs related to web design or graphic design. This actually is based on a confusion about the design industry.

What is Web Design?

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardized code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all.

What is the concept of Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, photography, and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used synonymously.

Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images, and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to create visual compositions.

What’s the role difference between web designer vs. graphic designer?

Web designer:

1. See the art as a way to leverage technology

2. Have a mutual interaction with their audience

3. More technical (i.e., coding and programming)

4. Employ an engineering approach to their designs

5. Must predict how a design will make its audience feel and react

6. Need to know how to design for versatile mediums (i.e, laptop, tablet, smartphone)

7. Can develop and enhance their work over time

8. Can catch the web design trend predictions

In a sentence, web designers are the person who can design and produce websites, they are both professional designers, but also the development engineers of the static site. Their work covers the introduction of web content, the placement of buttons, the combination of words, the application of color, the use of guidance and so on.

Required skills: JavaScript, Jquery, PHP, web application development, UI design

Web Design Tool: Mockplus — website prototyping tool, Adobe Dreamweaver — website editing tool

Graphic designer:

1. Put the art first

2. Have a one-way relationship with their audience

3. More artistic (i.e., sketch with a pen and paper)

4. Emphasize visual theory in their designs

5. Must focus on how a design communicates a message to its audience

6. Need to know how each element of a design translates to print

7. Have one shot to get a design right once it’s printed

What the graphic designers are more focused on the use of font layout, visual art, page (page layout) and other aspects of professional skills to achieve the purpose of creative planning.

Required Skills: Adobe Creative Suite, typesetting, concept development, marketing material

Graphic Design Tool: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW

Web design vs. graphic design, which career is right for you?

An education break-down survey shows that the bachelor’s degree of the web designer is 75%, and the graphic designer is 70%. From the payroll point of view, the page designer’s annual salary of up to $ 75,660, while the graphic designer’s annual salary is $ 43,500.

Anyhow, the career choose of web design vs. graphic design, you can confidently determine the field in which you’ll excel according to the introduction above.

also read:

UX Is Not UI: What Is the Difference between UX and UI Design?

Justinmind vs. Axure vs. Mockplus, The Best Prototyping Tools Out There?



Trista liu

Product designer from China