Graphic Design vs Digital Design

23 December 2016Written by AIT Crew

What’s the difference between a Digital Designer and Graphic Designer? It’s a question we’re often asked, and delighted to explain. While the fundamental skills and concepts of design are applied within each discipline, sometimes overlapping, traditional graphic designers often lack the digital skills required for jobs that include UX and UI.

Graphic Designers learn how to use Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign, with a focus on pre-print production, typography, the design of logos, brochures, posters and images used in web design. They may also be responsible for designing collateral such as brochures, product design, advertising, and merchandise.

A Digital Designer will have the ability to also undertake these tasks and more. This is going to seem obvious now, but Digital Designers are also more… digital. They work on website design, mobile apps, and other online content for a range of industries. Some digital designers will also pick up skills in 3D modelling or 2D animation to further their opportunities and capabilities.

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Digital Designers will also have the skills to create landing pages, develop email marketing collateral, banners and other online marketing materials, and importantly, also work in languages such as HTML5, CSS3 & JavaScript.

Why are there more jobs for Digital Designers than Graphic Designers?

The short answer is that we’ve cemented ourselves as a digital society with high expectations of well-designed and functional content for the end user. The longer answer is that designing for digital is only a new phenomenon in the past two decades with consumer demand growing tremendously over the past few years.

Consuming content is becoming easier as the price of data lowers, Wi-Fi infrastructure and battery life increases, and design makes on-the-go consumption easier to navigate. There’s no sign of slowing down! Designers will need to meet the challenges of new technology coming into play such as virtual reality, more tech within the internet of things (IoT), and more savvy audiences.

What are my job prospects with Digital Design?

So, we jumped on to find out the cold hard facts that you can use when considering your future in design. In Australia, there were approximately 720 jobs for Digital Designers and 470 jobs for Graphic Designers in the past month.

Interestingly, most jobs we examined for Graphic Designers also included a requirement for skills in Digital Design. On average, Digital Designers are earning 15-20K more per year and higher! There’s also additional room for professional growth with the opportunity to specialise in areas such as User Experience, Front End Development, Web and/or Email Design.

Wait, go back. What is User Experience or UX/UI?

As online platforms and content become more complex there is still a fundamental question that Digital Designers need to ask, ‘Will the user be able to navigate and understand what they’re viewing’, in other words, is it easy to use? A Digital Designer’s role is to ensure that the unequivocal answer is, yes!

User Experience / User Interface is otherwise known in shorthand, UX/UI. Usability takes many factors into consideration including the accessibility, utility, human factors, design and system performance. For example, a Digital Designer will use UX/UI factors in an e-commerce system looking at the processes for a checkout. Was the experience for the user easy and were they able to successfully navigate their way to making a purchase in as little time, effort and knowledge as possible?

What else is ‘important to know’ about becoming a Digital Designer?

We checked with Sharon Sanders, Coordinator of Bachelor of Digital Design for her thoughts on what makes a good digital designer. “You’ll need to become proficient at communicating your ideas and expressing your vision through digital technology which will give you that much-needed edge when applying for work in the highly competitive but fascinating world of digital design.”

Imagine a creative college where you can pursue your dreams in 2D animation, 3D animation, film, game design, IT or mobile app development.

Find out more about AIT and our courses by visiting our connect page and choosing your own adventure. Talk to someone about your study options, book a campus tour and have a look around, chat with a current AIT student or get started on your application.

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