UX Designer Vs. Graphic Designer: What’s The Difference?

More than ever, it seems the design is at the top of the world. And that’s because people want to interact with things that look good to make them feel good about themselves. User experience (UX) design and graphic design rules when it comes to design.

UX design and graphic design are two design-centric job titles that sound similar but are different. They perform distinct tasks and use different skill sets. Graphic designers focus on visual elements, while UX designers focus on the complete interaction between users and products. 

This post will take you through the differences between UX designers and graphic designers and help you choose the right choice for you. 

Let’s dive in! 

Graphic design vs UX design
Image credits: formspal.com 

What are the user experience (UX) and graphic design?

UX design and graphic design are creative fields that work differently. Graphic designers are regarded as more artistic, whereas UX designers strive to provide what people want. Design contests can offer the best of the two, with glaring differences, to help you understand their differences better.

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To enable you to understand how each works and what is the best design tool for your business, we’ve defined each of the designs below:

  • Graphic design: This is a design type where the designers use shapes, color, fonts, and images to create visual content for digital and print media. Here, designs act as static, non-interactive layouts, including product packaging, logos, brochures, signage, ads, etc., used to communicate with prospects and customers. The core roles of a graphic designer can be broken down to include user research, prototyping, sketches, wireframes, user testing, and design refinement.
  • UX design: This design process focuses on creating a system that offers a great experience to its users. UX designers aim to improve the interaction between a user and a product, including how the experience makes them feel. In addition to the visual aspects, UX design also includes information about architecture and product prototyping. 

Another prominent role in the design process is the user interface (UI) design that focuses on creating a website’s look. UI designers design the user interface from the user’s point of view – they polish the design.

UX design, web design

What’s the difference between a UX designer and a Graphic designer?

To most people’s dismay, graphic design and UX design are inherently different. However, firms have been tasking their graphic designers with the roles of UX designers. They expect them to do everything from developing concepts to building finished, polished sketches. However, as seen from the definitions above, these two roles are different and involve different skill sets. 

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Here are more differences between a graphic designer and a UX designer: 

Graphic designer

UX designer

Brand centric 


Focus on designing visual elements

Focus on designing interactions 

Specialized role

Multidisciplinary role

Can have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design

Can have a bachelor’s degree in design, computer science, computer interaction, etc.

Skills include color theory, creativity, computer-aided design, typography, etc.

Skills include user research, empathy, prototyping, information architecture, etc.

Use such tools as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Pixlr, Procreate, etc.

Use such tools as Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch, and Balsamiq

Earns about $73,504 per year

Earns about $92,174 per year

Let’s go through these differences in detail:

Type and focus of the design 

Graphic designers focus on visual elements, while UX designers deal with interactions. To accomplish their role, graphic designers need design-related skills, including typography, creativity, color theory, and computer-aided design. On the other hand, a UX designer needs to have a multidisciplinary set of skills, including design, user research, wireframing, prototyping, and information architecture. 

Graphic designers use visual elements to communicate brand messages and focus on staying true to brand identity. On the other hand, UX designers act as user advocates, ensuring that a product meets user needs in an enjoyable, intuitive, and accessible way. 

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Task and responsibilities

Graphic and UX designers often spend their time accomplishing different elements of the product development process. 

Graphic design colors

Here are the main roles of a graphic designer:

  • Creating logos, illustrations, and images
  • Collaborating with art directors and clients
  • Choosing fonts, images, and colors for layouts
  • Using photo editing software and digital illustrations tools

On the other hand, a UX designer’s roles include: 

  • Creating user journey maps and user personas
  • Conducting user research to determine user needs, behaviors, goals, and pain points
  • Working with product designers, UI designers, developers, and stakeholders
  • Designing wireframes, site maps, and prototypes
  • Validating designs via user testing and iterating with new features

Tools and software

Graphic and UX designers use different software and tools to complete their tasks. For instance, graphic designers may need a computer, pen, paper, a tablet, and a stylus. And although the specific software will differ based on the design needs, designer preferences, and company requirements, many designers use graphic vector editors, photo editing software, illustration apps, layout editing tools, etc.  

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On the other hand, UX designers may use different tools for different tasks. High- and low-fidelity prototyping tools include wireframing, usability testing, flowcharting, and questionnaires and surveys. The widely used UX design tools include Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch, and Balsamiq.

Graphic design colors

Educational requirement 

Graphical and UX designers may have varying educational backgrounds. Graphic designers mostly have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. 

On their part, UX designers have a bachelor’s degree in human-computer interaction, computer science, design, or psychology. Some institutions also offer UX-design focused training, including:

  • Digital technologies
  • Communication design
  • Interaction design
  • Multimedia design
  • Product design

If you’re an experienced graphic designer, there are compelling reasons to consider shifting into UX design. The UX design field is expected to grow by 27% in 2022. So, how do you switch from graphic design to UX design?

The good news is that many visual design skills used in graphic design will come in handy when you transition to UX design. To become a competent UX designer, build user research, information architecture, and testing and iteration skills.

UX Design paper prototyping

Which type of design is right for me?

As technology grows, the need for graphic designers and UX designers continues to grow. And while UX designers tend to earn higher salaries, graphic design is equally well-paying and has a place in the future digital world. So, the best career comes down to what you’re passionate about. 

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The bottom line

Graphic designers and UX designers are different designers, with UX coming first in the design process. UX designers will focus on determining how a product works before going live. On the other hand, graphic designers create designs that appeal to customers or prospects. They play a key role in marketing campaigns. 

This post outlines the differences between UX designers and graphic designers. Good luck as you purpose to use it to make the right career choice. 

UX Author

Mimosa Ryan


Mimosa is an experienced copywriter that’s passionate and able to quickly adapt to any client’s needs and branding style. She has skills in SEO copywriting, editing, content curation, and more. Able to capture the voice, tone, and style of any brand and bring it to life through words. She writes for multiple online platforms, companies, and websites, and is proud to call New England home.

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*all images from Unsplash.com


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