A graphic designer and a web designer, although they share theoretical bases, have nothing to do with
Graphic design consists of the use of visual communication to transmit specific messages to a specific group with a specific objective. Graphic designers create this visual communication through the use and combination of graphics, typography, illustrations and images in order to communicate an idea. Therefore, they must master color theory, visual hierarchy, visual composition and the use of typography.
The use of technology has meant a qualitative leap in the life of graphic designers who have at their disposal powerful digital editing programs such as the Adobe package, which is the most popular with its triad Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Technology has opened up new options for graphic design that evolves from paper to other media such as digital. And this is where web design comes in.
Web design consists, as its name indicates, in the design of web pages. It is important to detail the word design and not creation. If in graphic design the figures of the layout designer and the printer appear as figures that end up turning the visual design created by the designer into a poster or a book; in web design these figures become the web layout designer or web programmer who are essential to convert the web design into a web page itself. The web design ends in the visual creation of what the web page will be, turning it into a web page corresponds to the web layout designers and web programmers.
Web design is based on graphic design and must have the same technical and theoretical knowledge. However, there is a key difference: the support, which in this case works directly on the screen. It seems like a minor issue, but it has a huge impact on the conceptualization and application of design, which is why we consider web design as a discipline in itself.
As we have already said, web designers - like graphic designers - also need to master the fundamentals of design. They must master the use of typography, color and hierarchy and both types of designers must be up to date with new trends in the design world.
On a technical level, graphic designers and web designers often use the same design programs or software, however, the web designer must be familiar with programming languages, SEO concept, web usability and web architecture. All this implies limitations to the web design, technical limitations or restrictions that go from the loading time to the necessary requirements to be able to carry out, subsequently a good web positioning.
Paper vs screen
If graphic design is explained on multiple supports (paper, metal, etc.), web design works with a single support: the screen. However, although the graphic designer's supports are multiple, they always have a delimited surface, but in the case of the web designer, this support is unique, but highly variable. An example: when a graphic designer designs a poster, knows that the dimensions of the poster will always be the same and can work “to the pixel”. On the contrary, a web designer never knows on which screen his web design is going to be displayed: on a mobile screen? on a tablet screen? on a PC screen? And at what resolution?... This is what is called working on a fluid support (also referred as flexible or liquid). The use of responsive or fluid web design has made life much easier for designers, who can create a design that adapts to devices and screens naturally.
Web design is dynamic, graphic design is static
One of the great virtues of web design is that it is based on interaction, we interact with buttons, use search engines, navigate through various web pages, drag elements, display menus, use motion graphics and videos on the same web page. Graphic design is less interactive, you can look at it, but it doesn't change when you interact with it.
All this leads us to the concept of web usability that will deeply condition a web design. We must previously study the user experience and how to place the graphic elements to facilitate intuitive navigation through the website.
The use of typography
Fortunately, the days of having to work with system fonts are long gone and nowadays almost all fonts can be used in web design, in fact, there are even libraries such as Google Fonts designed for web use. That said, each browser renders differently the same font, and we can’t get a font on the same web page looks exactly the same in all browsers.
It is important to emphasize that a web designer has the technical knowledge and the theoretical basis of a graphic designer as a starting point to then delve into the more specific techniques to web design. It is therefore always advisable that a website is designed by a web designer who, apart from communication, understands the variety of technical issues (loading speed, web architecture, SEO, usability, etc) that have a direct impact on the design of the website.