The Difference Between Web & Graphic Design

What's The Difference between Graphic Design & Web Design?

Graphic design is the process of communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration across a wide range of different mediums. Web design is the process of creating websites specifically for desktop computers and mobile devices. It’s a newer field than graphic design, which means fewer established rules exist.

Where Graphic design is less forgiving with alterations and amendments, once a design is finished and sent to print it cannot be changed. With website design it is a much more fluid process, design can always be tweaked and improved upon.

Can Graphic Designers Design Websites?

Yes, graphic designers can design websites. However, web design is a separate field from graphic design and requires specific knowledge and skills to create effective websites. Graphic designers may have some of the necessary skills, but they would need to learn additional technologies and techniques to become successful web designers.

The two are similar but distinct fields that require very different sets of skills to be successful. Many web designers do have a background in graphic design, but not all graphic designers make good web designers. It depends on the person’s strengths and interests, I started my career in designing websites, but over the years I have also designed various logos, business cards, flyers, and brochures (usually as part of a larger company branding exercise). Usually, I work with external graphic designers to help with more complex design projects, A company which I would recommend would be Katerpillar Graphic Design in Mansfield.

7 distinct ways web design and graphic design differ

Web design and graphic design are two terms that are frequently confused with one another. Both need a solid understanding of typography, design, and aesthetic principles. However, whilst web and graphic design are two distinct disciplines with specialised areas of expertise, there are some key ways in which they differ:

1: Website design is more dynamic and can change

Graphic design has its roots in print. Printed materials, particularly magazines and children’s books, tend to be less interactive than their digital counterparts. However, they still rely on an artistic arrangement of images, text, and other graphics to tell a narrative or convey a message. Graphic design once sent to print cannot be changed and is “set in stone”, changing design work once it has been printed is near impossible, the work will have to be amended and reprinted should there be any mistakes with the design, which can become quite costly. This means that it is highly important to proof any graphic design work thoroughly before it is signed off.

Web Design has many of the same roots as Graphic Design, but the actual design of a website can be changed relatively easily and cheaply, in-fact the best websites are constantly updating their design and User Interface.

2: Website Design Is More Technical

A good website design should not only look good but also be easy to use and navigate. This can be accomplished by paying attention to the user experience (UX) and using the latest web technologies. Good web designers need to have a strong understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In some cases, they may also need to know how to use server-side scripting languages, such as PHP, ASP, or Python.

Website design pays close attention to the devices from which a user interacts with the website, whether that is a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop/laptop. Each device has specific technical requirements and these should always be considered when building a website.

Graphic design can also be technical, but rather than focusing on devices or coding is more closely associated with the different print mediums, posters, flyers, brochures, billboards, vehicle wraps, etc… Each graphic design medium also has its specific requirements.

3: Web Design Is Measurable

Websites should change over time and adapt to how users interact with their pages, data-driven design changes are much easier with websites as everything is measurable. Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring how users interact with your website, it provides a huge amount of data that can help website designers to make amendments to their designs to improve the performance of the websites with regards to lead generation or in the case of eCommerce, sales.

Web designers can monitor specific KPI’s and adapt their work accordingly, this in itself is a discipline of web design called Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO.

4: Web Design Can Be Limited By Technologies

One of the main limitations of web design is that it needs to be accessible to a wide range of devices and technologies. This means that designers need to use web-friendly fonts, graphics, and layouts that will work across a range of browsers and devices. They also need to be aware of the latest web technologies and how they can be used to create a better user experience.

Graphic design is not limited in the same way as web design. Graphic designers can use any type of font, graphic, or layout they want without worrying about whether it will work on different devices or browsers.

Site load speed is a huge factor for web designers to consider. A slow-loading website can be frustrating for users and can cause them to leave the site. In addition, Google uses site load speed as a ranking factor for its search results. This means that a slow-loading website can hurt a company’s search engine optimisation (SEO). Designers should consider this as a priority and ensure that the images they use are optimised for site speed.

I wrote a blog post that provides tips on how to improve your website load speeds.

5: Web Design Requires More Maintenance

By its nature, once a Graphic Design piece is finished that’s the end of the process, However, once a website is designed and built, it needs to be maintained. This includes tasks such as adding new content, updating existing content, fixing broken links, and more. Website maintenance can be time-consuming and expensive, but it is a necessary part of owning a website.

6: Graphic Design Is More Artistic

The main difference between graphic design and web design is that graphic design is more concerned with the artistic side of things, while web design is more technical. Graphic designers need to have a good eye for aesthetics and be able to create visually appealing designs.

7: Different Software Is Needed

Graphic designers and Web designers rely on software to create their designs, with Graphic design the most common software is Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign. Illustrator and Photoshop are used to produce the artwork whereas InDesign is more of a Layout & Publishing tool.

Website designers tend to only stick with Adobe Photoshop to produce the initial design or interface for their websites. This is then transferred into code using HTML & CSS.

More commonly, web designers are adopting the use of Content Management Systems such as WordPress to put their sites together. I use WordPress coupled with Elementor which is a visual page builder to create my client’s websites.

It is becoming less and less common to find a website designer who will hand-code their websites these days.


The main difference between graphic design and web design is that while graphic designers focus on the aesthetics of a design, web designers need to worry about the more technical aspects of how well their websites will work across different devices and browsers. Graphic designers are not limited by these same constraints, meaning they can use any font or layout they want without having to worry about compatibility issues.

Both types of design require different skill sets, and whilst they may be able to interchange between the two, designers tend to specialise in one discipline or the other. If you want a website creation go to a web designer, if you want print design contact a Graphic Designer. have on your rankings and organic traffic.