The Calculated Creative

Graphic Design vs. UI UX

Graphic design focuses on aesthetics while UI/UX focuses on function. Together they create interfaces that look amazing and work seamlessly.

Graphic design and UI/UX design play complementary roles in crafting digital products and services.

While they overlap in some capacities, the two disciplines have distinct areas of focus and specialization.

Understanding the core differences between graphic design and UI/UX design helps delineate how the two work together.

To create engaging and effective user experiences.

This article will compare graphic design versus UI/UX design across factors like goals, process, skills, and deliverables.

Graphic Design

Graphic design concentrates on visual communication and aesthetics.

Goals include establishing brand identity across assets, generating visually compelling marketing materials, and designing for print.

Common deliverables are logos, brand guidelines, ads, brochures, posters, packaging, and more.

Graphic designers manipulate visual elements like color, typography, imagery, shapes, layouts, and compositions to achieve the intended look and feel.

Graphic designers utilize principles of visual hierarchy to create clear focal points and logical layouts that effectively communicate messages.

They apply color theory to choose colors that align with branding goals and evoke the desired mood.

Typography skills allow choosing typefaces, sizes, and styles tailored to the content and medium.

Imagery skills include illustration, photography, and editing to develop relevant visuals.

Composition skills help arrange elements for aesthetics, white space, and information hierarchy.

Graphic designers employ tools like Adobe Creative Cloud to produce images, illustrations, page layouts, and more.

Skills emphasize creativity, visual hierarchies, color theory, typography, illustration, photography, and composition.

Graphic designers specialize in aesthetically appealing visuals aligned to a brand's style and identity.

Their work promotes brands through print and digital mediums.

UI/UX Design

UI/UX design centers on crafting interfaces and experiences optimized for user interactions.

Goals include usability, accessibility, findability, and desirability.

Common deliverables are wireframes, prototypes, interface designs, user flows, journey maps, and more.

UI/UX designers prioritize understanding user behaviors, needs, motivations, and goals to optimize interactions and satisfaction.

UI/UX designers conduct user research through methods like interviews, surveys, analytics, and usability testing.

These insights inform information architecture to logically organize content and navigation.

Interaction design principles guide creating intuitive controls, components, and flows.

Iterating based on usability testing and feedback is critical.

UI/UX designers use tools like Sketch, Figma, and InVision to rapidly create and test interfaces and flows.

Skills emphasize user research, information architecture, interaction design, usability testing, and iterating.

UI/UX designers specialize in facilitating intuitive interactions that efficiently accomplish user goals.

Their work centers on user thinking, feelings, and behaviors.

Key Differences Between Graphic Design and UI/UX Design

Focus: Graphic design focuses on aesthetics and visuals. UI/UX design focuses on user interactions and experiences.

Goals: Graphic design aims to establish brand identity and market products/services. UI/UX design aims to optimize usability and user satisfaction.

Process: Graphic design is more artistic and abstract. UI/UX design is more scientific and user research-driven.


  • Graphic design - logos, advertisements, marketing materials, etc.
  • UI/UX design - wireframes, prototypes, user flows, etc.


  • Graphic design uses tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign.
  • UI/UX design uses tools like Sketch, Figma, InVision.


  • Graphic design emphasizes aesthetics, typography, color theory, composition.
  • UI/UX design emphasizes user research, information architecture, interaction design.

The Takeaway

Graphic design and UI/UX design bring unique strengths to the table.

Graphic design offers the abilities to enhance visual branding and appeal through principles like color, typography, and composition.

UI/UX design provides the skills to optimize usability and accessibly through user research, information architecture, and interaction design.

While graphic design focuses more on aesthetics.

UI/UX focuses more on function.

But the two work hand-in-hand to create interfaces that look amazing and work seamlessly.

With open communication and collaboration, graphic designers and UI/UX designers can deliver exceptional products that blend cohesive branding.

And create interactions tailored to how users think, feel, and behave.

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