Your Guide to the Three Types of Design: UX, UI, and Graphic Design

Your Guide to the Three Types of Design: UX, UI, and Graphic Design

Beatrix Potter
May 21, 2020

Design is one of the most critical aspects of the modern world, especially when it comes to business and marketing. In the past, design was a term that you would know instantly what everyone was talking about, but nowadays, this is not so clear. This is especially the case with the rise and impact of UX and UI design.

But what’s the difference between these design types? As a new designer, a business owner, or someone in need of design services, such as a marketer or software developer, you need to make sure you understand the differences, so you have the right people for the job.

In today’s guide, we’re going to explore each design type in depth, helping you learn everything you need to know when it comes to defining design, and making the most of what the modern design world has to offer.

Types of Design

Graphic Design

When it comes to traditional visual design or any kind of visual media, you’re probably referring to graphic design. In a nutshell, graphic design is the act of putting visual media in certain positions to create the desired effect. While originally, this would have been used in print situations, such as magazines, newspapers, and billboards, graphic design is now being implemented on websites and applications (desktop and mobile).

Under this category of design, you have design elements like logos and banners, as well as headers and cover art. As business increases around the world in all niches, the industry of graphic design continues to grow; around 7% per year. A graphic designer doesn’t so much focus on the content or medium being produced, but more about how it’s presented.

This means a graphic designer will look at things like font styles, positioning of images, the color scales and grades used within a certain project, and the static images and their presentation.

UX Design

UX design is an abbreviated term that stands for ‘user experience’ design and is all about, you’ve guessed it, the experience that a user has when interacting with a product or service. Usually, there is a predefined goal set out that the designers are aiming to fulfill.

It’s the job of a UX designer to think about and consider the needs and expectations of their users and try to create a service that matches these requirements. However, not only should the app or service be usable and initiative, but it should also be enjoyable to use.

For example, let’s say you have an app, and you want people to place food orders, much like JustEat, UberEats, or a company like that. When people open the app, the idea is to get users from the home screen to then placing a successful order with their preferred restaurant while having lots of choices, but an easy experience to see it all.

However, there’s a lot of information that needs to be displayed, so how do you do it? Well, a UX designer will carry out their research to figure out that people already know what their favorite restaurant is and look like, so there doesn’t need to be an emphasis on text, but rather just brand logos and restaurant photos.

UX designers will also look at the route in which users will take. In our example, is it best to show all the restaurants in a certain area, so the user can see what they’re looking for, allowing them to pick the one they like when they can order, put in their address and receive want they want?

No, of course not. If the user is putting in their address last, they’re not going to find out whether the restaurant will deliver to them until right out the end after they’re been through the process of choosing what they want. This is going to frustrate the customer, and they’ll probably not want to use the app out of expended effort.

Instead, thanks to the UX designer decision for a user to put their address first, the user will only see restaurants that can deliver to them, and therefore can know from the moment they start using the app that everything they can see is available to them. The user’s life is made easy, and the app is moving towards being a beloved and successful app by its user base.

UX designer research is far more thorough than you might think. They will create user profiles of potential users based on age, demographic location, career, and technological ability. They can create people and see how they would interact with the app in a different want and will create journey flows to see how people navigate the service and, ultimately, detailing how they can make it better.

More often than not, UX designers will stand by two main processes; research and validation. The research part encompasses everything we’ve spoken about above, but the validation part comes after the product has been launched. UX designers will then look to see how real-world users are interacting and using the app so they can identify pain points and make updates to make the experience even more streamlined and fluid.

User data is key to making sure that the original research was correct, and then making corrections and ironing out any problems that exist. The main path that a UX designer will follow is;

  • Empathising with the user and the problem they experience with a service or app
  • Defining the problem based on research. Defining who experiences the problem and who they are working with.
  • Create ideas and brainstorm solutions to the problem. This is very much the space for thinking outside the box.
  • Prototype a solution. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about giving users the best experience and addressing the problems they may have.
  • Test the prototype to see what effect it has and what the outcome is. Repeat the steps above until a viable solution is discovered and can be implemented.

UI Design

UI Design stands for ‘user interface’ design, and basically refers to a strictly digital space in which users of the software or an application will interact, see, and absorb information on their screens or devices. This is strictly the visual elements of the interface a user is using. This term is only applied to digital media.

Imagine you’re using an app; the user interface is all the parts of the app you can touch and engage with, such as form fields, drop-down menus, animations, buttons and their styles, and more. If you think about a website where you press the burger menu icon (usually in the top corner of the screen), and it fades or swipes down into an accessible menu, this has been designed by a UI designer.

A UI designer has lots of things to think about when it comes to the interfaces they’re working on. They not only need to make the interfaces they produce accessible and intuitive for users using them, but they also need to make them in-line with the brand image they’re working for, and they may need to even consider things like the emotions and mindset of their target markets.

UI is all about creating products that work on a psychological level.

Love it or hate it, the Facebook Like button has been designed as a user interface feature, which is based on the human act of ‘liking’ something. In reality, you’re only pushing a button, and then your name is appearing under the post. It’s not very complicated. However, the UI designers have implemented the ‘like’ terminology so users can connect with it on an emotional level.

Beatrix Potter is a writer at PaperFellows and Write My Paper, and mainly writes about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. She has always been interested in state of the art technology and is constantly trying to find new ways to implement the latest technologies to both her work and daily life. Beatrix writes for Best Essay Writing Service.


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