When I first started pursuing Web Design, I didn’t know the difference between Graphic Design and Web Design. It didn’t take me long to realize that they are different roles and they both serve there own unique purpose.
What is Graphic Design?
Graphic Design involves creating graphics, typography, and images to present an idea. Most of the time you will find Graphic Design in the print industry, but they are also found in web projects as well. Graphic Designers create digital graphics, which then are turned into brochures, posters, or whatever branding materials are required of them. Graphic Designers do not do any programming. They are responsible for making graphics which can later be used for published print work or even websites.
What is a Web Design?
Web Design involves creating graphics, typography, and images just like Graphic Design, but we use the World Wide Web. A web designer has restrictions on what they can do. Websites need to load fast and run efficiently. We have to account for things like file size, screen resolution, along with overall speed and performance. Because of this, Web Designers often use compressed graphics that sacrifice quality for speed. Unlike Graphic Designers, Web Designers also must be able to turn their designs into a working website. This involves knowing HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and most of the time Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
The Difference is the Medium
The main difference between graphic designers and web designers is the medium. Individuals in the Graphic Design field often have more freedom because they are not restricted by programming, resolution or speed. Web Design professionals have to balance good design with speed and efficiency for the web. There are some professionals out there that can do both of these positions as one, but it is rare that they are masterful since they tend to have more strengths in one or the other.
Not Always Eye to Eye
As with any industry, conflicts can arise between professionals in the Graphic Design world and the Web Design world. For example, a Graphic Design professional may think that a Web Design professional’s work is at a lower quality than print work. On the flip side, Web Design professionals often get upset with Graphic Design professionals because they do not understand the web. It is one of those fundamental differences that will (probably) always exist since neither side really understands each other.
What makes it even more confusing is that most people don’t understand the differences between the roles. Often times, a web project will ask for a Graphic Designer but they really should have gone with a Web Designer in order to make a professional and efficient website. As the future of technology progresses, this conflict may eventually cease to exist. If web design gets less restrictive then they will be able to have more freedom to create. As HTML editors become better at making efficient websites, it will be easier for graphic designers to use the World Wide Web to present their idea.