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  • Writer's pictureZeynep Burcu Yenipınar

Digital Design vs. Graphic Design - How do They Differ?

Unless you’re a professional designer, it’s hard to distinguish between what digital design is vs. what graphic design entitles itself to. We, in general, tend to use these terms interchangeably and it causes the definitions to blur up, and then we’re lost in translation.

I wanted to clearly define both of these terms for you and what they’re used for so that we all understand and have a piece of mind when it comes to knowing exactly what we need.

What’s Graphic Design? The graphic design discipline has been around much longer than digital design since everything only started fully getting digitalized a few years ago. Graphic designers started working in print such as books, newspapers, physical magazines, leaflets, brochures, images, etc. With the rise of the internet in the 1990s called for graphic designers to adapt to a new era. Web design became an important part of designing and a crucial skill to know. In this case, graphic designers started working on web and logo designs as one of their services. It was easy for them to adapt because they already have been doing different types of designs, they just had to bring them to a different medium. Now, let’s talk about the definition of Digital Design…

Digital Design definition: While graphic design is mostly about static designs, digital design revolves around moving designs. A few examples would be animations, interactive pages, 3D models, etc. The main difference here is a digital designer creates images to fit into a screen; a phone, a laptop, a dashboard, or anything in other digital formats. Digital designs also include audio and sound effects unlike static designs in graphic designing. In both digital and graphic design, designers create some form of visual communication, which are related to a specific idea, image, or branding. Both designers' common goal here is to transfer the information, message, feeling, and ideas to the audiences via imagery. Because 70% of people are visual learners, visuals help people bond with their emotions and turn into customer loyalty and brand advocacy in the long run. Let’s look at some deliverables that both graphic and digital design can give us.

Since graphic design focuses on static designs, graphic designers can design business cards, magazine visuals, logos, letterheads, brochures, and leaflets.

On the contrary, the digital design focuses on movement so, digital designers can create banner ads, UX wireframes, movies, animations, and interactive elements.

All in all, hope this article helps you understand the major difference and also the commonalities between graphic design and digital design. Now we know when to hire a graphic designer vs. a digital designer.

Even if you’re a graphic designer, it’s always good to add some digital design skills to your resume because the world we live in is constantly getting digitized so, at the end of the day, everyone is going to need a designer’s expertise at some point.

Let us know what you think :)


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