Digital Design vs. Graphic Design

Designing is a valuable skill, and good designers must have excellent creativity and drawing skills. Nowadays, designers no longer work with posters and paper.

The design industry has shifted to digital tools. There are various digital software and tools to assist you. So, what are the differences between digital design and graphic design?

If you are still confused between these two jobs, don’t skip this post. I will concentrate on their core features to give you the answer.

Graphic Design Overview

A graphic designer helps convey ideas to an audience. You do it by using graphic tools like images and posters. Your job focuses on using visual elements to communicate with the viewers.

Most projects created in this field are print work. Some examples are books, flyers, magazines, and brochures.

The message you convey must carry a commercial purpose. For example, a company hires you to design a poster about its products. Your poster must be appealing so viewers are attracted to the product.

In addition, the designers must have a solid background in traditional art. You must learn to use traditional tools like pens, ink, and paper.

An example of visual arts

Digital Design Overview

This field is the modern version of graphic design. Your goal is to communicate with viewers via images and visual works.

The skills for this profession are also similar. You must master the elements like shapes, colors, and space. Excellent creativity is also essential for this job.

However, you will deal with mainly digital products rather than physical ones. You also help build projects to fulfill customers’ needs. It can be an application or website interface, for instance.

Build the interface of a site

Key Differences

The two jobs are often confused with each other because you can use computers to produce print images. The two professions are closely related.

Yet, there are still some noticeable differences between their applications and duties. Let’s first check out this comparison table to grasp their core features.

FeaturesGraphic DesignDigital Design
DutyCreate printed or physical arts
Attract view and convey ideas
Build the visual aspects of digital products
Attract and communicate with viewers.
VarietiesMarketing, publication, label designWeb, system, and software design
SkillsTraditional art and hand drawingCoding and computing
ToolsTraditional tools like pen and paperDesigning tools
Work environmentWork in an interactive environment
Be a part of a team or a company
Commonly work as freelancers
Work remotely at home

1. Duty

Both professions’ duties are the same. Your goal is to attract and communicate with the audience. Yet, the targeted products of the two fields are different.

For graphic design, you deal with visible and printed works. For example, you can design a poster to inform customers about a campaign. It can also be an advertisement for some products.

Meanwhile, digital design focuses on online products. You can build the interface of a website. The experience you bring viewers is purely digital.

2. Varieties

You can work for many publications and brands. Your job is to design visual images for books and magazines.

Another popular variety is packaging design. The designer will create labels and tags for various products. The labels usually carry the name of the manufacturer.

Meanwhile, digital designers work with not only visual arts but also audio effects. They help build a large project, commonly a website or application.

3. Required Skills

Both fields require excellent knowledge and skills in art. You must master the design elements like shapes and colors. Soft skills like problem solving are vital.

Yet, graphic design focuses on traditional art. You must be good at hand drawing. Most of the projects will be created on paper and printed materials.

Meanwhile, a digital designer must learn to use design tools and software. Thus, computing skills are essential in this field. Besides, you need to master coding and designing online applications.

Traditional art and drawing skills

4. Tools

Graphic designers know how to use software and digital tools. Yet, they prioritize traditional art tools like pens and watercolors. Plus, you must be able to draw beautiful images using your hands.

Meanwhile, digital designers use mainly digital tools, such as Photoshop. You will use the computers to create visual works. Therefore, decent computing skills are essential in this field.

5. Salaries

According to our research, the average salary of graphic designers is $66,687 per year. The number ranges from $35,000 (minimum) to $106,000. You will also earn extra rewards of roughly $2,000.

Meanwhile, the average salary of digital designers is $75,817. It’s clear that this profession brings a significantly higher income. The extra pay you earn also doubles its counterpart’s amount.

6. Career Prospect

Most graphic designers I know work for big advertising firms. They have a design team, with each member specializing in a specific task. It’s like a large workshop, and you have to interact with a lot of people.

Therefore, it is the best option if you thrive in an energetic environment. There are a lot of chances to socialize and make new friends.

Meanwhile, digital designers prefer working as a freelancer, and you can work remotely at home. There are many online websites to seek customers and work.

Plus, this profession brings higher salaries than its counterpart. You can also develop a flexible working schedule to suit your daily routine.

Which is the Better Option?

You can imagine graphic designers as traditional artists. They spend hours drawing on physical paper using pens and colors. Their main projects are also physical posters and images.

A digital designer works mainly on the computer. You must learn to use digital tools efficiently. This profession requires many computing skills and knowledge.

Therefore, I would recommend graphics for those who love traditional art. If you are good at drawing and using color, follow this career. Meanwhile, digital design is suitable for computer specialists.

Choose graphic design if you love drawing.

Final Thoughts

The apparent difference between the two fields lies in their working methods. Yet, they all require excellent skills and deep knowledge in the design field.

Your ultimate goal is to attract viewers through your visual projects. With creativity and skills, you can turn your work into real art. So, consider your interests carefully to pick a suitable route.